Finally, an agency list that shines the spotlight on the rest of the marketing mix. From the editors of Chief Marketer, we present the industry’s comprehensive list of the top non-advertising agencies—The Chief Marketer 200. It is the world’s only list of the best engagement and activation agencies across 11 categories and specialties serving the U.S.
This 20-year-old Amsterdam export came to LA in the late 90’s and has been pulling heartstrings and earning industry accolades with its “180 thinking” ever since. Recent trophies on the awards shelf include a Cannes Grand Prix for Good for its animated “Unfairy Tales” campaign illustrating the plight of Syrian refugees. Also worth noting, the agency’s “Still I Rise” work for University of Phoenix (it still gives us goosebumps every time we see it). Both campaigns illustrate the shop’s unique prowess when it comes to creating compelling content that’s not afraid to tap into current events, and as a result, ultimately must be shared. But this agency can tickle your funny bone, too, as evidenced by its recent out of home campaign for Postmates in New York City that earned it a spot in Marketing Week’s Best Marketing Campaigns of 2018 list.
HAS WORKED WITH: Boost Mobile, Expedia, Postmates, UNICEF, University of Phoenix WEBSITE: 180la.com
RFP CONTACT: Emma Green, firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember the Oreo tweet from the Super Bowl? Yep, these guys did it, and in the process, unleashed a new “real-time, responsive social media marketing” imperative that virtually changed the industry. Flash forward to today and this shop is still leading the way with first-of-its-kind voice and VR programs like HBO’s Westworld: The Maze, an immersive game skill for fans with Amazon Alexa enabled devices, and the first-ever programmatic VR campaign for National Geographic and Verizon’s Oath to promote the season two premiere of Mars. Twenty-year-old 360i (now part of the Dentsu Aegis Network) was founded as a search firm but has clearly exploded its capabilities to include much more, including a brand strategy practice, data analytics/insights, influencer expertise, e-commerce and a dedicated Amazon Marketing practice.
HAS WORKED WITH: Absolut, Canon, Coca-Cola, Enterprise, HBO, National Geographic, Nestlé WEBSITE: 360i.com
RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
Sports and entertainment run deep at Activent where long-term clients such as Fox (since 2010), Puma (since 2011) and Kia, and new ones including Volkswagen, Nature’s Bounty, Yasso, Orvis and others keep the momentum going. When online high-end outdoor and hunting apparel brand KUIU (pronounced “coo-yoo”) needed to physically reach its consumers, Activent produced a traveling showroom that touched 20,000 people, with 17 percent of them making purchases. And that Insane Inflatable 5K race series activation for Pure Protein? Onsite branding, a photo op with the inflatable obstacles and a recovery lounge at the finish line filled with inflatable furniture drove home the message that Pure Protein can help “keep you on track.” Even an inflatable one.
Banks looking to invest in cutting-edge customer experiences often turn to Atlanta-based Adrenaline. The agency specializes in crafting retail designs that immerse customers in the brand, both in the real and digital worlds. America’s First Credit Union’s Innovation Center in Salt Lake City is a fluid environment featuring interchangeable walls that can be rearranged to help the bank test ideas and solutions for other branches—the work was recently recognized by industry publication Financial Brand. And congratulations are in order: The shop recently took flight with a Phoenix Award from PRSA Georgia, honoring its “Ready to Rumble” campaign at the 2018 Financial Brand Forum.
HAS WORKED WITH: America First Credit Union, Credit Union of Texas, Citizens National Bank, New Balance, Santander WEBSITE: adrenalineagency.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
This evergreen agency’s mantra is to make brands happen. Based in Stamford, CT, four business units comprise its core offerings: sponsorship and partnership consulting; creative and content; design unit EXP and The Event Studio. Brought in a bucketful of new clients this year, including Boston Beer Company, TD Bank, Boston Market, Clif Bar, Microsoft Office and the Smithsonian Channel. Continues to enhance its research and insights capabilities and investments in social monitoring and syndicated data resources. Recently onboarded Paris Prusak as account manager from Whitehead Manor Conference Center where she worked as social events and sales manager. One recent standout from the portfolio: As the 2018 NFL Draft came into view, Hyundai was keen to build on the success of its 2017 original video series, “Rolling with the Rookies.” Advantage brought the series to life with a 50-foot by 50-foot “shrine” activation, custom vehicle wraps telling each athletes’ story and a trivia experience—a smart extension of an already successful campaign. Easily taps into skill sets from across parent Interpublic Group’s network through its “open architecture” approach to help solve client challenges. All dogs are welcome here!
HAS WORKED WITH: Frontier Communications, Hyundai Motor America, LG Electronics USA, L’Oréal, Microsoft WEBSITE: advantagemrktg.com RFP CONTACT: John Lane, email@example.com
Tech-savvy solutions help this CM200 agency drive consumer demand, increase sales and achieve operating efficiencies for clients. Has been busy acquiring companies that enhance its services including mobile video advertising company Jun Group and Beekeeper Marketing, which represent more than 100 natural/organic/specialty consumer packaged goods companies across the online channel. Also joined forces with Daymon Worldwide, a solutions provider to retailers and brands that offers a global service portfolio that includes strategy and insights, sourcing, packaging and branding design, in-store retail execution and consumer experience marketing. Michelle Then, senior client services provider, was named one of three “Women of Excellence” honorees in the Shopper Marketing “Rising Star” category.
HAS WORKED WITH: Abbott, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, PepsiCo WEBSITE: advantagesolutions.net RFP CONTACT: Michael O’Keefe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Now in its third year, Advoc8 has grown from 12 people to just over 30, and its background in political campaigns means executing on short timelines, in impossible circumstances, is “the norm.” Work this year includes Touring with Facebook in Europe, activating Google and Comcast at Aspen Ideas Festival and producing CNN and Great Big Story’s B2B2C experiences at SXSW 2018. The Great Big Story activation transformed Austin’s Market & Tap Room into a two-day weird-mazing “World of Wonder” that offered up the tastes, sights, sounds and cultures from some of Great Big Story’s wildest videos, including a garden of deadly tulips, a Japanese-inspired Dekotora light tunnel and a larger-than-life claw machine. A little different from its work on political campaigns. (Or maybe not so much.)
HAS WORKED WITH: Axios, Business Roundtable, Comcast NBCUniversal, Google, Turner WEBSITE: advoc8.com RFP CONTACT: Jordan Kinne, email@example.com
Based in Chicago and executes projects all over the world—agencyEA produced a record-breaking 148 events from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018, including new work for Samsung, GitHub, Pandora, Google, MillerCoors, CLIF Bar and the Obama Foundation, while increasing the size and scope for others, such as Intuit, Hilton and Ameriprise Financial. Clients praise the agency’s “creative horsepower” and consider it a partner that stretches its thinking, all of which has helped it surpass the 100-employee mark and take over the entire 311 W. Walton Building. It’s evolving and elevating creative and digital capabilities and has expanded its client services and production chops. And, it just completed its first-ever research study on the state of experiential, a study it looks to conduct annually.
Stranger Things fans will appreciate this one: TV viewers in Brazil still prefer to watch free TV, so AKQA transformed one of the local TV channels into a 1984-era TV broadcast, complete with commercials and a full episode of the instant cult hit. It’s the kind of innovative idea and approach that’s the signature of this agency, and just one example from a portfolio full of campaigns that earned it eight Clio awards last year. One of the industry’s top data science teams lives here, as does a new partnership with architectural practice Universal Design Studio and industrial designer Map Project Office, which will give AKQA expanded chops in experience design. (Be sure to check out the sick Jack Ryan: Dark Ops experience at Comic-Con for a taste of what these guys do IRL.) With more than 2,000 staffers across 21 global offices, there’s literally no corner of the globe this WPP-owned shop can’t reach.
HAS WORKED WITH: Amazon, Evian, Oakley, Netflix, Nike, Rolls-Royce, Volvo WEBSITE: akqa.com
RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to get your finger on the pulse of the latest in pop culture? You’ll want to talk to these folks who have expanded their roots in advertising and publicity for movie studios into entertainment, culture and lifestyle marketing. A custom seven-market publicity and promotions tour for Crazy Rich Asians (you’ve seen it, haven’t you?) featured locally themed promotions that had the movie’s cast making $120 cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, distributing “Singapour” smoothies in Boston and purchasing the wedding dress of her dreams for a bride in Atlanta. Other agency highlights: hitting the road with Amazon’s smart home products in a six-month roadshow, March of Dimes “Imagine a World” experience at L.A. Live and work for the Singapore Tourism Board, Doctors Without Borders and Downton Abbey: The Exhibition.
HAS WORKED WITH: Amazon, Disney, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Singapore Tourism Board, Warner Bros. Pictures WEBSITE: alliedglobalmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Kelly Estrella, email@example.com
Content is king in B2B and Altitude is expanding its court. Jeff Kotran—formerly with FunnelKake and Ventus—recently came on board as director of content marketing and PR/social/events specialist Lauren Dunleavey was promoted to manager of content marketing. Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley Business recognized the shop as one of the area’s Fastest Growing Companies, so it’s not surprising the agency is expanding to new digs this spring in downtown Emmaus designed for increased collaboration and creativity. Olympus Pro Audio turned here for an integrated campaign to engage doctors, lawyers and other professionals with its professional dictation products. Love dogs? Stop by for Fido Fridays.
HAS WORKED WITH: American Nutrition, CrimeCenter, FIRMA Clinical Research Hedge Trackers, Olympus WEBSITE: altitudemarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Louis Holzman, firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2018, 15-year-old Blitz joined forces with three other agencies to become part of AMP Agency, which is part of the Advantage Solutions agency network. (Got all that?) Today, the Blitz name is gone but not forgotten as its capabilities shine on across AMP’s portfolio. Just one highlight from this group of self-described “number-crunchers, strategists, analysts, geeks and creatives”: a Patagonia “Worn Wear” campaign that invited consumers to repair and reuse existing clothing items, and share their achievements on social media—a perfect match for the brand’s progressive and sustainable mission. A proprietary Consumer Identity Strategy (CIS) that moves beyond simple self-reported consumer data and into behavioral data drives the strategic thinking here, which the agency says ultimately influences customer behavior online, in-store and through purchase.
HAS WORKED WITH: Dole, Fandango, FX, Nike, Mattel, Microsoft, Patagonia WEBSITE: ampagency.com
RFP CONTACT: Nicole Peterson, email@example.com
This “army of unicorns,” part of the Havas New York network of agencies, is the go-to shop for brands looking to keep pace with the changing vocabulary of younger consumers. Their specialties: authentic influencer collaborations, content strategy, positioning and meticulous management all of the behind-the-scenes digital wizardry that brings it all to life. To create excitement for its new NMD shoe, adidas created 500 pairs of a never-before-seen colorway—the Pitch Black NMD—then turned to Annex88 to give away 100 pairs on social media. The campaign tripled the adidas Originals Snapchat following in 24 hours and became the first ever Snapchat-to-SMS Scavenger Hunt in the world. Another adidas program shook up speaker drop culture last year with a VR-based unboxing site (you do know what’s up with unboxing, right? If not, call these guys and they’ll get you up to speed) that married two trends into one. Speaking up getting up to speed, Annex88 also helped Bloomingdales contemporize its brand with a reimagined content strategy that generated more than 250,000 new followers in nine months and an 89 percent increase in average engagement. Welcome to the CM200, unicorns.
HAS WORKED WITH: Adidas, Bloomingdale’s, Matrix, Men’s Wearhouse, St. Germain WEBSITE: annex88.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Given their name, one would expect work from this NYC-based shop that deviates from the norm. One would not be disappointed. To generate buzz for the Oculus Go headset, Anomaly enlisted celebs to star in a series of videos showcasing how they’d make the most of the tech. The results? Let’s just say you won’t forget seeing SNL’s Leslie Jones lounging in a tub and using the headset to get up close and personal with the creature from The Shape of Water any time soon. (“Come to me fish man,” indeed.) Recent big client wins include Booking.com’s reported $220 million U.S. creative account. Karina Wilsher—the force behind the agency’s gender equality push Unreasonable Equals—was promoted to partner/global CEO.
HAS WORKED WITH: Beats by Dre, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Coty, Sonos WEBSITE: anomaly.com RFP CONTACT: Franke Rodriguez, email@example.com
This agency really knows how to get consumers’ engines running. NASCAR fans camping at Charlotte Motor Speedway were treated to a section of the campgrounds that was transformed into a Milk-Bone Nature’s Recipe branded dog park. Signage, snack stations and canine-friendly activities were supported by flyers distributed at check in while roaming brand ambassadors traveled on branded golf carts encouraging fans to visit the park and a second activation area in the FanZone. Thousands participated in games and other activities. Added new clients to the roster this year in the hospital/healthcare systems category and brought in a new client services coordinator, Jackson Jones, who comes with experience developing on-field strategies as co-president and captain of the UNC Men’s Ultimate B Frisbee team.
HAS WORKED WITH: AAA, Florida Hospital, M&T Bank, Target, Virtua Health WEBSITE: aquariusse.com RFP CONTACT: Marc Bluestein, firstname.lastname@example.org
Arc’s magnetic work as an activation network and shopper marketing agency continues to draw big name brands, like new client Dunkin’ Donuts which will leverage the agency for its in-store marketing. Other successful campaigns in the portfolio include Coke’s “Sip. Share. Win.” program with McDonald’s where lyrics and a microphone were put on every cup and America was invited to sign along to win. James Corden and singing sensation Selena Gomez created buzz by hitting the drive-thru and helping to deliver the sale of 250 million drinks. Elizabeth Harris was promoted to chief strategy officer, a new post, to lead strategy across an impressive roster of clients, including P&G, MillerCoors, Coca-Cola and Intel. She manages a team of 24 and reports to parent Arc Worldwide CEO, North America, Soche Picard, who joined in April from Geometry Global where she was managing director of the New York office. Go ladies.
HAS WORKED WITH: 3M, Coke, Kraft Heinz, McDonald’s, MillerCoors WEBSITE: arcww.com RFP CONTACT: Katie Newman, email@example.com
PR and digital marketing are specialties here, but this B2B high-tech shop is tactic-agnostic, focusing on metrics and process to get the job done. Clients and agency team members hold regular “Contentstorming” workshops to brainstorm ideas for new content concepts, typically generating more than 100 at each session. CentralSquare Technologies, Georgia-Pacific PointA and NCR Foundation were among recent big client wins for Arketi, which also took home a whopping 24 industry awards in 2018, including a nod as one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best Places to Work. The latter is no doubt thanks to perks like an unlimited vacation policy and Mixology Mondays. Cheers!
HAS WORKED WITH: AirbusAerial, Cox Communications, Equifax, First Data, NCR WEBSITE: arketi.com RFP CONTACT: Mike Neumeier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Verizon dialed up this shop for a 2018 PRO Award-winning campaign to encourage existing business customers to upgrade to Quantum Internet Speed. A personalized email strategy more than doubled open rates and sales increased by a whopping 336 percent. Other recent honors include a gold Davey Award and a silver at The W3 Awards. The client base for the Austin and Grapevine, TX-based agency—which focuses on creating compelling customer journeys with real-time engagement—ranges from start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations. Founder and managing partner Rich Herbst has a background in B2B services and CPG, with big name brands like Verizon and ConAgra Frozen Foods.
HAS WORKED WITH: Nokia, Sabre Airline Solutions, SMU, TXU Energy, Verizon WEBSITE: ascend-marketing.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
This is one 15-year-old who has its feet on the ground and its eye toward the sky. That’s one way it achieved 65 percent year-over-year growth in 2017. Another way: by “putting purpose into practice” as it empowers organizations to build even stronger cultures and communities, the mission that is part of its rebranding. A unit of privately held Arc Holdings, the shop specializes in educational-institution experiences, and to that end acquired P. W. Feats, an event strategy, design and production company specializing in higher education. We love its employee milestone benefits like the “Rockstar for a Night” experience, and generous five- and 10-year travel bonuses.
Partnerships with Gorillaz, Bang & Olufsen, Google and Spotify helped earn this boutique agency the No. 6 spot on Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Music for 2018. And for good reason. The work they did for the Gorillaz “Humanz” launch included a virtual house party, access to the band, live listening events, AR, VR and 360 degree elements, ultimately earning the agency three Cannes Lions and seven Clio Awards. (Not so surprising from the trendsetting shop that launched one of the first interactive music videos nearly 10 years ago, Arcade Fire’s “The Wilderness Downtown.”) If you like those stunning screensaver images on your Apple TV, you’re going to love the animation tool B-Reel is working on for Google Geo. More than 170 designers, developers, writers, strategists and producers across six offices keep this shop humming.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bang & Olsen, Google, H&M, Hurley, Netflix, Nike WEBSITE: b-reel.com
Putting people—not product—at the center of everything they do is one of the philosophies of this shop, which has offices in Milwaukee, Chicago and Lincoln, NE. The client base spans numerous vertical markets, including agriculture, buildings and interiors, chemicals, financial services, food, industry associations and technology. Bader Rutter is part of the BNN Network, which includes over 1,000 B2B specialists in 27 countries, with over $125 million in global billings. To paint a compelling picture of farm to table, the National Pork Producers Council looked here to help share stories of American pig farmers on PorkCares.org. CEO Greg Nickerson helped create the ultimate fan cave to kick off the Bucks’ NBA season.
HAS WORKED WITH: Butler Manufacturing, Dow AgroSciences, Eastman Chemical Company, The Standard Insurance, Zoetis Animal Health WEBSITE: baderrutter.com RFP CONTACT: David Quigley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Using a savvy combination of art and data science, Baesman tackled the hurdles of launching a DTC business for Rag & Bone with a CRM program and customer profiles to drive sales, new customers and reactivate lapsed customers through direct mail. The campaign resulted in a 15 percent lift in customer acquisition with a 50 percent increase in customer data capture. The agency won two Loyalty 360 Best in Class Awards in the agency and technology categories and also took home awards for its loyalty program design, partnerships and best in-class loyalty platform. For a Hibbett’s Sporting Goods campaign, years of transactional history was analyzed, producing insights into customer behavior to increase engagement in its loyalty program. A “ghost methodology” identified historical trends that matched back to current loyalty members. The result: 16 percent growth in member purchase frequency and $15 to $20 million in incremental program revenue within two quarters of relaunch.
HAS WORKED WITH: American Girl, DSW, Hibbett Sports, Kate Spade, Rag & Bone WEBSITE: baesman.com RFP CONTACT: Evan Magliocca, email@example.com
New to the CM200 this year, this Cheil Worldwide-owned agency says “if the technology doesn’t exist, we create it.” And we believe them. Notable work in the portfolio includes a content campaign for GE shot by drones that went on to win a Webby Award and become the most watched co-branded program in VICELAND history. And, check out their clever partnership with HGTV showcasing Samsung’s new The Frame TV in dreamy interior design contexts, that ultimately drove a 300 percent sales increase after launch. Barbarian was recently named global creative agency of record for L’Oréal’s Essie nail polish brand, a partnership we’re excited to watch in 2019. Fun fact: the New York office receptionist is an Alexa-based tool named Barb. Visitors check in with an Echo Show and “she” connects to a Slack-based system to communicate with the agency’s 115 employees.
HAS WORKED WITH: Etihad Airways, GE, IBM, L’Oréal, Samsung WEBSITE: wearebarbarian.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
With two decades of shopper marketing experience under its belt, this California shop boasts one of the only, if not the only, military social networks on the CM200—the MyMilitarySavings.com community is the leading digital and social mobile media network reaching military families, offering access to 11 million active, reserve, guard and retired shoppers. Indeed, “geo- and demo-targeted digital and social media lifestyle communities” are the heart of this operation, and it is expanding its focus to e-commerce tools to help build brands online. Clients range from CPG to sports to financial to fashion, all of whom turn to bBIG when sales lift is the goal. One case in point: To drive awareness and purchase consideration for a new Fresh Foam Cruz shoe by New Balance, bBIG targeted Air Force Exchange locations with a circular, digital and social media trifecta that generated double-digit product sales increases. New hire Mary Grace, bBIG’s Sales and Marketing Analyst Manager, will close the loop on the agency’s results measurement practice that will bring added ROI metrics to each campaign.
HAS WORKED WITH: Coca-Cola North America, Kimberly-Clark, John Hancock, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé Purina WEBSITE: bbigcommunications.com RFP CONTACT: Laura Riley, email@example.com
Belo + Company, formerly Speakeasy, offers niche expertise and holistic strategy across a number of specialties, including paid social, SEO, digital analytics, content and creative, email marketing and print and direct mail. Works with clients across a wide range of industries and includes Terminix, Yum Brands and The Dallas Morning News in its roster of clients. Tech savvy President Tim Storer’s companies have earned a number of honors, including consecutive years on Inc.’s Fastest Growing Companies list, the list of Top Tech Companies in Texas, the Dallas 100 and the Fast Tech 50. When MoneyGram faced challenges creating user-friendly path reports for the ways in which visitors used their website, B+C launched a three-step approach to tackle the problem and Google Analytics 360 to extract better insights from MoneyGram’s data. With custom funnels and custom reporting, the brand was then able to visualize the steps customers took to either transfer money or pay bills online. ePestSupply had two goals: to increase leads and conversions and build brand awareness. B+C went to work building an online advertising strategy by working across Google and Bing advertising platforms to track everything from keywords to campaigns.
HAS WORKED WITH: KB Homes, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Greyhound, Harrah’s, Sprint WEBSITE: beloandco.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Need a prescription for integrated communications, stat? Privately owned and founded in 1991, this Chestertown, MD-based healthcare agency currently works with over 20 pharmaceutical companies and more than 40 brands in multiple therapeutic categories, including neurology, gastrointestinal, oncology and women’s health. New clients this year include Sun Pharma, Mallinckrodt and Vertical. A clinical research consulting practice debuted this year, to help biopharma clients move from clinical efforts to a successful commercial launch. And, a Health System Marketing division is supporting health systems’ efforts to boost brand awareness. Former Ogilvy VP Angelina Sciolla joined the team as executive creative director. Holiday cheer: Seasonal fun includes Easter egg hunts (find the golden egg and win a day off), ugly sweater contests and chili cook-offs.
HAS WORKED WITH: Mallinckrodt, Noven, Sun, Supernus, Vertical WEBSITE: benchworks.com RFP CONTACT: Michelle Garvey, email@example.com
This four-year-old is in a major growth spurt, driving big revenue gains, working with a list of who’s who and investing in new talent. For Academy Sports+Outdoors and Pilot Flying J it designed, built and operated a fall sports mobile tour that activated on campuses covering 300 event days. A NASCAR at Night program was staged at a Vegas Golden Knights game that brought together racing stars for Credit One Bank to help launch a consumer promotion around the bank’s Vegas Golden Knights credit card. When First Data launched its first professional sports entitlement—NASCAR’S First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway—Bespoke activated the brand. The agency’s VIP Hospitality Group has built programs for clients at The Tony’s, the Super Bowl, College Football Championships and Final Four, All Star Games, the Masters, PGA Championships and others. Masters, indeed.
HAS WORKED WITH: Academy Sports+Outdoors, Credit One Bank, First Data, Pilot Flying J, United Healthcare WEBSITE: bespokesportsmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Mike Boykin, firstname.lastname@example.org
This 18-year-old Brooklyn-based indie started out as a digital shop and now boasts an impressive array of strategic, design, technology and data capabilities in its wheelhouse. It’s a winning combination that recently earned the agency creative agency partner status for Sony Corporation of America’s master brand, while helping it beat out WPP for Hasbro’s new video-game business. (The agency is already a long-time AOR for Google.) Product development is also on the docket this year with projects in the works for Starbucks and Converse, and a revamped booking site for JetBlue. Consumer insights based on a proprietary culture mapping tool drive the strategies here. Need proof? Look no further than TicToc by Bloomberg, the 24-hour Twitter-based breaking news streaming network that gave the media company a relevant “in” with millennials.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bloomberg, Converse, Google, Oikos, Samsung, YouTube WEBSITE: bigspaceship.com
RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
B2B is the exclusive focus of this Westport, CT-based shop, recognized as one of the country’s fastest growing private companies in the 2018 Inc. 5,000. New clients include mail equipment manufacturer BlueCrest, commercial data provider Dun & Bradstreet, credit union/national lender Quorum Financial and hand dryer manufacturer Excel. A multitouch experiential marketing campaign for Pitney Bowes for a new data project generated heavy traffic at a Tableau Conference booth and a spike in sales. Former ThomasARTS group account director Lisa Goldstein came on board as VP strategic planning. To bookend the workweek, Mondays kick off with a 10 a.m. “Weekend News” huddle and Fridays wind down with a 4 p.m. beer.
Looking for an agency that speaks fluent millennial? The Bear might just be “the one.” This four-year-old whipper snapper boasts a staff full of millennials primed and ready to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube your brand into relevancy. Like the work they’re doing for Smashburger that used a #SinCitySurvivalTips Instagram and Twitter activation to move sales. Or the new campaign for EMPACT Bars, a female-focused newcomer to the protein bar space. A gorgeous new website, branding and social media presence layered in with a micro-influencer campaign helped this challenger brand increase website sales by 315 percent. Tasty. Blue Bear unleashed its magic on natural personal care products brand Lavilin, too, with a website, PR, content and photography overhaul that compelled its CEO to say, “Blue Bear has made the Lavilin brand relevant to millennials.” Core capabilities include an in-house photography practice—essential for reaching the Instagram generation.
HAS WORKED WITH: Chinook Seedery, EMPACT Bars, Lavilin, Smashburger WEBSITE: bluebearcreative.co RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
This agency was acquired by Advantage Sales & Marketing last year and has since put its combined talents to work to shake up retail into overdrive with its new category of elevated experiences like its year-round outsourced beauty advisor programs and ongoing in-store event series keep the conversations going with shoppers. And not to be missed is the companion Virtual Beauty Advisors who help shoppers via smartphones. This consultative approach plays out across complex categories that can overwhelm consumers like beauty, health and wellness, baby and fashion. One notable pop-up beauty event series for L’Oréal held at key mass merchandisers advised consumers on various topics throughout the year like finding the right skin care and tips on seasonal cosmetic trends.
HAS WORKED WITH: Beiersdorf, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal Paris, Unilever, UNIQLO USA WEBSITE: brandconnections.com RFP CONTACT: Dave Chatoff, email@example.com
How do you create an intimate atmosphere for a thousand attendees? Check out Konica Minolta’s national sales conference, where Broadstreet did just that through informal conversations with KM leadership, industry thought leaders, dealer partners and customers, with audience members never more than a few feet away from the presenter. That was just one of the “craft experiences” the agency has produced for clients who more and more are looking to create intimate, personalized, bespoke activations. The strategy demonstrates how the agency is living up to its new tagline: “Provoke. Collaborate. Lead.” Also new: a meeting planning and logistics service offering as more clients are looking for an integrated team to execute events.
Its hometown’s motto may be to “keep weird” but unleashing the “curious and courageous” is the mantra at this 15-year-old Austin-based shop. Client services VP Melissa Mines advocates for forgetting vanity metrics and rewiring the focus to look at the numbers that matter to optimize marketing spend. An email renewal campaign humanizing often humdrum IT challenges (one tagline: “Make your days as anticlimactic as Drew’s”) enabled Symantec to increase unique clicks by 64 percent and boost renewal click rates by 252 percent. Bulldog’s social media presence has that human touch, too; check out their Facebook page for glimpses into employee karaoke, beach volleyball and a spooky collection of Halloween partygoers. (We found Waldo!)
HAS WORKED WITH: Box, Frontier Communications Business, ISACA, Symantec Web Security, TD Ameritrade Institutional WEBSITE: bulldogsolutions.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
A round of applause is in order: Burns won several awards in 2018 for branding work with the Colorado Hospital Association, including a B2 from the ANA, a BMA Gold Key Award and recognition as an OBIE finalist. This Denver agency inspires loyalty: its first client in 1972 is still a client 46 years later. Tongue-in-cheek headlines—“Is your golden retriever a golden reliever on your bed?”—paired with eye-catching pet photography, got the attention of dog owners and vets for Pronin, the prescription incontinence medication. The program successfully raised awareness—sales in test markets outperformed other markets two to one. Taking its creative endeavors to a warmer—and woolier—level, team members held an in-office knitting lesson this fall.
HAS WORKED WITH: Coalfire, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Gogo Business Aviation, Pieces Technologies, Switch Automation WEBSITE: burnsmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Melissa Humbert, email@example.com
Looking for turnkey marketing analytics and reporting? Dataweld is this shop’s proprietary analysis and insights service, utilizing developers, analysts and marketing technologists to solve B2B digital marketing challenges. Organic search, content marketing, social media, paid media management, user experience and creative are also specialties. BusinessOnline is a Premier Google Partner and a Certified Hubspot Partner. A revamped multi-language online presence for Honeywell Process Solutions that consolidated 50 global web properties resulted in cost savings and a 30X increase in annual lead volume, from 300 to more than 10,000 a year. CEO Thad Kahlow has presented at over 60 industry and executive conferences, including the recent SiriusDecisions Summit, where he dished about the latest trends in ABM.
HAS WORKED WITH: General Electric, HP, Lithium, Localytics, Thermo Fisher Scientific WEBSITE: businessol.com RFP CONTACT: Lori David, firstname.lastname@example.org
Continues to push big ideas into the marketplace with insightful and clever campaigns like the one for Cheez-It & Pringles that engaged NFL and college football fans at one time. The creative platform, the “Great Debate,” asked fans to choose their favorite day of football, College Football Saturday or Pro Football Sunday, by tweeting #TeamSaturdayEntry or #TeamSundayEntry for a chance to win $10,000 in season ticket cash to see their favorite team. Social channels exploded, with more than 14 million impressions and sales volume increased five percent, ringing up substantial gains at key retailers like Walmart, Publix, Food Lion, Walgreens and Dollar General. The campaign earned a Gold and Silver PRO Award. Catapult this year was folded into parent and consumer data company Epsilon’s larger ad practice, Epsilon Agency, strengthening and expanding Epsilon Agency’s full-service offerings with added capabilities across data and insights, analytics, branding, digital, CRM, shopper/retail and cross channel advertising and marketing.
HAS WORKED WITH: Burt’s Bees, KitchenAid, Kraft Heinz, Sony, Wrigley WEBSITE: catapultmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Ron Magliocco, ron.magliocco@epsilon
The 40-person staff of this fully integrated women-owned agency offers a number of services, including brand strategy and planning, research, analytics, PR, direct marketing, CRM and paid media planning/buying. The Whirlpool Pro website was designed as a content-rich persona-driven destination, with tools to help architects, builders, distributors and other home building professionals. New blood at CBD includes integrated media/digital analytics director Mark Robinson, senior digital producer Adrian Tumaiti and digital strategy/development director Justin Twymon. Improv training, flex hours and Beer Cart Fridays are some of the perks in the Chicago offices, located in historic Courthouse Place. (Al Capone was brought here for questioning back in the day.)
HAS WORKED WITH: Blue Diamond Almonds, CareerBuilder, James Hardie Building Products, Rabobank, Whirlpool WEBSITE: cbdmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Doug Davila, email@example.com
Two specialized teams—one that develops products, and one that markets them—unify under one roof to make magic here, a methodology beautifully explained on what is hands down one of the most gorgeous and intuitive websites on the CM200 this year. Great client work includes a lifestyle-centric update of the Today.com website, a more streamlined and modern take on NBC News’ digital platforms and a reimagined video strategy for the BBC. Also stunning: Maybelline’s global website redesign and its post-launch results: eight percent lower bounce rates, 24 percent higher dwell time and a 25 percent boost in mobile site traffic. Code and Theory is a member of The Stagwell Group, a collaborative group of more than a dozen agencies who are out to “reinvent the holding company,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
HAS WORKED WITH: American Express, BBC, Burger King, Comcast, Hearst, Maybelline, NBC News WEBSITE: codeandtheory.com
RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
With a deep history in CPG work, new clients keep calling like McCormick, Chicken of the Sea and The Wine Group, as do new categories like AHI Travel and the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Del Monte turned to the agency to launch its Fruit & Chia Plastic Fruit Cups with a back-to-school merchandising program at Kroger locations. Tiered offers ran from May through September, mailers promoted themed events and then promos kicked into high gear in September with Chia samples handed out in “Bring on Breakfast” bags at sampling events. Customers supported the program for seven weeks while local coupon mailers reached base shoppers. The result? A seven percent increase in new users to the brand, in particular Millennials. In other wins, MillerCoors named CMG it’s 2017 “Sales & Marketing Supplier of the Year.” Cheers.
HAS WORKED WITH: Del Monte Foods, J.M. Smucker, McCormick & Co., MillerCoors Brewing, The Wine Group WEBSITE: collaborativemktg.com RFP CONTACT: Garrett Plepel, email@example.com
“Think with your heart” is the mantra here. Flooring America needed a human touch to promote their brand, leading to the “Where Friends Send Friends” campaign. Social, video, print ads and other elements leveraged the idea that after getting overwhelmed by product research, everyone turns to their peers to see what they think. Earned a first place MITX Awards win for work with the RSA Conference. Recent exhibits in the agency’s in-office Factory Mark Gallery include a showing of candid NYC street images by photographer Bob Pirrmann.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bose Automotive, Johnson Controls, RSA Conference, Flooring America WEBSITE: commcreative.com RFP CONTACT:Ashley DePaolo, firstname.lastname@example.org
This shop is one mover and shaker, with big plans to expand its entertainment chops through a (top secret) global music property in 2019. Battle-tested employees are promoted from within and a “horizontally managed” policy empowers every staffer to speak up and make a difference. Need a partner? This team paired Netflix and client Bowflex—yes, people love to watch movies while working out—to give new customers free Netflix for a year. Another notable campaign: A program for Nanit Smart Baby Monitor that optimized more than 30 videos of sleeping babies as content across multiple platforms, including banner ads and social posts. Also helped land segments for the client on talk shows.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bayer Consumer Healthcare,CCA Global, Nanit Smart Baby Monitor, Nautilus Home Fitness Solutions, Procter & Gamble WEBSITE: conceptone.com RFP CONTACT: John Kocis, email@example.com
This Pittsburgh-based digital marketing firm, home to a crew of content writers, social media managers and digital strategists, is focused on driving results through storytelling. Specialties include content strategy and creation, paid acquisition and execution, social media management, email marketing and automation and search engine optimization. Known for assigning each client with a team of subject-matter specialists so bandwidth is never stretched thin. Some notable results: After one month of Cosmitto’s service, GNC Pets’ Facebook fanbase grew from 66 fans to 13,303, and after a year grew by 1,000 percent, thanks to the use of brand-building keywords to boost SEO, high-frequency social posts, Facebook ad campaigns and cross-promotion online with key partners. Company culture is committed to a lifetime of learning, which translates to time spent weekly on professional growth experiences.
HAS WORKED WITH: GNC Pets, Rinovum, Apex Magnets, Ascender, BetterWorld Wireless, Desmone Architects WEBSITE: cosmitto.digital RFP CONTACT: cosmitto.digital/contact/
The interesting studio model and mix of on-demand talent and capabilities set the stage this past year for some of its biggest accomplishments ever. Cases in point: The agency landed Honeywell as a new global client and became the first-ever North American lead agency for Siemens Healthineers, a former unit of Siemens that is now on a massive growth trajectory as a standalone company. The agency deployed some of the latest in wearable and immersive tech for clients like IBM, and handled some of the biggest launches in the industry, including a community and ambassador program for 30,000 patients on a Sanofi Genzyme therapy. Inspired by the success of its Motion Studios and Healthcare units, it recently formed two others—Intelligence and Immersive Technology—so even more accomplishments are waiting in the wings.
HAS WORKED WITH: Fidelity, IBM, Sanofi Genzyme, Siemens, UPS WEBSITE: cramer.com RFP CONTACT: Scott Connolly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clients at this Omnicom-owned shop tap into four distinct studios, or “centers of excellence” to develop their campaigns. These include Wander, a specialized content studio of producers, directors, cinematographers and photographers, that, true to their name, go wherever the work takes them; Signal, a full suite of social, community management, influencer and content capabilities; Curious, a team that designs and executes advanced market research programs and generates actionable data; and Hangar, a wholly owned high-end production company. Critical Mass took home a Best Employee Appreciation Initiative at the Digiday Worklife Awards, an impressive accolade for an agency with 950 employees over 11 global offices and a growing roster including R/GA veteran Charlotte Diaz, who recently onboarded at the New York office as the new VP Strategy. Two decades after creating Mercedes-Benz’s first corporate website, this digital forerunner is still in the fast lane.
HAS WORKED WITH: Apple, BMW, Citi, Marriott, McDonalds WEBSITE: criticalmass.com
RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
This sales and marketing agency has a specialty in CPG, so it’s no wonder that Walmart recently named this mover and shaker a preferred service provider. That means Crossmark is one of only five companies permitted to execute merchandising activity on behalf of suppliers in nearly 5,000 Walmart stores across the U.S. Beth Faught, director of retail, received a GenNext Award from Progressive Grocer as an emerging grocery leader under the age of 40. Has worked with an impressive roster of clients that includes Hershey’s, Galderma, General Mills, Mead Johnson, RiteAid, P&G, Sam’s Club and Walgreens among others to drive successful campaigns at retail. Amy Davis, vp and general manager was named one of Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Top Women in Grocery: Senior-level executives. Employees volunteer their time at schools, charities and other non-profits in the communities where they work.
HAS WORKED WITH: Blue Diamond Almonds, CVS, Dole, Kikkoman, Kraft WEBSITE: crossmark.com RFP CONTACT: Jim Buchta, firstname.lastname@example.org
Someone once said, “If you’re not the lead dog, the scenery never changes,” a phrase that inspired founder Dan Mannix in 1999 to open LeadDog—and turned out to be quite prophetic, for the scenery has changed quite a bit since then. LeadDog two years ago was acquired by CSM, giving it even more resources and client reach, and this summer, Mannix stepped into the top spot as ceo of CSM North America. Recent work includes the in-game entertainment and opening and closing ceremonies for the first Rugby World Cup Sevens event hosted in the U.S., plus an Audi fan experience and track drive during the MLS All-Star Game. And then there was the House of Because: Diet Coke at SXSW, an immersive space that embodied the brand’s new hip and refreshing flavors.
HAS WORKED WITH: Adidas, Coca-Cola, Netflix, The NFL Player’s Association, Volkswagen Group WEBSITE: csmleaddog.com RFP CONTACT: Danit Aronson, email@example.com
This shop fashions itself an innovation agency—sort of like an advertising agency, they say, but with aerospace engineers, a CNC router, table saws and a lot of background noise on conference calls. Google employs Deeplocal as its creative technology partner, and asked the shop to create a playful way to illustrate the interactivity of Google Assistant. A mini golf course with holes inspired by different rooms in a home went on tour to New York, Chicago and L.A., generating a lot of press and social buzz. Want more proof this agency is hardcore? Founder and CEO Nathan Martin—2017 Pittsburgh Tech Council CEO of the year—is the former lead singer of a punk rock band.
HAS WORKED WITH: Freeform, Google, Netflix, Nike, Old Navy WEBSITE: deeplocal.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Get ready to roll up your sleeves: Clients here participate in workshops to get to the core of their brand philosophies. It’s fun, and it helps clients keep their messaging on-target. New client wins include economics consulting firm Bates White, global tech/analytics firm EXL and investment bank Lincoln International. An expanded branded content offering debuted, making use of the shop’s DB Productions subsidiary’s film making expertise. Hudson Advisors turned to the NYC agency to create a brand campaign positioning it as an independent, future-focused firm. The multichannel approach created traction and attracted several new clients. And listen to this: Strategy Managing Director Shelley Whiddon gave the keynote at the AACSB 2018 Marketing Forum.
The LBi in the name was retired in early 2018 as part of a rebrand that, thankfully, didn’t mean retiring the agency’s unicorn mascot. Always a forward-thinker, Digitas has the distinction of launching the very first NewFront in 2008, and today remains the NewFronts’ only agency co-founder and presenter among more than 30 of the world’s largest publishers. “Cross-capability orchestration and fluency is our specialty,” they say, and we can’t disagree. The Maytag work illustrates the agency’s ability to fully leverage a winning concept (who doesn’t love the Maytag Man?) across channels—without saturation or exploitation. Got a week to “snack-size” your content? The shop’s Snacktory team takes existing brand assets and transforms them into dynamic, “snackable” content such as videos, infographics, GIFs and podcasts. Fun fact: every Monday, the website shows you how one of their “unicorns” (staffers) gets to work.
HAS WORKED WITH: Buick, Dunkin’ Donuts, Maytag, Playstation, Whirlpool WEBSITE: digitas.com
RFP CONTACT: Jill Kelly, email@example.com
This enterprise search marketing agency is comprised of “creatives, marketing savants and technical specialists who love helping in-house teams excel in competitive niches.” And boy do they have the numbers to prove it. Average client results for this SEO-savvy agency: 32 percent lower cost per acquisition, 12 decrease in bounce rates and 135 percent more organic traffic. A program for Allstate drive a 21 percent increase in agent pageviews YOY. How they did it? Optimizing site speed, improving reviews with new email templates and the creation of new product pages to improve rank. A new partnership with business intelligence platform Sisense will allow Directive to bolster its search marketing planning and analysis capabilities for clients. Be sure to check out the Directive blog for a fresh feed of curated industry insights and tips.
HAS WORKED WITH: Allstate, Cherwell, Cisco, Samsung, WestRock WEBSITE: directiveconsulting.com RFP CONTACT: Garrett Mehrguth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Think B2B can’t be catchy? Think again. Doremus, Omnicom’s exclusive B2B marketing agency, developed more than 200 pieces of vertical—and viral—marketing content like videos and infographics for Intel’s B2B initiatives, and crafted a successful fan activation for Corning with Imagine Dragons. Lego Education, Matthews Asia, Asurion, Riverbed Technology and Burns & Wilcox are among recent client wins. Recent additions to the trophy shelf include B2B Agency of the Year honors from The Drum, 20 W3 Award wins, 19 Global Ace Awards, 22 Communicator Awards and two ANA B2s. Want to raise a glass? German beer was on tap for Oktoberfest, while Pimm’s was poured to toast the Royal Wedding.
HAS WORKED WITH: Capital One, Corning, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Shell WEBSITE: doremus.com RFP CONTACT: Matt Broom, email@example.com
If you’ve been enjoying the feather-ruffling fun of IHOP’s fake rebranding campaign as International House of Burgers, or if you’re one of the many parents who can relate to the Ore-Ida “Potato Pay” viral video, you’re getting just a taste of Droga5’s sense of humor—and its mastery of content marketing. But don’t let the hilarity fool you—this New York-based full-service indie with offices in London is laser focused on providing “purpose-driven growth” for its clients through bringing “brand purpose upstream into the brand’s value proposition, and downstream into its communications.” Another favorite campaign from 2018: yet another fake-but-brilliant ruse, this time for a “Crocodile Dundee” reboot that wasn’t a movie at all, but an elaborate tourism campaign for Australia that went on to be the most successful tourism campaign in the country’s history. See what we mean?
HAS WORKED WITH: Hershey, IHOP, The New York Times, The Prudential WEBSITE: droga5.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
2018 was a year of transformation for Drum, as it merged four powerhouse agencies—BKV, UMarketing, Hiccup and unified.agency—to morph into a marketing Megazord. The result is a shop that can execute, engage and nurture across every channel. Martech is a priority here—the NYC agency launched two new proprietary platforms, Sequence (to link customer identity and known behavioral attributes from third party partners) and Crescendo (to provide custom marketing performance reporting). And check out all the new work: Drum won 15 new accounts in 2018, including Costco, United Airlines, CIGNA, Charles Schwab and Boot Barn. Havas and EY vet Jonathan Zajicek is the new VP of Drum Analytics; he’s working on developing solutions to enhance media and database services.
HAS WORKED WITH: American Red Cross, Carhartt, Chase, PayPal, Wounded Warrior Project WEBSITE: drumagency.com RFP CONTACT: Alicia Wiedemann, email@example.com
This team of go-getters is comprised of marketing and conversion experts with deep roots in retail. Shifted this year from a specialization in traditional shopper marketing to an omni-channel marketing approach by embedding shopper media professionals with cross-functional teams. New group creative director Steve DeLorez brings fresh experience from Cannonball, Momentum Worldwide and Zipatoni to the team. Allison Welker, evp, general manager was recognizeda by Shopper Marketing Magazine as a 2018 “Who’s Who in Shopper Marketing Agencies.” Another notable win: Drove significant growth for Smithfield pork products using influencers and by anchoring the program around an influential partnership with the National Pork Board, Anheuser-Busch and Kingsford. Has deep roots with retailers like Kroger, Target, Walmart, CVS, Publics and others.
Add this up: Over 200 strategic designers and creatives, 11 studios, seven time zones and three continents. What do you get? A design agency that helps brands stand out from the competition by focusing on what CEO Tim Kobe calls “return on experience.” Are they a good pick? Steve Jobs thought so—he looked to Eight Inc. to design the Apple Store, helping secure its position as the leading technology lifestyle brand. For over a decade, it has also been behind Apple’s branded exhibitions in over 25 venues globally. More recently, Ford Motor Company needed a new branded experience to introduce Lincoln in China. The “Lincoln Contours” became the top performing dealerships worldwide within a month of opening.
HAS WORKED WITH: Apple, Citibank, Nike, Tesla, Virgin Atlantic WEBSITE: eightinc.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Geeks (technologists), nerds (data scientists) and suits (strategists) service client needs here, offering a cross-functional, collaborative and customer-centric approach to marketing. The Minneapolis shop is celebrating its sixth year as a business partner of Southwest Airlines, working with them on segmentation, research, marketing mix optimization and other projects. “Artificial Intelligence and the Very Real, Real-World Anxiety It Causes,” a proprietary research project on consumer attitudes towards AI, scored lots of industry buzz and press in 2018. Margo Minich-Costello, formerly with Wright Medical, joined Elicit as a senior customer technology consultant—welcome! Folks here are concerned with the greater good: a social responsibility committee oversees corporate giving, and a new volunteer time-off program supports employee passion projects.
Endeavor Global Marketing—the cultural marketing agency within the Endeavor network which includes talent agency WME and sports and fashion industry shop IMG–executed thousands of events in 2018. Top among them: building a once-in-a-lifetime experience for fans to have a sleepover inside the Super Bowl stadium, transforming yurts into luxurious hotel room-inspired glamping at Coachella and providing a VR experience by strapping fans into parachute harnesses and virtually hoisting them 10,000 feet to experience the sensation of parachuting into the stadium at the Army/Navy game, the last of which won a Gold PRO Award. Also won PRO Awards for work for Marriott and Marriott Courtyard. Recent new client wins include ESPN, Capital One and W Hotels. Global expansion continues with acquisitions such as Australian strategic partnership/experience company TSC and UK-based sports/entertainment shop Clifford French.
HAS WORKED WITH: Kia, Marriott, T-Mobile, Under Armour, UFC WEBSITE: endeavorco.com RFP CONTACT: Hilary Kidwell, email@example.com
It may be the new kid on the block but don’t be fooled; CEO Andrew Connell brings experience forged over 20 years at various agencies, and partner Jessica Rae brings over 10 years of background in the music and advertising industries. This experiential “activation production house” for advertising, creative, PR agencies, and brands in need of their expertise has already won two Cannes Lions and taken home a Clio for “SPECIMENS,” a mobile vocal booth that had Chicagoans recording voiceovers for a Field Museum exhibit. And it was named a Fast Company World Changing Ideas finalist. Their ComEd Icebox Derby featured a 10,000-square-foot pop-up “Race HQ” garage where young women got to build a solar-powered derby car. Sounds like Engage & Resonate is off and running, too.
Engine Shop has already proved it can connect with Millennials—just take a look at the 17-city music tour and two-year activation platform that connected Generation Me with the legacy brand Mercedes-Benz, or the five Benz cameos in Jurassic World—and is now revving up a very aggressive global expansion. Within the past 12 months, it acquired The Gamer Agency, T Burns Sports Group and the eSports and soccer divisions of SA Studios Global. In July it acquired sponsorship consultancy IEG and the IEG Sponsorship Conference. It’s also eyeing new business in esports and soccer besides its core capabilities in sponsorship activations, influencer programs, mobile tours, social amplification strategies and measurement and analytics. Yep, it’s got its motor runnin’.
HAS WORKED WITH: American Family Insurance, Anheuser-Busch, Greyhound, Mercedes-Benz USA, Microsoft WEBSITE: engineshopagency.com RFP CONTACT: Gord Lang, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, it was this agency that helping Jack’s Links capitalize on the growing trend of celebrity Twitter feuds by creating a new “Twitter Beef” jerky flavor that was customized instantly when the fights started online and were shared across the web. The influencer marketing master designs programs for social video platforms including YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. With more than 10 million influencers publishing video content to social video platforms every month—and with adults and Millennials now considering YouTube influencers to be more influential and believable than traditional celebrities—there is no better time to sink your teeth deeper into this video content influencer apple than now.
HAS WORKED WITH: Alaska, Airlines, Amazon, Kind, Pepsi, Oculus, Starbucks, YouTube WEBSITE: epicsignal.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
A long-time player in cause marketing, education and outreach, EMS has carved a niche in utilities, insurance, recycling and sustainability. And it has a knack for transforming the mundane into messages that are fun, engaging and educational. Working with Allegiant Air, the agency pulled off its first awareness-driven national marketing campaign, reaching 80 cities in a span of five days where teams of four in each location captured register-to-win entries for the ultimate airline grand prize: flights for life! Also launched a second year of touring with AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency program, and handled a PepsiCo sampling campaign in Target stores across the Midwest, all while making a major office move to accommodate its growing team, clients and services.
HAS WORKED WITH: AEP Ohio, Allegiant Air, Bye Bye Mattress, Nationwide, Pepsi WEBSITE: eventmarktetingstrategies.com RFP CONTACT: Maggie Ellison, firstname.lastname@example.org
Strategy-driven and idea-obsessed is how this shop describes itself. Single-store brand MyBurger had dreams of taking on the McCompetition to become the Upper Midwest’s destination burger joint. From customized to-go boxes to engaging social channels, Fame helped it reach a goal of $1 million in first-year sales. New to the team are account director (and reputed gif-master) Justin Ungs; senior designer Sam Mitzel, a grad of the Minnesota School of Business; and digital designer Emily Thamavong, a veteran of Wunderman. Heads up: The Minneapolis agency’s third year as an independently owned shop (CEO/president Lynn Robertson bought Fame from Omnicom in 2015) was celebrated with a riotous axe throwing party.
HAS WORKED WITH: Best Buy, Charter Communications, ConnectiCare, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Wings Financial Credit Union WEBSITE: fameretail.com RFP CONTACT: Megan Hanson, email@example.com
For those in the know, RED stands for the agency’s core expertise: retail, engagement and digital. This year acquired environmental design firm Chute Gerdeman to bring a fresh approach to in-store marketing elements. Continues its new biz momentum with GE Appliances, Kimberly Clark Family Care and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Helps clients navigate Amazon’s full self-service ecosystem by providing subject matter expertise, product optimization, advertising and marketing and the use of Amazon’s tech and fulfillment services. On boarded Karen Gebhart as svp management director to lead the Goodyear and new CPG biz. Among its shelves filled with awards, won a Silver PRO Award for its work for Michelob Ultra.
HAS WORKED WITH: AB InBev, Comcast, Coca-Cola Co., Brown-Forman, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. WEBSITE: fcbred.com RFP CONTACT: Tina Manikas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hailing from Indianapolis, IN, this agency offers three main specialties: a social media audit, which includes performance benchmarks, audience and content analysis and insights and recommendations; social media management, entailing monthly calendars, community management and reporting; and amplification, including social ad management, or targeted social media ads, ad copy and creative development, daily monitoring and adjustments, and recommendations. Then there’s the additional services, like blog development, custom chatbots for Facebook and Twitter, sweepstakes, photo and video contests, influencer marketing and video production. Earned the Cultivate Award at Sprout Social’s 2018 Partner Summit, given to an agency partner that provides excellent social media services to clients—in this case, its work with Noble Roman’s Craft Pizza & Pub.
HAS WORKED WITH: Cisco, For Dummies, Qdoba, Sony, Indiana University, Team USA WEBSITE: firebellymarketing.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
The agency formerly known as First Protocol once again is on the brink of transformational and exponential growth, and its got the leaders in place to make it all happen, with Maureen Ryan Fable promoted to CEO-group, and the recent acquisition of UK-based experiential and creative agency Clive following on the heels of the 2016 acquisition of BKA in the U.S. Recent work includes producing the four-day Clinical Manager’s Conference for Fresnius Medical Care in Indianapolis, Prudential’s Investor Conference in London, and (here’s one we’re really sorry we missed), the Chang Beer Sensory Trails in London and San Francisco. The experience aimed to deliver “the unexpected” through a multi-sensorial experience built around Thai food, art and music, which drew 2,000 attendees in San Francisco during Memorial Day weekend, along with social media influencers and food critics.
HAS WORKED WITH: Fresenius Medical Care North America, Mastercard, New York Times, Oath, Unicef USA WEBSITE: firstagency.com RFP CONTACT: Jeremy Woolf, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clients stay here for the long haul: Firstborn boasts a 90 percent repeat business rate, with L’Oréal Luxe on board five years and Mountain Dew seven. The shop champions new tech like AR and VR with real results: a program with Oculus helped drive a 40 percent increase in headset sales, and a partnership with HBO and the showrunners of Westworld led to an immersive VR experience generating buzz for the show’s newest season. AR also educated consumers about Gatorade at SXSW and demonstrated Chevron’s sustainability efforts at the World Gas Conference. Employee perks include include monthly wellness and fitness classes, an in-house brewery (new flavors each month) and paid sabbaticals.
HAS WORKED WITH: Chevron, Jagermeister, NYU Langone, PVH, Supercell
RFP CONTACT: Gabe Garner, Gabe.Garner@firstborn.com
Few people know the music and entertainment space better than music industry veterans Laura Hutfless and Jeremy Holley, who also happen to head up this marketing agency. The team helped Enterprise Rent-A-Car run its first music campaign and positioned the launch of the new vertical of Bumble, Bumble Bizz, with a Fergie performance and support from Priyanka Chopra, Kate Hudson and Karlie Kloss. It executed a Cracker Barrel partnership with country sensation Scotty McCreery for a custom “Five More Minutes” music video that premiered the week his song went No. 1 and launched a four-month prom campaign for Journeys with GRAMMY-award winning artist Daya that culminated in a customer prom. For Victoria’s Secret, the agency relaunched PINK Nation by building the brand’s first mobile double-decker concert bus where Marshmello performed from the top as it traveled down Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Opened a second office in Austin and doubled staff and clients this year.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bumble, Cracker Barrel, Enterprise, Journeys, Victoria’s Secret PINK WEBSITE: flytevu.com RFP CONTACT: Heather Hourigan, email@example.com
Freeman may be the most dynamic 90-year-old around, with launches and acquisitions keeping its 7,000 worldwide employees hopping and fueling thousands of annual programs with energy and technical know-how. Fuzion by Freeman, its new open digital event technology platform, connects data across all points of the event ecosystem. And there’s more: Acquiring Helios Interactive means greater use of technologies like touch and gesture sensing, AR and VR; U.K.-based Comotion will deliver on customer-based strategy, and the Salons acquisition will improve registration and attendee database management. Freeman also has expanded its sponsorship, creative and operations teams, created a brand experience leadership team, and recently announced the Freeman Design Leadership Council, a group of 10 visionaries tapped to push the design of branded experiences.
HAS WORKED WITH: Allscripts, Splunk, Porsche, Spectrum Brands, AARP WEBSITE: freeman.com RFP CONTACT: Jayda Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Construction management consultancy PRA turned to FVM for a brand overhaul that would emphasize the company’s products and services, including the new Stepflo software solution. A new logo, website and narrative have clarified positioning and are boosting sales and marketing momentum. Some nice brand building, indeed. Recent hires include avid snowboarder Derek Eanosky as digital marketing coordinator and former competitive cricket player Hasnain Khalfan as senior front-end developer. Team members volunteer for the Memory Project, creating portraits for youth who have faced substantial challenges. Offices in Portland and Philadelphia kick back and bond with sports competitions, baking contests and creative challenges.
HAS WORKED WITH: DiscoverOrg, LIXIL, Proscia, Suez Water Technologies & Solutions, UNIVAR WEBSITE: thinkfvm.com RFP CONTACT: Tom O’Brien, email@example.com
Jack Morton’s interactive agency keeps on keepin’ on with some of the smartest digital integrations in the business. For Charmin, the team created the first-ever on-demand mobile bathroom service that helped the brand differentiate itself in a crowded commodity category. The app-driven “Van-Go” program was the best performing social campaign in the history of the brand. Velcro’s 12 Days of Awesome digital content and social media campaign for its HANGables product generated a 10 percent lift in sales across key retailers and earned the agency a gold MIXT award for online video marketing. And we are still lovin’ the Cover Girl Rantin’ and Raven campaign, the first-ever all-female football pregame show with nearly half a million YouTube views.
HAS WORKED WITH: Johnson & Johnson, Kronos, MTV, Reebok, Verizon WEBSITE: wearegenuine.com
RFP CONTACT: wearegenuine.com/contact
Geometry wants people to not just buy, but to buy well. A lofty goal, and one that it achieves through sampling programs, national field efforts and high-touch campaigns, all designed to influence behavior, drive conversion and boost clients’ bottom lines. Take the Cheerios Moments of Good campaign that surprised Walmart shoppers and their communities with rewards such as a $25,000 check to send a high school marching band to the Rose Bowl or $100 gift cards, and delivered double-digit growth on Cheerios. A new brand identity reflects the agency’s contemporary outlook. “We are a modern, omni-channel agency, a diverse, curious, fun company that is confident and ambitious for the future,” says global CEO Steve Harding. We think he may be on to something.
HAS WORKED WITH: American Airlines, Beam Suntory E&J Gallo, General Mills, Grace Farms WEBSITE: geometry.com RFP CONTACT: Debbie Kaplan, firstname.lastname@example.org
What a year it has been for Team GPJ, which once again scored a staggering list of awards, landed numerous new clients—including Macy’s, JD Power, Amazon, Google, VW, CapitalOne, Jaguar Land Rover and more—all while delivering top-notch experiences for decades-long auto and IT clients such as Cisco, Fiat Chrysler and IBM. Look for even more innovation, especially with its acquisition of boutique agency Kenwood Experiences and the new GPJ Experiential Ecosystem, which will deliver on actionable data and more personalized experiences. A new office in Franklin, TN, places the agency practically in Nissan/Infiniti’s backyard, and the agency also is heading to Dubai as key partner for Pavilion USA at World Expo 2020.
HAS WORKED WITH: Cisco, Honda, IBM, Rodan + Fields, Salesforce WEBSITE: gpj.com RFP CONTACT: Scott Kellner, email@example.com
2018 was a busy year at GMR, which activated 17 programs on behalf of nine clients at Super Bowl LII, including the NFL itself, then flew to PyeongChang for the Winter Olympics, where 160 staffers facilitated 15 activations for eight clients. That’s along with managing 10,000 Olympic tickets and 7,500 people in its work for worldwide sponsors including Visa and Procter & Gamble. But it’s not all about sports here. The agency also created The UpSkill Project Powered by Lowe’s to teach millennial homeowners basic household DIY skills and the Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl to change perceptions about modern farming. Then there’s the proprietary research on the impact of emotion in experiential marketing, the sports fan experience and music + memories from GMR’s Insights + Strategy team. Good stuff!
HAS WORKED WITH: Comcast, Esurance, MillerCoors, NFL, P&G WEBSITE: gmrmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Becky Petska, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots happening here: Michael Barber—one of Marketo’s inaugural “Fearless 50” honorees—came on board as SVP/chief creative officer. AR and VR were deployed to help JLG showcase the “Work Site of the Future” at CONEXPO, the construction industry’s largest trade show. Worldwide Partners B2B agency network honored the shop with its seventh Perfect Partner award at the 2018 WPI Global Summit in Miami. VP Scott Trobaugh and executive creative director Cliff Lewis hit the road for San Francisco and the B2B Forum to explain how being like Mister Rogers can make you a better marketer. Back at home, the learning continues: opportunities to participate in online learning and mentor colleagues abound. The gentlemen of Godfrey recently threw away their razors for “Movember,” to raise awareness for men’s health.
HAS WORKED WITH: Avantor Performance Materials, JLG Industries, Johnson Controls, Klüber Lubrication, SKF WEBSITE: godfrey.com RFP CONTACT: Josh Albert, email@example.com
Gabrey Means and Cassie Hughes, the dynamic duo behind Grow, continue to execute experiences that drive action, advocacy and brand conversations for a growing roster of clients. The agency is growing, too, with the launch of Root + Rise, a practice to help employees feel empowered and proud to represent the companies they work for. For Google, a Block Party Tour brought an insanely Instagrammable, ultra-tiny neighborhood to high-trafficked spots in L.A. and New York City, where consumers experienced the magic of Google’s whole home entertainment, then reached B2B audiences at key retail sales conferences. And its launch of the Unlike Any global woman’s campaign for Under Armour? Let’s just say its artful design, spoken-word performances and immersive engagements truly were unlike any other.
HAS WORKED WITH: Google, KinderCare, Pernod Ricard USA, Target, Under Armour WEBSITE: grow-marketing.com RFP CONTACT: Tami Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gyro increased its sphere of influence in 2018 with the acquisition of UK-based market research firm B2B International—clients include blue chip brands like Stanley Black & Decker, BASF and Shell. Congrats to CEO/CCO Christoph Becker on being inducted into the ANA B2B Hall of Fame, on the same evening gyro was named Agency of the Year. Now that’s a good night! Harvard grad Angie Fischer rejoined the agency and will lead the Cincinnati office as president alongside executive creative director Mike Tittel. Training programs support professional development, including an account leadership boot camp, mentoring and project management training. An estimated 30,000 people saw a pro bono initiative to celebrate World Wish Day, designed to boost awareness and extend the Make-A-Wish Foundation “Hope is Medicine” campaign. Magical.
HAS WORKED WITH: Fujifilm, Grant Thornton, Knauf, Roche, USG WEBSITE: gyro.com RFP CONTACT: Adryanna Sutherland, email@example.com
Operating with a “consumer first” approach, Hangar 12 specializes in strategies for CPG brands and pumps out memorable powerhouse campaigns like “Wisconsin Beer Lovers,” a program that paired Saputo Cheese and the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival to reach target adult audiences. What do you get when you pair the adult flavors of Frigo cheese with a cold, foamy brew, photo opps and a sweepstakes, all inside a killer activation? Fifteen million impressions, 22,000 sweeps registrations, 14,000 Facebook actions and 27,000 web clicks. Add in its expertise in shopper marketing and you can see why this shop continues to draw new biz from brands like Beard Guyz and Van Der Hagen.
With the support of its global network, HSE activated two major sponsorships this year for Coca-Cola: the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics and the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour. A team embedded in the Coca-Cola South Korea offices spent two years prepping for the logistically complex campaign that included a 101-day Olympic Torch Relay. (This year marked the 11th execution of the relay for the agency—impressive.) A unique partnership with Universal Music Group provides clients access to 40 percent of the most influential global music artists and record labels. To keep staff spirits running high, an all-agency event this summer took over a huge house on Lake Lanier for three days of bonding, personality assessments and lake games.
HAS WORKED WITH: Coca-Cola Co., ComEd, Delta Airlines, NBCUniversal, Puma WEBSITE: havas-se.com RFP CONTACT: Daniel Dao, firstname.lastname@example.org
HelloWorld was acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network in 2018 and now does business as “HelloWorld, a Merkle Company,” a move that gives this agile agency the ability to scale its unique promotion, loyalty and engagement offerings. The Agency Agile methodology is a way of life here which means better quoting for clients, better delivery and a more optimized workflow. A few highlights from the portfolio: To boost engagement for its redesigned mobile app, Marriott offered its loyalty program members the chance to win travel for life—all they had to do to enter was use the app for everyday things like reservations, check-in and towel requests. And use it they did, ultimately unlocking 3.75 million rewards points over the course of the campaign. Fun fact: each conference room in this Detroit shop is named after a popular song or a movie. Our favorites: Ridgemont High, Field of Dreams and Hogwarts.
HAS WORKED WITH: AARP, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Royal Caribbean, Starbucks
RFP CONTACT: Jen Gray,Jen.Gray@HelloWorld.com
This 16-year-old Cleveland-based agency has retail—and CPG—in its DNA. One recent case in point: a tasty schedule of activations designed to address lagging sales and preserve the Kraft cheese and dairy display in Meijer stores. “Delicious and Easy” cooler destinations were created to deliver on-trend recipes and content via a on-cooler digital touchpad, with content refreshed monthly to keep ’em comin’ back. The display was so engaging that Meijer increased the number of stores with the Kraft coolers by 71 percent. Another campaign tapped trendy Bryant Park in New York City to attract 15- to 35-year- old film buffs to Swedish Fish candy’s sponsorship of the park’s Outdoor Film Festival. It added a cherry on top with a GIF booth and Snapchat filter.
HAS WORKED WITH: Jeep, Kraft Heinz, Mondeléz, Oreo, Ritz WEBSITE: hmtassociates.com RFP CONTACT: Patti Conti, email@example.com
Born in Brooklyn with 11 other offices spanning the globe, this Interpublic agency does cutting-edge digital like nobody’s business while still applying just the right tech in just the right way for its roster of Fortune 100 clients. On the cutting-edge end of the spectrum, there is Japanese prestige beauty brand SK-II, which launched a month-long “Future X” Smart Store in Shanghai featuring facial recognition and AI technologies working together to create a fully immersive and customized shopping experience—including a personalized skincare analysis. And then there are all the ubiquitous interfaces, products and people you know, but that you may not know are HUGE clients. Like Google, a long-time client and collaborator. Or Kohl’s, which used HUGE to leverage Chewbacca Mom’s popularity in a Facebook Live campaign that generated more than 30 million views. And if you love that sexy HULU interface, yep, you have HUGE to thank for it. Three former HUGE employees—Ian Burns, Mitsy Lopez-Baranello and Marlena Edwards—are back, baby, and have recently returned to the agency in leadership positions that will scale its offerings in CRM and loyalty, experience design and diversity and inclusion. The force is strong with this one.
HAS WORKED WITH: American Express, Chrysler, Estee Lauder, Four Seasons, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Time Warner WEBSITE: hugeinc.com
RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
This Hearst-owned 20-year veteran of the industry was founded on search and uses its deep expertise to create campaigns infused with sound data and performance metrics. The mantra, “It’s a C2B world,” drives the work here and as such, it creates people-centric media, content and experiences that amplify their existing interests. When Hampton was looking to make stronger connections with consumers online, iCrossing created a video series featuring real stories from real guests, ultimately generating a 90 percent share rate and a 180 percent increase in Facebook fans. Beam Suntory’s DeKuyper unit was struggling in search, so the agency worked its magic to shoot the cordial brand to the top of the pile. Oh, and sales increased a tasty 200 percent, too.
HAS WORKED WITH: Amazon, Adobe, Bridgestone, LG, Microsoft, TD Bank WEBSITE: icrossing.com
RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
Looking for a social partner? You’ve come to the right place. This shop—with outposts in Birmingham, MI and Cary, NC—delivers thought leadership social-based strategies with strong measurable results. The Shorty Awards recognized their work with honors in the Large Media Buying Strategy Category for a campaign with Visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Engaging content like travel guides and newsletters coupled with a social and paid media strategy drove off-season visits to the region. (Now we want to go!) Ignite walks the walk too—check out their own social presences for a plethora of best practices and tips, and a look at agency life, such as a Halloween party featuring an army of Michael Jacksons ready to dance. Looks like a Thriller of a good time.
HAS WORKED WITH: Daisy, Jared, Jeep, Lenovo, Lowe’s, Samsung, Staples WEBSITE: ignitesocialmedia.com RFP CONTACT: Lisa Braziel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Some social strategists just push out post after post after post, but ImagiBrand uses stories to create a community of consumers and partners to support brands. This Edmonds, WA, shop looks to transform brands into publishing machines, with an integrated mix of videos, images and ideas to engage consumer with their message. Services include detailed monthly reporting, and we don’t just mean a look at each clients’ own social performance. Competitors’ social posts and tactics are also tracked (or as they say stalked) to scope out key opportunities and threats. Need star power? CEO/creative marketing director Richie Kawamoto has Hollywood-certified marketing cred: his resume includes work on blockbusters like Catch Me If You Can, The Notebook and The Polar Express.
What do you get when you cross left-brain logic with the creativity of the right? Maybe something close to Imagination. A stalwart on the auto show circuit with chops in other verticals, it took home two Gold Ex Awards this year for work for Ford—one for a tire-shredding live drive experience at SEMA 2017; and another for Bullitt Starring You, in which potential customers participated in an interactive Hollywood chase sequence in a 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. Then there was the AI installation that hit Europe this summer before the launch of Ford’s latest Focus model, where visitors shared their life’s focus (football, perhaps?) and saw it come alive on giant FOCUS letters, then received a personalized video for social sharing. Pretty brainy.
HAS WORKED WITH: Brown-Forman, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, NFL, Shell WEBSITE: imagination.com RFP CONTACT: Kurt Sabin, email@example.com
The big news at Impact is XM-IQ, a “B2Me” attendee engagement platform that uses technology and science to deliver targeted messages, offers, content and experiences at trade shows, conferences and marketing activations. Other agency plusses: a five-step Playbooks by Impact XM process for outlining visual guidelines, customer experiences, staff training and measurement, and its move into larger, more tech-forward spaces in Toronto and Las Vegas. Among its more recent work, we love the 20-foot rotating cityscape that served as the focal point at AT&T’s Business Summit pavilion. Built of internally lit and custom-cut Lucite blocks, the display portrayed the various industries AT&T serves in a magical way over the city of the future, a nod to the Internet of Things and to the agency’s creativity as well.
HAS WORKED WITH: AT&T, BASF, Bayer, Kawasaki, Under Armour WEBSITE: impact-xm.com RFP CONTACT: Charles Sanchez, firstname.lastname@example.org
A one-stop shop from an agency and internal fabrication perspective, along with its Designer 8 furniture rental division and digital team, one client says it best: “Once you hire Infinity, just pick up your feet and open a bottle of wine as you know everything will be done to perfection.” She may be onto something. The agency’s technology-meets-festivalization strategy, which partnered HP-Intel with Panorama and Coachella 2018, has received global recognition. Other big hits: the Uber Elevate Summit 2018, the brand’s first major foray into experiential marketing; Intel’s first brand build-out and immersive environment at Sundance; the OMEN Challenge: PUBG Edition, a multi-player “battle royale” experience and a new Sustainability division that weighs in with recommendations for big events like Adobe MAX.
What began as a small shop now boasts more than 400 full-time employees, a roster of emerging brands and Fortune 500 companies and offices in Norwalk, CT, New York City and Chicago, all grounded in a culture of giving back. New offerings include educational podcasts and video training tools for clients, expanded social media and content capabilities and an in-house database and accompanying phone app for more in-depth reporting on program KPIs. Its innovative “Center of Excellence” program affords employees time and space to think in new and different ways, including pro-bono projects and education. Its awareness activation for Super Bowl LII advertiser Persil ProClean was a game-changer, surprising fans with at-home deliveries of Persil sample kits, flat-screen TVs and tailgating equipment, and social media spots that gained 44 million impressions. Touchdown.
Thinking about the bottom line? Synchronizing all the moving parts of the revenue engine with the customer journey is the focus here, with an eye on optimizing lead gen, lead and customer nurturing, and sales enablement. 2018 highlights include the rollout of a new suite of account-based marketing services, as well as a win for service partner of the year honors at CONEX in Toronto. The agency is a certified Marketo and Demandbase partner, too. When there’s a bit of downtime, team members enjoy a hot cup of coffee or a cold Colorado craft brew. Looking for fine art? Check out the Play-Doh sculptures or the impressive drawings on the conference room whiteboards.
HAS WORKED WITH: Change Healthcare, Comdata, GTT, Jenny Craig, Kaiser Permanente WEBSITE: intelligentdemand.com RFP CONTACT: Paige Montgomery, email@example.com
Long-standing clients like Subway, ESPN and SHRM constantly put INVNT’s “challenge everything” mantra up to the test, a challenge the agency readily accepts as it aims to change brand perception, engage consumers and garner press coverage. You name it, INVNT is up to it. Proprietary INVNTion methodology gives it the edge when it comes to ideation, design and execution, along with cutting-edge innovations in 2D and 3D visual design systems from its SWDSH Design Studio in Stockholm. A new office in Sydney has already delivered events for Atlantis, TEDx and Xero, and has landed a number of additional new accounts. Overall the agency has secured 23 clients in the last 12 months and achieved a 70 percent retention rating.
HAS WORKED WITH: ESPN, Oracle, PepsiCo, SHRM, Subway WEBSITE: invnt.com RFP CONTACT: Scott Kerr, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Digital Transformation” is the driving force at this Dentsu Aegis Network shop, which boasts one of the biggest global footprints on the CM200 with 6,000 people in more than 85 locations across more than 45 markets. The core capabilities here are split into three key offerings: Digital Marketing, Digital Ecosystems and Digital Products, along with three consultancies and practices that include Marketing Intelligence, Business Transformation and Omni-Channel Commerce. As its digital AOR, Isobar helped LEGO achieve double-digit growth in U.S. business over two years by developing hundreds of digital displays and engagements. For Enterprise, the agency delivered a total digital transformation across 22 domains in 25 languages, 10 integrated lines of business and across mobile apps—all in just 15 months. The result: a 26 percent boost in revenue growth from new digital channels.
HAS WORKED WITH: Adidas, Coca-Cola, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Huawei, Philips WEBSITE: isobar.com
RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
If you don’t know about the extraordinary work coming from this shop for nearly eight decades, you don’t know Jack. For the past two years, it has worked with seven out of 10 on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful brands, and six out of 10 of its clients are on the Fortune 100 list. In 2018, it added Honeywell, Waze, Uber, L.L. Bean, NFL Films and Olay to its stable; GM named it a supplier of the year, and in the last 12 months it has scored more than 50 awards. And its Net Promoter Score? A mere (!) 2.3 times higher than the industry average. Its recently launched Experience Brand Index is sure to get some heads shaking, and a new storytelling workshop led by chief creative officer Bruce Henderson will get them thinking. Yep, that’s Jack.
HAS WORKED WITH: General Motors, Google, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Subway WEBSITE: jackmorton.com RFP CONTACT: Cassandra Hegarty, firstname.lastname@example.org
Need a full-service shop? Offerings here include everything from branding, logos and email marketing to web design, app development and animation. In business since 1985, offices are located in New York and New Jersey. After a flurry of merger and acquisition activity, client AD needed an industrial strength makeover. A new multiplatform campaign with people-focused imagery created a human connection, defining AD’s vision and driving growth. Want to hear more about the creative process? Listen to the agency’s Dissection podcast, hosted by associate creative director Christopher Holewski and art director Jason Alejandro. Eleven employees helped build a house this spring with Habitat for Humanity as part of the JK Gives Back program.
HAS WORKED WITH: AD, Centrica Business Solutions, IEEE, Philips, Sani Professional WEBSITE: jkdesign.com RFP CONTACT: Andrea Wolkofsky, email@example.com
Everyone needs a new look now and then, and world-renowned brands are no different. Global brand design agency JKR ran alongside Dunkin’ as it shed Donuts from its moniker and reimagined itself with a new logo on packaging, advertising, digital and social channels. Other tasty brands working with the shop this year include Budweiser, Burger King and M&Ms. Congrats on five Clio Awards, including a gold for client Ugly fruit-flavored sparkling water. The inside scoop: Global executive creative director Tosh Hall hit the airwaves in an interview with the Real Famous podcast, sharing highlights of his career and insight on how he reviews portfolios.
HAS WORKED WITH: Anheuser-Busch, Domino’s, General Mills (Wheaties), Kashi WEBSITE: jkrglobal.com RFP CONTACT: Ash Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org
If your call center staff is excited about your product, they’ll work harder. That was the tact taken with a campaign targeting the salespeople at HBO’s contact center, to inspire them in their subscription sales. The immediate success led to HBO and sister channel Cinemax making Los Angeles-based Kern their agency of choice for direct mail and digital campaigns for at-home subscribers and other audiences. CRM with a strong data foundation is a priority, to craft creative that engages prospects and drives the bottom line. Subsidiary Kern Health is an insurance marketing agency, with a specialty focus on using everything from direct mail to DRTV for acquiring new baby boomer Medicare members.
HAS WORKED WITH: AAA, American Express, Canon Solutions America, DirecTV, SAP WEBSITE: kernagency.com RFP CONTACT: Scott Levine, email@example.com
We like to call this nimble indie an experience maker and consumer marketing innovator. Case in point: a coast to coast series of “wild” Purina Training Events that turned office venues into an African safari featuring a food truck, karaoke booth and arcade games. In Las Vegas, Kicking Cow staged a new Purina exhibit at the premier pet retail event SuperZoo; A whopping 13 elements included five walls to highlight pet products, large prism ad backdrops for product placement and a photo wall. The “Random Acts of Freshness” tour for Food Lion put the brand in front of consumers through a variety of community events in Richmond, VA. Food trucks and “The Fresh Farm Stand” provided private label products, coupons and giveaways. Coupon redemption hit 42 percent.
HAS WORKED WITH: Alliance for Lifetime Income,Food Lion, Nestlé Purina, Peppercomm, Purina Pro Plan WEBSITE: kickingcow.com RFP CONTACT: Cindy Hagel, firstname.lastname@example.org
With steady 10 percent increases every year for five years, and 2018 on pace to exceed its growth trajectory, Kindle stokes business with experiences that do more than engage—they ignite. That’s a fact that hasn’t escaped clients like McDonald’s, who put out an RFP after 20 years of work with the agency, but in the end re-awarded Kindle the contract for its 14,000-attendee Worldwide Conference. At IRI’s annual Growth Summit, efficient check-in, personalized notifications and real-time dashboard data fired up exhibitors with custom profiling, fast lead capture and content delivery. And at the AbbVie national sales meeting, if the general sessions, breakouts, videos and webcasts didn’t quicken the hearts of the 4,000 attendees, the augmented reality climbing wall, game shows, a Velcro wall, dance-offs and a charades showdown surely did.
From humble beginnings in an old bridal shop in the Woolwich district of Southeast London, this shop has grown to larger digs in San Francisco and London. Founders Mirza Fur and James Foulkes are still at the helm, boasting over 80 percent retention rates for both clients and staff. Argus is Kingpin’s proprietary analysis tool, to help gauge prospects’ awareness and marketing results. A tele-outreach program for the Windows team at Microsoft led to more than 12,000 engagements and more than 5,000 conversions. Cheers on being named Computing’s B2B Tech Marketing Agency of the Year for 2017 and 2018. For over a decade, the shop has supported Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Children’s Charity—over $125,000 has been raised so far. Brilliant!
. HAS WORKED WITH: LogRhythm, Microsoft, One Identity, Quest Software, SonicWall WEBSITE: kingpincomms.com RFP CONTACT: Paul O’Malley, email@example.com
Yale Materials Handling turned to the team here for help bringing robotic lift truck technology to market. Messaging for specific personas and pain points took prospects from awareness to consideration—the campaign boasted an average email open rate of more than 21 percent, and more than 149,000 social impressions. Triangle Business Journal cited the Durham, NC, shop as one of the Top Internet Marketing and Design Firms of 2018. New hires include North Carolina State grad Sarah Keener as PR/social media coordinator and Sword & Horn webcomic creator West Bunting as graphic designer. “Koroberi” is a play on an Australian aboriginal word used to describe a gathering of leaders in times of conflict or celebration—a perfect metaphor for their marketing philosophy.
HAS WORKED WITH: Agile Media, Eco-Site, Honeywell, Honeywell Integrated, Hyster-Yale Group WEBSITE: koroberi.com RFP CONTACT: Natalie Fioto, firstname.lastname@example.org
This global agency transforms partnerships and sponsorships into robust modern marketing platforms that have gained the respect of world-class brands like MetLife, Citi and Heineken. At last year’s Paris Formula ePrix, the team worked with TAG Heuer’s French market to activate a fully integrated partnership, with an unparalleled VR experience, putting the fans in the driver’s seat for a truly unforgettable high-tech and high-end experience. For Homeaway.com, an apartment was designed and built in the Eiffel Tower and dangled as the grand prize in a global competition. To keep the story in the headlines, more than 9,000 people were hosted in the apartment to watch Euro 16 matches, practice yoga, create art and even get married. And when BMW was looking to connect with high-end customers via sport, carefully crafted highly successful partnerships were inked with sailing, winter sports and running properties. This agency is also developing some serious chops in esports, so keep an eye on them.
HAS WORKED WITH: Citi, Bridgestone, MetLife, Metro by T-Mobile WEBSITE: lagardere-plus.com/ RFP CONTACT: Dominic Curran, email@example.com
This woman-led agency—Jane Geraghty is global CEO—is using technology and design to champion an issue close to its heart: female leadership. In partnership with Women Political Leaders (WPL), Landor created “The Pulse,” a brand to track, translate and visualize the conversation around women in leadership, in real-time. Part of the Young & Rubicam Group network within WPP, the shop has 26 offices in 19 countries. One recent win: Mexican transportation leader Grupo ADO was successfully rebranded into Mobility ADO, maintaining brand recognition while boosting the focus on efficient mobility. Execs were thrilled with the digital, verbal and visual metamorphosis and the emphasis on a human-centered philosophy for transport.
HAS WORKED WITH: Jameson, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Old Spice, Nike WEBSITE: landor.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
They say: “We make amazing shit.” We say: yep, you sure do. Like the program for Hennessy that turned a long-, short- and micro-video series featuring influencers in art, music, business, fashion, and sports into an awareness juggernaut that increased the brand’s reach on social more than 100 percent over the previous year. Another video series and digital content program for Muscle Milk helped the brand shake off old “bro” perceptions and connect with everyday athletes—going on to become the most engaging and top performing content Muscle Milk had published to date. Laundry Service was recently selected as creative AOR for Tic-Tac and is no doubt still enjoying the stunning views from its (new’ish) top-floor digs in Brooklyn’s Empire Stores, a former roasted coffee warehouse on the East River.
HAS WORKED WITH: Adobe, Amazon, Beats by Dre, Fox, Nike WEBSITE: 247laundryservice.com
RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
One of the original experiential agencies, still-indie Legacy now is pushing the industry forward with a focus on cultural relevance and trends, social amplification and interactive technologies. Its guiding principle is experience is everything, and measurement is its mantra. In a year full of highlights, standouts include bringing non-beer brand Jameson Cask to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver; driving more than 10,000 miles with Filippo Berrio to food festivals and farmers markets to uncover consumers’ “Pesto-nality”; creating sales incentive programs in Costa Rica and Lisbon; hosting VIP and key customers off-the-grid in rural Wyoming; executing training retreats for brand advocates in Dublin, Ireland, as well as client programs at world-class events like the Kentucky Derby, Fashion Week and the Super Bowl, and that’s not all, folks: New work for spirits clients is on the way.
HAS WORKED WITH: Constellation Brands, Knauf Insulation, L&W Supply, Pernod Ricard, Salov N. Am.-Filippo Berrio Olive Oil WEBSITE: legacymarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Meg Wileman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2012, LEO has grown by 580 percent, executed in five countries outside the U.S., grown its staff by 300 percent, and shows no signs of slowing down if the past 12 months are any indication. It’s worked with big-names like Walmart, ExxonMobil, Sherwin-Williams, Hilton Garden Inn, Kowa Pharmaceuticals and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and has invested in content technology, bringing much of its video capabilities in-house and adding augmented data and analytics to its festival operations. At the KAABOO Del Mar music fest, LEO created two beaches in just one day from 250 truckloads of sand as well as a VIP “oasis” with main stage views, cabanas and a 20-foot pool. RFID wristbands allowed for cashless purchases (beer, anyone?) and social media interaction. Look for two more KAABOOs in 2019: KAABOO Cayman and KAABOO Texas.
New to the CM200 this year, this New York City-based agency has the unique distinction of being founded at a wedding when co-founders Dave and Carrie Kerpen got married in a sponsored wedding (yep, Google it) and wondered, “What’s next?” Social listening, content creation, strategy and paid and earned media plans are all core competencies here, as is a deep expertise in social media marketing that goes back to 2011, when Dave Kerpen wrote the bestseller, “Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (and Other Social Networks).” CEO Carrie Kerpen’s 2018 book, “Work It: Secrets for Success from the Boldest Women in Business,” grew out of a Likeable podcast series at this Top 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Business. A peek at the work reveals some clever thinking for brands like Century 21, who used blog posts, LinkedIn ads and informational “day in the life of an agent” videos and tutorials to reposition Century 21 employees as thought leaders inside the organization. The brand’s public-facing “adulting” content series gave the realtor a fresh—and funny—face to a younger generation.
HAS WORKED WITH: Apple & Eve, Century 21, Citrix, JetBlue, StubHub WEBSITE: likeable.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
Trailblazers and owners Mike Lee Standley and Michael Williams have elevated Liquid Design as a leader in sustainable architecture, planning, interior design and project management. Based in Charlotte, NC, Liquid pushes on all fronts to be earth-friendly with its modern design solutions. To simplify its green design methods for clients, it launched Earth-Green Design Solutions, bundling its methods into seven categories: water conservation, energy efficiency, healthy environments, sustainable sites, reuse/recycle, innovative design and solar concepts. Gave a fresh translation and clean modern look to a 2,800-square-foot State Farm warehouse. Put pastries in the spotlight at SunFlour Baking Co. with a simple, clean European look.
HAS WORKED WITH: Athletic Club, Encore, Frontier Justice, NASCAR, State Farm WEBSITE: liquiddesign.net RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
This team has a knack for combining the biggest (and soon-to-be-biggest) names in entertainment with some of the biggest brands on the planet. Take the pairing of Maroon 5 with Microsoft, John Legend with Samsung and Taylor Bennett with Urban Outfitters, each partnership driving millions of impressions for their respective brands. Add on its work with artists like Foo Fighters, the Rolling Stones and Billy Joel and strong p.r. relationships with Rogers & Cowan and national outfits like the Today show, Ellen and Billboard and you know why this agency was named to the CM200. Kudos to MAC for winning Billboard’s “Concert Marketing and Promotion Award” for the past six consecutive years.
HAS WORKED WITH: Citi, Express, Southwest, Sprite, Urban Outfitters WEBSITE: macpresents.com RFP CONTACT: Marci Allen, email@example.com
Founded in 2010 by four partners who had run the experiential marketing division at Yahoo!, Manifold understands both the client and agency sides of a successful campaign. Recent examples include Bumble Hive LA, a three-month pop-up on Melrose Place where members could work, network and mingle, and the newest in a series of experiential destinations for the brand. Over 60 activation days, the Hive drew more than 6,400 visitors, more than 400,000 direct impressions and more than 50 million social impressions. Then there was the dining experience onboard a New York City bus for the launch of the Uber Visa card where chef Alex Guarnaschelli whipped up neighborhood-inspired meals for Uber power users and media. Over three days the experience drove awareness for the new card and helped drive off-Uber spend.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bumble, Facebook, General Electric, LinkedIn, Uber WEBSITE: wearemanifold.com RFP CONTACT: Kelsea Hunt, firstname.lastname@example.org
With more than 60 years under its promo belt, this small but mighty independent has established itself as an expert in the sweeps/contests/games area, as well as loyalty and continuity programs. For SnapAV, it constructed a B2B rewards promo targeting SnapAV customers who earned one point for every dollar spent on select SnapAV category purchases. And spend they did: more than 80 percent of customers participating earned more than 35 million points, exceeding plan by 40 percent. A seven-week sweeps for BJ’s Wholesale Club that awarded points for in-store dog and cat product purchases boosted engagement with an Instagram and Twitter photo contest of members furry friends. The agency continues to win new international biz and has implemented policies and procedures to support General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
HAS WORKED WITH: Autodesk, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Google, US Bank, Viacom WEBSITE: mardenkane.com RFP CONTACT: Marty Glovin, email@example.com
Meet the agency that created Walmart’s first-ever in-store wine and food sampling program: a savvy pairing of SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co. and Black Box Wine that provided quick and easy meal solutions for Lent meal shoppers. The program not only broke new ground with Walmart, it increased reach, sales and category traffic for both brands and enhanced in-store experiences and generated bigger baskets for the retailer. Another campaign turned a downward trend for Phillips Distilling brand UV Vodka back up with a “Salute to Heroes” cause-marketing effort that donated $1 for every #SaluteToHeroes social post. Distributors jumped onboard increasing retailer participation to 20,000 U.S. stores. Also on the up and up: The agency was recognized with two “Design of the Times” awards this year for its installation of treadmill and standup desks, among other office perks.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bellisio Foods, Phillips Distilling, Pilgrim’s Pride, Prestige Brands, Twin Cities Orthopedics WEBSITE: marketinglab.com RFP CONTACT: Mark Lenss, firstname.lastname@example.org
Match has turned the page on a new chapter since its acquisition in July by Southfield Capital, and with president and ceo Michael Dill still at the reins, is eyeing further growth. Fueling that is the agency’s proprietary data analytics platform, DDX, which provides predictive and performance insights for targeting, prospects, context and sentiment. Its client roster is bulging with Fortune 500 companies across consumer packaged goods, automotive, service businesses, technology, electronics and retailers, and includes category leaders Diageo, MARS Canada, Progressive, Ford, Adidas and others. Successful programs include Jennie-O Make the Switch, a mobile sampling tour to convince consumers that turkey is a healthy alternative beyond Thanksgiving. Another healthy cause: Run for the Oceans, created with Adidas to raise awareness of the threat of marine plastic pollution.
HAS WORKED WITH: adidas, Ford Motor Company, Nestle Nespresso USA, Nissan North America,
Progressive Insurance WEBSITE: matchmg.com RFP CONTACT: Jason Wozny, email@example.com
How’s this for an email subject line: “Ottawa’s Largest Creative Agency Fires CEO and Creative Officer.” Got your attention? Good. Because that dramatic copy got more than a few people to keep reading that Gordon McMillan then rehired himself as chair and chief disruptor. Ha! A pre-show acquisition strategy and a full on-site experience ranging from keynotes to a mobile app helped United Rentals connect with construction industry buyers at five big industry events, including a crucial national user conference. Sales reps felt empowered and customers felt engaged. To create buzz for the Ottawa Film Festival, a disruptive campaign put eyes—googly eyes, that is—all over the city.
HAS WORKED WITH:Commvault, Donnelley Financial Solutions, HUB International, Schneider Electric, United Rentals WEBSITE: mcmillan.com RFP CONTACT:Robert Hyams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 2011, this Santa Monica, CA-based shop specializes in connecting brands with socially-engaged audiences via influencer marketing, YouTube influencers, Instagrammers, bloggers and more to build awareness, engagement and sales. They helped UberEats drive their message home by teaming with prominent family and lifestyle influencers to integrate how the service helped simplify their busy holiday schedules. MediaKix also fit Nordstrom with the right fashion Instragrammers to promote their anniversary sale. Need a jumpstart with your engagement strategy? Their CMO’s Guide to Influencer Marketing will get you rolling with best practices and tips for the right metrics to use to accurately measure your ROI and KPIs.
HAS WORKED WITH: Blue Apron, Birchbox, Hallmark, Nordstrom, Sleep Number WEBSITE: mediakix.com RFP CONTACT: Zoe Marans, email@example.com
Merit is on the move. New client wins in 2018 include Dayton Auto Parts, NEEA and Dynamic Measurement Group. Rising through the ranks, Kim Riley was promoted to president/COO and Alex Rhodes to chief client experience officer. A new partnership was started in 2018 with Portland, OR-based creative group Must Be Something—the studio’s impressive client lineup includes Google, Nike and Venmo. CEO/founder Adam Vasquez recently chatted about marketing on the Growth Hacking Show. A disruptive promotional campaign boosted awareness for the marshmallow chicks Peeps, including a South Beach Wine & Food Festival sponsorship featuring recipes, social content and suggested wine pairings. Candy-lovers are chirping with joy that they can get Peeps year-round now.
HAS WORKED WITH: Cardone, Members’ First, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, TE Industrial WEBSITE: madewithmerit.com RFP CONTACT: Tom Hollerbach, firstname.lastname@example.org
A glance at Merkle’s client roster—Dell, T-Mobile, GEICO, Kimberly-Clark, AARP, NBC Universal, Susan G. Komen, Sanofi—shows the expansive categories of world-class brands relying on Merkle’s expertise as a global, data-driven, tech-enabled performance marketing agency. Four recent acquisitions added to its global services, including DWA, a global B2B digital media and marketing agency; performance media agency Columbus; marketing technology consultancy Amicus Digital; and promotion and loyalty agency HelloWorld. Through its people-first marketing model, a campaign for Nestlé Waters served Facebook users based on weather. Orders increased double digits during a test in NYC. Employees dreaming of wheelchair surfing in Thailand, philanthropic endeavors with clients or going on safari can apply for a “Dream Grant.”
HAS WORKED WITH: EmblemHealth, Fiat Chrysler, Google, John Hancock, Kimpton WEBSITE: merkleinc.com RFP CONTACT: Cheryl Sansonetti, email@example.com
Based in New York City and founded in 1999, this global agency, together with parent GlobalLogic, provides design and engineering services from more than 30 locations across 12 countries. Created a global digital design experience for McDonald’s to bring a consistent, coherent experience across all customer touch points and walked away with a top award for its work in Fast Company’s 2018 Innovation by Design Awards. Promoted Steve Teruggi to general manager from managing director of the London studio and Alvaro Márquez to CCO from executive creative director. Its services encompass experience strategy, service design, product strategy, design and development and organization design
HAS WORKED WITH: Duck Creek, Evry, Fine, San Francisco Ballet, Ubisoft WEBSITE: method.com RFP CONTACT: Alicia Bergin, firstname.lastname@example.org
2018 saw this firm expand into several new vertical markets, including healthcare, AI, data science and education technology, and extend its capabilities into several core areas, including B2B event promotions and influencer marketing. A diverse content program for high tech client KeyInfo increased traffic to partner pages by 60 percent. Former LEWIS Global Communications Managing Director Marty Querzoli joined the team as vice president of content strategy, to serve the creative writing and content needs of clients. Other hires of note include former journalist Jeff Miller as VP of accounts and high-tech PR pro JaeMi Pennington as account director. The office is in Boston’s Downtown Crossing but the culture is remote-first: To keep everyone connected and collaborating, employees take turns answering questions in video AMA (“ask me anything”) sessions.
HAS WORKED WITH: Basecamp, ClearSky Data, Ericsson, Know Your Company, Zaius WEBSITE: metiscomm.com RFP CONTACT: Rachel Sullivan, email@example.com
With 31-year-old Justin Lefkovitch at its helm and a staff comprised of millennials, Mirrored Media is ahead of the curve when it comes to connecting with Generation Me. BMW has to love the millions of impressions generated by the two-week Road to Coachella campaign, which featured influencers, live performances and original branded content that captured the elegance and sustainability of the BMWi. The agency also made a splash at VidCon for brands like Awesomeness, Fullscreen and others with activations that included a 40-foot branded Ferris wheel, 10-foot-tall free candy dispensers and a glitter trampoline photo op. It also produced two iterations of a beach house for Awesomeness, executed several brand activations at Sundance and organized a national promo tour for Hollywood Records. And you thought millennials were lazy.
HAS WORKED WITH: Awesomeness, BMW, Hollywood Records, IFC, NBCUniversal WEBSITE: mirroredmedia.com RFP CONTACT: Matt Skala, firstname.lastname@example.org
Spindrift wanted to get its brand awareness to a good place, so it turned to Mistress to create an ambitious multichannel campaign online, in print and out of home featuring actress Kristin Bell. In videos, she emphasized the simply pure two ingredient (sparkling water and real fruit) nature of the beverage with the fizzy, to-the-point slogan “Yup, that’s it.” On a creepier note, check out the social teaser work for the American Horror Story Apocalypse. (We’ve got the wiggins just thinking about the freaky videos. “Your chance to survive is coming.” Brrr.) Congrats on a Shorty Award for #PurpleForThePlanet, and an AdAge 2018 Small Agency of the Year Win. And let’s hear it for Jorge Andrade, recently promoted to associate director of design.
HAS WORKED WITH: Coca-Cola, Finlandia, IMAX, Paypal, Starz, TripAdvisor, Qdoba WEBSITE: mistress.agency RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
Consumers went gaga for MKTG’s Gatorade G-Store, which for two days in January fueled up a retail experience—all Gatorade, all the time—in New York City. An augmented reality engagement highlighted the brand’s product portfolio, while the store’s stockroom transported guests into a Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) lab. Live workouts with a trainer and a sports-inspired photo shoot gave guests a inside look at the life of an athlete. But this is just one example of MKTG’s experiential expertise, which includes trade show production, mobile marketing tours, ride-and-drives and more. Seven thousand brand ambassadors around the world help make it all happen. And with a client list that includes the likes of the NHL, Smirnoff, Bulgari and others, there’s more than Gatorade to keep MKTG pumped up.
HAS WORKED WITH: AT&T, Diageo, IBM, National Hockey League, Nike WEBSITE: mktg.com RFP CONTACT: Bryan Duffy, firstname.lastname@example.org
This Tucker, GA-based shop prides itself on being 100 percent B2B focused, and has invested heavily in recent years on inbound marketing—in fact, they’re a Hubspot Gold Certified Agency Partner. Content marketing, digital campaigns and B2B branding are among the specialties here. Custom video campaigns from MLT utilize a number of styles, from live action to animation. For example, clips from famous movies such as Forrest Gump and Transformers interspersed with new footage brought the stories of National Auto Auction Association members to life. Craving inspiration on how to create sensational B2B marketing touchpoints, or just want to find out what marketing lessons agency president Billy Mitchell learned working as a paperboy in the late sixties? Check out the Ideas@Work Blog.
HAS WORKED WITH: ASD-USA, Bennett Graphics, NAVIX Consultants, OmniMetrix, Solar CrowdSource WEBSITE: mltcreative.com RFP CONTACT: Billy Mitchell, email@example.com
President Jonathon Nelson started his career as a brand ambassador so the brand ambassador expertise here runs deep. Modern Promos boasts a nationwide network of 40,000 brand ambassadors and a robust staffing management process. On the brand activation side, the “Sprint Holiday Mobile Tour” took to the wintry streets of New York City with a van carrying a sparkling snow globe, carolers, gift cards and space for photo opps all the while engaging with tens of thousands of new and existing customers. A field-marketing bonanza for Jackson Hewitt—pulled off in a short time frame—began as a test and quickly went national with street teams and sign shakers increasing traffic to JH locations.
Longtime CEO Chris Weil says it’s not what you say, it’s what you do that matters—a principle that plays out in the tech-fueled experiences Momentum produces across sponsorship, experiential, music/entertainment and shopper channels. Take its activation for American Express during this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, with 18 glittering chandelier hoops and the dramatic “exploded floorboards” portal. At Super Bowl LII, it created a buzz-building 24-foot by 40-foot glass-walled lounge for Verizon, and the rustic pop-up Amex x Justin Timberlake: Man of the Woods Listening Experience? Sexy. Momentum’s still got it, folks. And never one to rest on its laurels, it’s expanding into esports and investing in new insights, products and offerings. Robots, anyone?
HAS WORKED WITH: American Express, SAP, United Airlines, U.S. Army, Verizon WEBSITE: momentumww.com RFP CONTACT: Richard Black, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mosaic’s new manifesto (“Make the World A Better Experience”), rolled out in phases this year, signifies the agency’s focus on delivering game-changing experiences and content for consumers and brands. That, along with its results-oriented Strategy and Insights department, a database of best-in-class programs over the past 15 years, geographic information systems for pinpoint market targeting and an AI-powered social listening tool equip Mosaic to keep on keepin’ on with stellar experiences like the Stella Artois Filmmaker Lounge at Sundance, an own-able space that reinforced the brand’s credibility within the film community. Mosaic also launched Welch’s new Northing But the Fruit (N.B.T.F.) brand with a tasting experience that mirrored a sophisticated wine tasting with “snack sommeliers” and culinary pairings. It was Nothing But Fantastic.
HAS WORKED WITH: A-B InBev, Nestle, Oracle, Shopify, Walmart WEBSITE: mosaic.com RFP CONTACT: Nicole Yelsey, Nicole.email@example.com
Looking for the non-traditional? Check out Motive’s mobile and campus tours, digital campaigns as well as traditional TV, print and retail promotions. Motive jumpstarted the whole notion of live events as content for traditional media—remember that Blake Shelton concert on the USS Lexington? It eventually ran as a 60-second ad during a Thanksgiving football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. That’s just one example of its innovative thinking. The two-day, multi-level Dew x NBA Closer Than Courtside activation at NBA All-Star 2018 is another. It all stems from CEO Matt Statman and his team. As he says, if you’re looking for big ideas and cool s#*t, call them. (We’ve got him on speed dial.)
HAS WORKED WITH: Anheuser-Busch, Edrington, Jaguar Land Rover, Moët & Chandon, PepsiCo WEBSITE: thinkmotive.com RFP CONTACT: Krista Nicholson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Demand gen is at the heart of everything this 31-year-old Chicago-based shop executes, with branding, lead gen and customer engagement taking center stage to drive client growth. The reigning philosophy is a dual funnel designed to overcome marketing inertia: one for the existing customer journey and one for a new path to sales. Electronics solutions manufacturer Molex needed to align analytics and reporting across their entire global marketing organization. Customized dashboards helped stakeholders evaluate KPIs and share 10 different data sources, enabling faster (and smarter) marketing decisions. Office life includes ping pong tournaments, lunch-and-learns and beer-themed conference rooms. (Anyone up for a 2 o’clock meeting in Goose Island?) Everyone got wild for this year’s summer family outing: a day at the Brookfield Zoo.
HAS WORKED WITH: AMITA Health, Cardinal Health, Hospira, Keck Medicine of USC, Molex WEBSITE: moveo.com RFP CONTACT: Bari Scheinbach, email@example.com
Relationships are crucial in B2B marketing, which is why Mower promotes a “Brand as Friend” mantra for its clients. The highlight reel for 2018 included celebrating the shop’s 50th anniversary with a rebrand—from Eric Mower + Assoc. to the streamlined Mower—and the introduction of several new specialty services, including success planning, employee communications and product innovation consulting. Recent accolades include a Global Ace for the “Inner Strengths” campaign created for Daimler trucking components division Detroit, and an ANA B2 honor for a sales enablement toolkit for client WestRock EnShield. And, Mary Owusu, VP of digital strategy and analytics, received the Young Professional Award at the Athena 2018 ceremonies.
HAS WORKED WITH: Carestream Dental, Daimler, Dell EMC, General Electric, Siemens WEBSITE: mower.com RFP CONTACT: Chris Steenstra, firstname.lastname@example.org
New faces joining the roster this year include Bader Rutter vet Mike Fredrick, chief creative officer; BVK alum Jeff Ericksen, group creative director; Silver Springs Network vet Ann Nunnemacher, PR director; and Stephan & Brady alum Jim Jelak, account planning and management director. The shop nabbed two Best in Category honors at the Milwaukee BMA Bell Awards for work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp, and a Silver Aster Award and a Bronze Healthcare Advertising Award for event marketing with Change Healthcare RSNA. A third-generation family business, the shop is proud to invest in continuing education. Discipline leaders conduct team audits and create a professional development plan to fill skill gaps—and create opportunities for employees. Everyone wins—and learns!
HAS WORKED WITH: McKesson, Motivo, Panduit, Regal, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. WEBSITE: nelsonschmidt.com RFP CONTACT: Christopher Vitrano, email@example.com
Big things are happening at this Winooski, VT shop. In the last two years, over 35 new hires have joined the team, which recently added additional office space to incorporate video production studios and a gym to keep everyone in shape. This HubSpot Agency Partner’s services include inbound, content and search engine marketing; website design and development; and marketing and sales operations. ServiceTitan turned to New Breed for help refining brand positioning and defining residential contractor buyer personas. The resulting strategy optimized top of funnel content and an automated email nurture campaign helped increase new contacts by an impressive 188 percent and organic blog traffic by 71 percent.
HAS WORKED WITH: Indigo Agriculture, Kalibrate, ServiceTitan, SpringCM, Vidyard WEBSITE: newbreedmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Guido Bartolacci, firstname.lastname@example.org
With deep relationships in the college space, a network of ambassadors in hundreds of markets and access to thousands of venues, Newbridge has the smarts to get brands like L.L. Bean, Brita and Razer into students’ hands at college bookstores, campus recreation centers, student centers, quad spaces and events. It managed L.L. Bean’s first-ever student ambassador program promoting Be an Outsider, and created a month-long mobile tour to introduce Brita Stream pitchers to college consumers. But Newbridge steps off-campus, too. It handled L.L. Bean’s summer tour to fairs and festivals, produced the brand’s month-long “Northern Lights” holiday event in Freeport, ME, and created an interactive event at the Super Bowl LII NFL Experience for Touch by Alyssa Milano. Like we said, smart.
Clients call them relentless. But at 25 years young, independent Next claims it’s just hitting its stride. Internal TMZ-style think tanks help the agency stay on top of the game. Technology? It’s all over it with NEXTlabs hub, where staffers meet twice a month to blog and geek out, and TechScape, an internal committee to find startups to shoulder up within the field. Recent highlights include the high-speed 4D simulator experience for Cox Communications and the Ford Sync Spot lounge at Atlanta’s Shaky Knees festival, which generated a cool 2,000 sales leads over three days. And its Grab a Buick shuttle program during the Celebration Bowl, also in Atlanta, delivered results worth celebrating, like a 43 percent positive shift in brand consideration. Cheers to that.
HAS WORKED WITH: CDW, Community Coffee, Continental/General Tire, Cox Communications, GSD&M (U.S. Air Force) WEBSITE: nextmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Henry Rischitelli, email@example.com
Privately owned NEXT/NOW has transported consumers to the future, to virtual racetrack pits and to peaceful bioluminescent forests. Its projection-mapped walls, floors, tables, sculptures, buildings and vehicles have immersed users in new worlds. With a toolbox brimming with VR and AR, gesture, LED, holograms, facial tracking, multi-touch screens and other tech, this Chicago agency truly dials up the wow factor. Teams work in a number of verticals, including automotive, tech, health, entertainment, retail, events and trade shows. Created a VR trade show experience for Progressive Insurance as the centerpiece of its title sponsorship of the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association 2018 Boat Shows. A boat racing game using Oculus Rift goggles let users “use” a steering wheel and throttle while advanced sensors mapped and digitized users hands. Some 20,000 users got behind the wheel.
This global agency creates so much fun for sports fans it should be illegal. SportsPro named it the “Go-to FIFA World Cup” sponsorship agency for its work on behalf of Budweiser, Alfa Bank, Gazprom, Hublot and Kia Motors. Introduced Clickable Media Group, a digital, socially driven marketplace that creates content with interactive user experiences. The first series, Click My Closet, enables consumers to purchase products across digital and social platforms while they watch celebrities and their stylists choose looks for upcoming events. This year took home a trunk full of awards, including a PRO Award for its #ArnieWould campaign for Mastercard. Hired its first vp of inclusive diversity, Mandisa Diggs, and added Kenny Rennard as executive creative director for Octagon Marketing and Events, North America. Also expanding into a global events and hospitality division led by Matthieu Fenaert based in Japan.
HAS WORKED WITH: AB InBev, Bank of America, BMW of North America, Delta Air Lines, Mastercard WEBSITE: octagon.com RFP CONTACT: Lou Kovacs, firstname.lastname@example.org
After making its mark in action sports and music, OBE has stayed true to its DNA, although B2B is growing, and growing fast, with press events and product launches for technology and gaming clients. A massive launch for Activision Destiny 2, held in two airplane hangars for 1,000-plus guests, created equally massive social buzz and won a 2018 EX Award for best press event. Also worked with Facebook on their Community Boost program to provide training for small businesses in 30 markets. A new in-house team dedicated to tech clients also offers IT services such as data security. International business is up, too, with work for JPMorgan Chase’s Corporate Challenge and Uber experiences everywhere from Frankfurt to Sydney and beyond. And its newly expanded San Francisco offices? Awesome.
On an expansion spree with its eyes on one thing—becoming the Big Dog. Acquired MAS Event + Design in New York. Then purchased Level 2 Design, which has created award-winning experiences for Amazon Web Services, Google, NetApp, Prudential and more. A new partnership with Cvent gives it access to one of the industry’s most comprehensive event tech providers, and with MAS under its belt, well on its way to becoming creative force and logistical powerhouse. Add to that the event know-how of CRG events, which joined the fold in March, and you’ve got, for the third straight year, one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. And at 170-plus staffers strong, it’s well positioned to create events around the globe, from Dubai to Bermuda to Silicon Valley.
HAS WORKED WITH: Amazon Web Services, AnitaB.org, Dell Technologies, Microsoft, Salesforce WEBSITE: opusagency.com RFP CONTACT: Kristin Waters, email@example.com
One of the OGs of digital marketing (founded in 1993) lives by the mantra: “We don’t do digital.” Part of the newly formed Omnicom Precision Marketing Group, this self-described Interaction Agency recently scored Ford’s omnichannel creative business as part of a pitch team that included BBDO and TLGG. Inspiring work already in the portfolio: a fully-functional e-commerce platform for Kohler that’s as sleek to use as the brand’s products themselves. The disruptive and smart U by Kotex campaign, which gave a taboo topic (yep, we’re talkin’ periods, folks) a much-needed straight-talk-style makeover. And the totally modern Quaker Oats work that paired Amazon Alexa technology with its tasty breakfast recipes. Core capabilities here span content marketing, campaign development, web and mobile experiences, social and digital campaigns and more.
HAS WORKED WITH: AT&T, Kohler, Kotex, Poise, Quaker, Wells Fargo WEBSITE: organic.com
RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for marketing diversity? Padilla’s offerings span the Joe Smith branding consultancy, the food and nutrition expertise of FoodMinds and the data insight of SMS Research Advisors. The Minneapolis agency is a founding member of the Worldcom Public Relations Group, comprised of 132 independently owned partner offices in 115 cities on six continents. Coinciding with an acquisition by Avenir Global, Matt Kucharski was promoted to president and Lynn Casey to chair. The 71st Annual Virginia PR Awards was a night to celebrate—12 trophies came home, including Best in Show honors. Culture Ambassadors organize activities that suit the vibe of each office—you might see a recipe tasting in New York, a fundraising bike ride in Minneapolis or a scavenger hunt in Richmond.
Fortifying its niche specialty in automotive, PMG added two new automotive clients— HP Tuners and Yanfeng Automotive Interiors—through word-of-mouth referrals from existing clients. For Yanfeng, PMG is finalizing the build of two new double slide-out Featherlite trailers for a 2019 mobile tour that features custom cabinetry and a massive screen and projection system powered by three projectors. But it’s not all about the cars, here. The agency also deployed VR tech on a 70-inch monitor for a medical client to immerse attendees in a true lab scenario. A new woodworking facility and another carpenter will help expand its in-house services. You’ll only find a “religious devotion” to the Indianapolis Colts here.
HAS WORKED WITH: Jack Morton Worldwide/General Motors, Medtronic Spinal Biologics, Nitto Tire, Roche Diagnostics, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors WEBSITE: pmginc.com RFP CONTACT: Bill Bissmeyer, email@example.com
This Fort Worth, TX-based agency is on a tear, expanding its HQ five times in eight years and opening four new offices, including an outpost in London. It’s mantra “Digital Made for Humans” is the backbone of its practice, as is its ethical targeting methodology because, as they say, “just because something is possible doesn’t make it necessary.” PMG retains 90 percent of its clients and can boast that 43 percent of its senior leadership is comprised of women—nice stats! The shop recently launched a dedicated research group called the PMG Voice Lab, and formalized an Amazon Marketplace Management practice. One gem from the portfolio: a launch campaign for the new Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones that enlisted 100 of the biggest names and entertainers in music, sports and culture to answer the question, “What’s a mantra that helps you stay above the noise?”—and then turned their answers into custom pairs of Studio3 headphones they could share with the world. And share they did.
HAS WORKED WITH: Apple, Cirque du Soleil, Gap, OpenTable, Sephora WEBSITE: pmg.com RFP CONTACT: Parks Blackwell, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you make it, they’ll help you market it. Industrial, building products and food manufacturing are among the strengths of this Cleveland-based full-service digital agency. Recent campaigns include an omnichannel initiative to help new client Aprilaire launch an air quality product, and a multichannel effort including video, digital elements and trade show support for the debut of a 3D printing resins product for Loctite. In 2018, the shop welcomed new hires Ryan Schneider—a Miami University grad—as an account coordinator, and Ken Holmes—an eight-year Air Force veteran—as senior director of interactions. Here’s a novel way to showcase building products expertise: seasonal décor included a ladder decked out as a Christmas tree. Festive and functional!
HAS WORKED WITH: Aprilaire, The Henkel Corp., Parker Hannifin, Pella Corporation, Sherwin-Williams WEBSITE: pointtopoint.com RFP CONTACT: Amie Weizer, email@example.com
An indie grounded in some of the highest profile, most impactful incentive-based marketing programs around, including McDonald’s Monopoly and T-Mobile Tuesdays. Its tech platform powered three Gold and two Silver PRO Award winning campaigns in 2018. Ryan LaMirand was hired as president and COO and Matthew Kates arrived after 11 years at HelloWorld to take the CMO post. When Coors Light faced the challenge of modernizing the brand to appeal to a new 21+ audience, while also maximizing sales among core consumers, PrizeLogic stepped in to launch the Coors Light XP loyalty app. From on-pack code entry to drive to retail purchase, to location based activations such as neighborhood bar trivia challenges, to gamification elements like progressive reward tiers, the app offered a variety of mechanisms to keep users
interacting with the brand.
HAS WORKED WITH: Capital One, MillerCoors, PepsiCo, Samsung, T-Mobile WEBSITE: prizelogic.com RFP CONTACT: Matthew Kates, firstname.lastname@example.org
This marketing team sees social media as a tool, a microphone, a round table—anything but magic. Using market research to keep up with trends, Project Bionic is focused on the long game and the consistent churn of quality content. Comprised of creative writers, graphic designers, market analysts, branding specialists and community managers with years of experience in the trenches, the business performs all things social for its clients, from creation to analytics to planning to strategy—and finally auditing. In a word, comprehensive. Staffers see themselves as client team members and promise the full package, because success comes from a sound strategy combined with day-to-day heavy lifting. Other services include consulting, social media event management, promotions and contests, and advertising campaign management. In terms of process, most team members work with every single client, creating emotional investment across the board.
HAS WORKED WITH: Taco Time, Aegis Living, MidAmerican Energy, Zeeks Pizza, Chef’n, Nalgene WEBSITE: projectbionic.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
These heavy hitters pump out a non-stop suite of activations like the Walking Taco Tour at Walmart, a sampling event that pulled into the parking lots of 125 stores with unlimited taco deliciousness. Some 50,000 visitors chowed down on the initial run while recipe cards showed them how to make the Walking Tacos at home. Then there’s the Doritos Loaded (cheese sticks) Tour that gave out free samples at various 7-Eleven stores, also known as the magical mystery tour since 7-Eleven kept the sampling locations under wraps. The agency hired Glenn Geller from Moroch Partners as director of planning and insights spanning a number of departments including consumer insights, creative strategy and research. Also brought in Steve Beckham to head up a newly created role as senior strategic advisor, agency commercialization and development. Previously he had worked for Crossmark as vp, general manager.
HAS WORKED WITH: Dean Foods, Frito-Lay North America, Heineken, Interstate Batteries, PepsiCo WEBSITE: propac.agency RFP CONTACT: Chase Daigle, firstname.lastname@example.org
This global agency is all about fresh thinking, actionable strategies and beautiful design. Three areas define its growth strategy for clients: Brand and experience, digital transformation and growth acceleration. A new visual identity—dynamic logotype—was created for The Wharton Center at Michigan State University to define brand purpose and bring value to citizens. Reframed Equality California’s mission for the state’s LGBTQ community and others by developing a five-year plan that included a new brand identity, tagline, messaging and mission statement drawing 27,000 new members since the launch. The agency’s Prophet Brand Relevance Index helps companies measure brand relevance and understand how they can grow their brands. Vice Chairman David Aaker penned the book, “Creating Signature Stories.”
HAS WORKED WITH: Abbott, Embarc Collective, Globe Cast, Maserati, Sofrecom, WEBSITE: prophet.com RFP CONTACT: Catherine Strotmeyer, email@example.com
With most of its team members coming from a theater background, Proscenium has a leg up when it comes amping up the “wow” factor. Take the HEINEKEN National Distributor Conference, which snagged a 2018 EX Award for Best Production of an Event (B2B). With its “room within a room” concept, three-sided audience seating arrangement, an LED floor for speakers and presentation graphics that transported guests to a boxing ring, an orchard and even a futuristic steam punk environment, this shop knows how to leverage the latest AV to create a “wow” and an emotional ride that cuts through the clutter. Then there was the seven-city #UNSTOPPABLE Tour for T-Mobile with live iPad interface demos and the illusion that the presenter was in its new flagship retail store. With new directors for design and business development, and an expanded New York City office, Proscenium is pretty unstoppable, too.
One of the industry’s lions, R/GA’s nearly 40-year history proves that with the right vision and leadership, an agency can simultaneously stay true to its creative roots while still evolving, not only keeping pace, but setting the pace for the industry. Big news as of the publication of this list: Sean Lyons, the company’s U.S. President, will assume the role of Global CEO, marking the first time the CEO role will be filled by someone other than the company’s founder. More than 2,000 employees in 18 countries representing over 20 nationalities do the great work here. A few examples: A recent Samsung video series for its S9 phone helped reposition the brand as a tool for creativity by pairing a pro photographer with an amateur for short film tutorials and adventures (all captured and shared, naturally). Wondering how to sell Air Jordans to a new generation that never saw his highness play? R/GA launched the world’s first shoppable augmented reality experience, turning Air Jordan into a Snapchat-based “A/R Jordan,” selling out the sneakers in 23 minutes and smashing Snapchat’s stats. Here’s to 40 more, R/GA.
HAS WORKED WITH: Google, Jet, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Nike, Unilever WEBSITE: rga.com
RFP CONTACT: Dave Edwards, firstname.lastname@example.org
This indie agency has an unyielding passion for customer loyalty and CRM. Combine that with its expertise in technology and analytics and you have the perfect brew to push noteworthy work for Fortune 1000 brands like American Express, Nike, Citigroup and others. rDialogue tapped its new proprietary model for predicting what customers value to launch a new loyalty program for the 200-year-old Brooks Brothers to better connect with customers beyond those holding its credit cards. “My Brooks Rewards” integrates with cardholders, but also allows all customers to earn rewards. For Mandarin Oriental it took a different approach, launching a non-transactional loyalty program to better recognize and serve guests without a points-based system. Also helped clients like Activision, Allergan and sweetgreen improve customer marketing. Matt Garrett promoted to chief operating officer from evp strategy and implementation
HAS WORKED WITH: Allergan, Boehringer Ingelheim, Brooks Brothers, Comcast Business, Tractor Supply Co. WEBSITE:rdialogue.com RFP CONTACT: Phil Rubin, email@example.com
Can we talk about the award-winning Under Armour Drone Drop that delivered 30 exclusive pairs of Curry4 shoes via drones to different locations around the Bay Area? How about the custom, interactive drone-tracking map that sent fans scurrying to find the hidden Drop Zones? Or what about the Steph IQ, the world’s first custom-built, real-time mobile trivia game tied directly to the in-game performance of Stephen Curry (also for Under Armour). Indeed, this Endeavor network agency is quickly carving out a niche for itself as a major player in the “phygital” realm, where technology and live experiences come together to create the ultimate engagement. Core offerings here include: Brand Strategy, Audience Definition, Brand Research & Analysis, Brand Positioning & Language and Visual Identity Creation.
HAS WORKED WITH: AMC, Anheuser Busch, ESPN, Under Armour WEBSITE: wearered.com
RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fast Company named this mover and shaker one of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2018,” referring to it as “a cult brand whisperer.” Based in Brooklyn, it takes on brand strategy and identity, digital and industrial design, marketing and activation and content production. It is has launched hundreds of businesses with noteworthy strategies and solid, impactful creative and design and we love how it dreams up distinct names that stick, and set businesses up for success. In its impressive portfolio is a rebrand for Foursquare, Zagat, Boxed and Birchbox, and launches for Bowery produce, Otherland, Keeps, MissionU and Cabins, among others.
HAS WORKED WITH: Allbirds, Birchbox, Brandless, Casper, Rent the Runway WEBSITE: redantler.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
Here’s a sign of good health: in 2018 this shop was named an Agency to Watch by MM&M (Medical Marketing & Media), and took home two Healthcare Advertising Awards. B2B buying cycles are a key driver for Red House’s client recommendations. Creating a research-based strategy helped cloud-based solution provider MedeAnalytics connect with c-suite decision makers with relevant messaging. Lead gen efforts included cross-promoted content and direct marketing to support events, leading to bookings more than doubling the prior year’s results. Team members get their favorite dessert on their “workaversary” and the chance to spin a prize wheel to win goodies like cash, gift cards, wine, free lunches, car washes or paid time off.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bayer, Cognizant, Elsevier, Mayo Clinic, McKesson WEBSITE: redhouseb2b.com RFP CONTACT: Steve Reeves, firstname.lastname@example.org
With expertise in a cross-section of brands and industries, including wine and spirits, and now, esports, RedPeg has launched video games, created team-brand sponsorships and started an open gaming tournament on behalf of GEICO. 2018 was a transformational year with new hires Fredda Hurwitz as chief strategy and marketing officer and John Millward as chief innovation officer, along with a new office in Dubai and a company rebrand. Other firsts include launching a branded Coppola film at Sundance, creating a custom algorithm to predict Accenture’s dining guests’ favorite flavors and launching new GameOn technology with Amazon at PAX East. Gamers loved the physical loot box that dispensed winnings every hour, and the epic dance party. Amazon loved the 1.2 million online impressions. Hey, who wouldn’t!
HAS WORKED WITH: Amazon, DISH Network, GEICO, Jagermeister, TD Bank WEBSITE: redpeg.com RFP CONTACT: Adam Cohen, email@example.com
Eyes here are on what moves the needle. A Johnson Direct company, Responsory is an ROI-focused multichannel agency, with offices in the metro Milwaukee area. Business is booming—in 2018, Renaissance Dental doubled its annual marketing spend with the shop and Hikma Pharmaceuticals looked here for the launch of two new drug websites and products. A prospect/customer journey mapping process was formalized, to help chart acquisition and retention paths. And spread the word: An ePR—Electronic Public Relations—initiative is enabling clients to create meaningful dialogues with key media contacts. New senior interactive designer Chris Chuzles is a former web design instructor at Waukesha County Tech College and sings lead in a band. Rock on.
HAS WORKED WITH: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas, EyeMed Vision Care, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Kleen Test Products Corp., Transworld Systems WEBSITE: responsory.com RFP CONTACT: Grant Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Continues to impress us with its high-impact, high-energy campaign work. Take the Nickelodeon “Double Dare” obstacle course and live show it whipped up at Clusterfest, or the little bit of London charm it staged in the U.S. for Tottenham Hotspur’s ICC games, including a themed double-decker bus, London phone booths, soccer billiards and Spurs legends meets and greets. Even Chirpy the Mascot burst onto the scene. The activation of the Touchdown Dance and Rose Room experiences at the Rose Bowl and CFP National Championships for Northwestern Mutual resulted in thousands of in-person and social media impressions. Grew the team this year with the addition of Chris Sonntag managing director, global sponsorship consulting. Named one of the fastest growing private companies in America on the INC. 500/5000 list for eight of the past nine years. And if you’re ever in Chicago, pop in to the lobby to find Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipald’s racecar parked there.
No, it’s not a law firm, but a re-branded version of Fluent, which a year ago assumed the new name and an expanded focus as the “Ideas and Access” agency for next-gen consumers. Along with the re-brand comes a wider reach beyond its original target of college kids to include 14-year-olds on up to 30-somethings. New partnerships with the National Association of Campus Activities and other groups give it a boost when it comes to on-campus engagements. That, plus an in-house database of more than 100,000 students and a big new office that also houses sister company Accorin, a full-service digital agency, rates an A+ in our book. (Fun fact: R&B new hires receive a custom bobble head of themselves for their desks. We want one, Darren!)
HAS WORKED WITH: Amazon, HBO, Microsoft, Nestle, Vera Bradley WEBSITE: riddleandbloom.com RFP CONTACT: Darren Ross, email@example.com
This hip New York City-based creative agency creates strategy, design and production with a specialty in brand identities, campaigns, social strategy and content creation, commercials, websites, apps, environments and more. The namesake owners, Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh, have worked for superstars like The Rolling Stones and Jay-Z, as well as huge brands, including The Guggenheim Museum and The New York Times. Sagmeister’s exhibitions have been mounted across the globe and Walsh’s work has won most major design awards. Her book, “40 Days of Dating” is being turned into a movie. A retrospective of the agency’s work was featured at the Design Museum Holon in Tel Aviv.
HAS WORKED WITH: Aizone, Baboon, Levi’s, MeetUp, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum WEBSITE: sagmeisterwalsh.com
RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
A clear pacesetter among digital marketing agencies, but don’t take our word for it. This 25-year-old trailblazer was named a Leader in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Global Digital Marketing Agencies. Part of the Publicis.Sapient platform with offices in 49 cities on five continents, few agencies have the reach, expertise or bench these guys do. Look no further than the award-winning work for long-time client Carnival Cruise Line, which has led the modernization of the travel category with its data-driven, customer-centric experiences. We were also inspired by the beautiful and compelling “Save the Food” program for the NRDC—seriously, you’ll weep. For a strawberry. Maybe it’s the inspired workplace helping to churn out all the great work: SR has been ranked a Best Company for Working Mothers and a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.
HAS WORKED WITH: Audi, Bosch, Carnival Cruise Line, Dove, Marks & Spencer, Miami Heat, Spotify WEBSITE: sapientrazorfish.com
RFP CONTACT: sapientrazorfish.com/contact
What is School of Thought really thinking about? Like all good modern marketers, accountability. “In the grand scheme of things, marketing is not a risk” is one of their mantras, and they’re champions of clients and agencies creating an environment of trust. In just two short weeks, a campaign featuring billboards and mobile ads was created to position Bridge Bank as the Entrepreneur’s Bank (“When the tough get going, the tough get funding” was one of the taglines.) Did it work? VCs were jumping from rival banks and the San Francisco shop was awarded agency of record status. Woof! Partner Tom Geary’s dog Stella is the avatar you’ll see on the website’s Q&A screen.
HAS WORKED WITH: Airbnb, Bridge Bank, Milliman, Montage Health, Visit Oakland WEBSITE: schoolofthought.com RFP CONTACT: Tom Geary, email@example.com
Re-introduced Burger King’s “King” icon in buzz-worthy fashion at the “Fight of the Century” between Mayweather and Pacquiao and at the Belmont Stakes. Capitalized on the popularity of esports to consult for clients like Geico, Jack in the Box, Disney, Sprint and Buffalo Wild Wings on the overall landscape and entry points. When Constellation Wines looked to promote its growing Ravage red wines to younger males the agency conducted research that led to an unconventional pairing: barbeque. The ensuing partnership with Weber Grills kicked off a summer-long mobile tour supported by POS displays, a sweepstakes and an incentive program for Constellation wine distributors. Staffers let loose each year at the annual Taco’s & Tequila dinner at evp and partner Michael Neuman’s home.
HAS WORKED WITH: Buffalo Wild Wings, Burger King, Constellation Brands, Geico, United Rentals WEBSITE: scoutse.com RFP CONTACT: Michael Neuman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hustle and heart drive this agency’s human-centric content approach to telling brand stories that sing on social and digital channels. Crafting delicious content was the way forward for David’s Famous to feed its custard fans. Powerful social campaigns, audience development, photography and graphic design helped attract and delight a growing fan base in target regions. When Goodwill of the Heartland wanted to energize its social presence, Sculpt stepped in using multiple social channels to spread a variety of messages relevant to each audience. Based in Iowa City, the team made the bold move to build and grow local member-owned real estate company Urban Acres. A library of useful, snackable visuals was created for members to use on their owned pages. Social presences were established to reveal member’s identities, share the news, and go “live” with branded avatars. All told, the campaign drew a very enthusiastic community.
HAS WORKED WITH: David’s Famous, Goodwill, Hy-Vee Newton, Iowa Chop House, MetaCommunications WEBSITE: wearesculpt.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
“Stories you can step inside of”— that’s this New York City-based shop’s mantra. Take these examples: Took genetics mainstream for Sanford Imagenetics with a captivating immersive installation that included a hanging light sculpture, floor displays and responsive technology. Transformed travel on the high seas for Holland America Line with an interactive space for guests to customize time on shore or while cruising. Reimagined what a modern museum gallery could be for SFMOMA by seamlessly blending the café and art gallery with the digital and physical. Among a number of awards, the team earned a 2018 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight for its work for Georgia Power.
HAS WORKED WITH: Coca-Cola, Nutella, Porsche, Publicis Sapient, Whole Foods Market WEBSITE: secondstory.com RFP CONTACT: Rob Mammone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dedicated to B2B for more than 30 years, the concept that demand gen needs to work side by side with branding is a north star for Slack and Co. New client relationships in 2018 include accounting and consulting firm Crowe; Bangkok-based materials manufacturer Indorama Ventures; business equipment and electronics titans Lenovo and LG; and private equity firm CORE Industrial Partners. Chairman Gary Slack—named to Crain’s Who’s Who in Chicago 11 years running—is a founder of the new professional development organization b2b|Chicago. Many “Slackers” boast certifications with leading platforms including Salesforce, Pardot, Marketo, Eloqua and Hubspot CRM. The Shortest Distance Blogs are where team members share B2B insights.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bemis Packaging, Choice Hotels, Indorama Ventures, Society of Actuaries WEBSITE: slackandcompany.com RFP CONTACT: Gary Slack, email@example.com
As its name implies, this social-first agency was founded on a passion for helping businesses find success by distilling their online messaging into pure, relevant marketing with impact. Take its work to boost sales at 71 Texas Dairy Queens. A mix of “pay to play,” nostalgic GIFs and graphics to take loyal customers down memory lane and humorous motion graphics to grab millennials’ attention delivered 68,000 engagements. Based in Austin, this team also gets high marks from local brands. When Twisted X beer rebranded as Hill Country Crafted, the team mined social data to map a cohesive look and feel, including social skins, website designs, digital banners and ad templates. Mixed in were photo sessions with local influencers and live social tasting displays to meet the goal of resonating with—and educating—a new audience. Cheers!
HAS WORKED WITH: Chuy’s, Dairy Queen, Facebook, JW Marriott, Playboy Fragrances WEBSITE: socialdistillery.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-founders Courtney Spritzerna and Stephanie Abrams Cartin launched this social-first agency, fluent in hashtags, filters and memes, in 2011. Since then, brands ranging from 20th Century Fox to The Sleep Styler hair straightener and curler have called on SocialFly to generate big buzz for their brands. The team parlays an analytical approach to conceptualize and execute dynamic campaigns designed to elevate social presence and ignite audiences. When Il Makiage sought to reach beauty enthusiasts prior to its official launch date in the U.S., two beauty macro influencers were engaged to host large-scale giveaways for their Instagram followers, encouraging them to follow the beauty brand and tag their friends. Over seven days, the brand gained 14,000 new followers. These movers and shakers landed on the 2018 Inc.5000 list.
HAS WORKED WITH: Huntington Learning Center, Maxim, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Premio, Vera Bradley WEBSITE: socialflyny.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
Work from this team of social butterflies spans social strategy, content production, community management, paid social advertising and influencer marketing. Based in Birmingham, AL, the mantra here is ideas + execution = connection, with the understanding that that the reward for creating something truly original doesn’t come without the risks of trying something new. When Dick’s Sporting Goods sought unique ways to present shoe releases the team created photo manipulations, gifs and a 360 graphic in a campaign unlike any shoe release Dick’s had previously done. To get SGK Landscaping’s message into the digital space, beautiful interactive visuals presented through Facebook canvas ads showed off a collection of the brand’s work and ignited the conversation with consumers. More than 5,000 engagements helped garner a 955 percent increase in fans.
HAS WORKED WITH: Dick’s Sporting Goods, NAACP, SGK Landscaping, SNAP Fitness, TGI Fridays WEBSITE: sociallyin.com RFP CONTACT: Anna Weissinger, firstname.lastname@example.org
A love of creativity and dedication to excellence inspired Jeff Boedges and Rick Kiley to found SoHo, which churns out one great experience after another, thanks to their industry experience, razor-sharp instincts and hyper cultural awareness. Raise The Macallan, with more than 100 events in over a dozen cities, has established the brand as global leader in scotch whisky. But SoHo also added trade shows, CRM programs and an influencer initiative to its portfolio for a range of clients beyond wine and spirits. For Citi, a “JOYTM” offered a surprise twist to the typical ATM with a massive ball pit and prizes. And the Monsieur Big pop-up at the Ulta Beauty General Managers Conference, with its smart mirror, big-lash challenge and makeovers? That was a beaut!
HAS WORKED WITH: Barilla, Citibank, L’Oréal, Proximo Spirits, Rémy Cointreau USA WEBSITE: sohoexp.com RFP CONTACT: Jeff A. Boedges, email@example.com
Chicago-based digital marketing agency SoMe is a family-centric organization that strives to serve as a collaborative and strategic business partner for its clients. Offers sophisticated search engine marketing, social media management, content marketing strategy and development, paid media campaigns, digital analytics and website design and development. Focuses on locating a company’s ideal customer through a lead gen and market intelligence approach. Client feedback notes that SoMe takes the time upfront to learn about a company’s business, challenges and goals to ensure mutually aligned growth strategies. Proven success with targeting and building b-to-b and b-to-c market communities through SEO, social media targeting, website redesign, landing page optimization, email marketing and advanced Google analytics. Specializes in building online awareness for a brand using an organic approach.
HAS WORKED WITH: Apollo Education Group, Byram Healthcare, Vantaggio HR, Gildan, Howl at the Moon, Cuverro WEBSITE: someconnect.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fasten your seatbelts. This one keeps riding high with big client wins, bigger experiences and a shelf sagging under the weight of industry awards. With 10 offices around the globe, a staff of more than 450 executing 2,500 events each year, Sparks is well positioned to deliver, whether that means a 500-show trade show program, a global multi-day conference for 25,000, a single day brand activation or a small VIP event. Oh, and all strategy, creative, fabrication, technology, production and execution takes place under one roof. It handled creative and production for Google’s playful Hey. Google takeover of Las Vegas during last year’s CES, and its launch of Marie Claire’s The Next Big Thing Concept Shop brought the magazine to life in high-tech pop-up style.
HAS WORKED WITH: Anheuser-Busch InBev, eBay, Google, LEGO, Peloton WEBSITE: wearesparks.com RFP CONTACT: Kristy Elisano, email@example.com
Don’t come here looking for branding. B2B demand gen is the laser focus of this 10-year-old Walnut Creek, CA, agency, which saw 108 billings increase 30 percent YOY. New tech partnerships include DiscoverOrg for predictive data to help fuel ABM and sales enablement efforts, and Unbounce to help build and test landing pages. Gina Miller brings more than 25 years of experience to her new role as VP of client services, and Ben Stephenson made the leap from Ellie Mae to join the shop as creative director. A Google Primer nurture program was so successful it is rolling out globally in multiple languages, including Telugu, Spanish, Portuguese and Hindu. Sports pools for the World Cup, March Madness and the NFL are popular (and hotly contested) here.
HAS WORKED WITH: GoGo Internet, Google, Magnitude Software, Plex Systems, SAP Concur
WEBSITE: spearmarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Howard J. Sewell, firstname.lastname@example.org
A merger with nFusion gave this shop increased demand generation capabilities to offer clients a full-service approach to digital transformation. NFusion’s John Ellett is the new CEO, while Firesnap co-founder Dustin Hall joined the team as VP of digital experiences. Austin Business Journal named Springbox as one of its top Austin-area website developers. And two paws up for the new website for pet food maker Nulo; A revamped online presence boosted traffic by 152 percent, and referral traffic rose 10 percent with minimal SEO effort. When it’s time to give back, they’re not clowning around here—volunteer efforts include getting up early to cook breakfast for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas.
HAS WORKED WITH: Nulo, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Q2, Tylers, University of Texas at Austin WEBSITE: springbox.com RFP CONTACT: Dustin Hall, email@example.com
Halfway into its second decade, this Nashville-based boutique agency was founded by two designers that believed that thoughtful, exceptional design can set brands apart—or “make them handsome.” Among its many talents are brand strategy, package design, digital and physical marketing campaigns, environment design, merchandise design, web design and animation and motion design among other services. Its diverse roster of worldwide clients spans hospitality, entertainment, spirits, master planned communities, education, tech, professional services and CPG. It took two Gold Addys for its work for Union Station and superstar Taylor Swift. Art director Joshua Sage Newman received the AAF Nashville Art Director of the Year award.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bonnaroo, CMA Music Festival, National Geographic Channel, Toyota, Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour WEBSITE: st8mnt.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Busting event tech boundaries is a calling card for Starshot, which deploys live social walls, in-event streaming, custom event apps and other tools to create engaging experiences for high tech clients like HP. The agency made a major push into esports and gaming this year, leading the HP OMEN sponsorship of Canadian pro gamer Stephanie Harvey, aka “Miss Harvey.” Over 250 demand gen programs were executed with software and hardware channel partners in North America last year. Headquartered in Toronto, team members strive to hit client satisfaction survey benchmarks. When the mission is accomplished, everyone wins: The entire agency is whisked away to full-day VIP experiences like dining, concerts or sporting events.
HAS WORKED WITH: Facebook, Freshbooks, HP Inc., Intel, Microsoft WEBSITE: starshot.com RFP CONTACT: Brad Friesen, email@example.com
Welcome to a post-modern B2B agency. The focus here is on connecting brand to demand to measurable results. The shop—with offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Manchester, Paris and Shanghai—was the 2018 ANA Business Marketing Agency of the Year, an honor it has nabbed for seven of the past nine years. Big wins and account growth was a theme this year, with new work for Boeing, Oracle, HSBC, Tetra Pak, UL and Marshalls. Adding to its global reach, an alliance was formed with Johannesburg-based Demographicia, Africa’s first B2B specialist agency. New content/experience lab MADE By Stein IAS helps clients focus on emerging technologies to drive engagement. In Boston, chairman/chief client officer Tom Stein was a featured speaker at B2B Connect to Convert.
HAS WORKED WITH: ABB, ETS, HSBC, Oracle, UL WEBSITE: steinias.com RFP CONTACT: Craig Duxbury, firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking good: EXPRESS chose this shop to help it develop a B2B sales channel for its corporate apparel collection. Revised messaging, content, target market profiles, a customized dashboard and digital services are part of the integrated plan. Longtime experts in the technology and industrial spaces, the Central Ohio-based shop introduced Strikeforce, a demand gen-as-a-service offering last year, creating new opportunities in key accounts. A telemarketing team gives the agency—a preferred vendor for Cisco marketing content in North America—a leg up in lead gen. Three office dogs wag away stress and offer steadfast support. An annual Boat Day takes the team on a campout and then on the water for powerboating.
The agency that has brought us some of the world’s most loved live experiences, continues to amaze with new properties and partnerships across an array of categories. (Been to Bonnaroo or Outside Lands? You’ll understand why we just said that.) In June, it rang in the second year for Clusterfest, its festival partnership with Comedy Central, and in September launched Grandoozy, Superfly’s inaugural Denver fest, with headliner Stevie Wonder and other musical talent, local brews, cuisine and lifestyle experiences. On a different note, it remains Citi’s Social AOR for global entertainment, executed “The Deep End” experience for Vox Media at SXSW 2018 and activated artists and influencers for a series of Dropbox festival campaigns to celebrate #CreativeEnergy, which Superfly itself has in spades.
HAS WORKED WITH: Citi, Dropbox, Intel, Oath, Vox WEBSITE: superf.ly RFP CONTACT: Rich Goodstone, email@example.com
We love this certified woman-owned agency with a specialty in popping sweeps and contests for some of the biggest brands in the biz. Case in point: New client Abercrombie and Fitch wanted to promote its partnership with the Made in America Music Festival. Over three weeks, contest entrants uploaded photos showing off their “weekend style” for a chance at a trip to the festival with 10 friends, including a fully stocked Airbnb, a $500 A&F gift card and a Visa gift card. An added bonus was the geyser of user-generated content A&F now has in its back pocket. Also launched a partnership with Megaphone TV to offer affiliates the opportunity to add prizing and giveaways to their interactive quizzes and polls through the Megaphone TV app.
HAS WORKED WITH: Abercrombie & Fitch, AEO Management, CBI Distributing, Euromarket Designs, Rational Interaction WEBSITE: syncmarketing.net RFP CONTACT: Jennifer French, firstname.lastname@example.org
After more than 25 years, this agency has done it all. From its start of bringing grassroots
tennis experiences to the streets of New York City, to the 15 Guinness World Records, to conducting mobile tours in hundreds of markets per year, to activating around some of the world’s largest events, like Super Bowls, Olympic Games and Final Fours. Played a significant role in the development and production of the Asbury Park Music + Film Festival, including talent procurement and management, content programming, venue relations, marketing initiatives, sponsorship activation and all logistical operations. Activated for Johnson & Johnson at the Global Citizen Festival
HAS WORKED WITH: Johnson & Johnson, Gannett/Asbury Park Music + Film Festival, WCBS, Weber Shandwick, Olson WEBSITE: synergyexperiential.com RFP CONTACT: Bill Holtz, email@example.com
“Welcome to the Future of Shopping” was the greeting on this shop’s Mastercard House activation, an ambitious statement but one that nicely captures the kind of cutting-edge work this agency is capable of. Inside the pop-up record store TD created for the brand’s GRAMMY sponsorship, customers could use their phones to scan merch they liked, and then pay and pick up their goodies without ever standing in line (average items in each order: five—cha-ching!) With a 20-year track record and a specialization in promotions and sports, this agency has strong data and analytics chops and a drive-to-sale sensibility. More core services include: Strategy & Analytics, Creative, Technology, Legal Compliance, all driven by their “Fanifesto” that says: “We connect people to the things they love, while helping brands reconnect with the people who value them most.”
HAS WORKED WITH: Carnival Cruise Line, Ford, Mastercard, NFL, Soundcloud, Xfinity WEBSITE: teamdigital.com
RFP CONTACT: Gene Tiernan, firstname.lastname@example.org
As the name implies, college marketing is this agency’s expertise. A new budget friendly service, On Campus Nation, focuses on quick-hitting, high impact campaigns. Campus got the word out about the new YouTubeTV offering through educational events at six colleges that included lounge areas, movie nights, food and branded rides; The campaign generated 40,000 direct engagements and 5,200 downloads. The acquisition of Youth Logic brought with it founder and speaker Connor Blakley as the agency’s new CMO—a 19-year-old industry disrupter with his finger of the pulse of Gen Z. If you’re ever in Boston, check out their digs in the famed Faneuil Hall Marketplace—dorm room chic!
HAS WORKED WITH: Adobe, Google, Life is Good, S.C. Johnson, The New York Times WEBSITE: thecampusagency.com RFP CONTACT: Chris Nyland, email@example.com
This is one agency that isn’t afraid to admit what the others don’t—that brands aren’t looking to spend more money on agency fees. That’s why they turn to The Marketing Arm, where one point of contact, SAL (short for Strategic Account Leader), saves costs. This year the happy, scrappy bunch scored four EX Awards, including the Grand EX for State Farm Neighborhood of Good, a cause marketing effort that leveraged music, augmented reality and onsite activations to inspire millennials to volunteer. Additional EX Awards included Best Multicultural Campaign for State Farm’s Color Full Lives celebrating the financial goals of African-American women and Best Pop-Up or Retail Activation for the quirky yet classy cheese- and fun-infused Spotted Cheetah restaurant during NYC Restaurant Week. Flamin’ Hot Mac n’ Cheetos, anyone?
HAS WORKED WITH: AT&T, Frito-Lay, Goodyear, Nissan, State Farm WEBSITE: themarketingarm.com RFP CONTACT: Chris Bristol, firstname.lastname@example.org
The guys and gals at this indie operate with a fierce entrepreneurial spirit and a whole lot of technology know-how. Case in point: Mars leveraged Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit capabilities to develop the “Bottle Genius,” a personalized, voice-powered customer assistant for shoppers right in Bottlerocket’s whiskey aisle. That unique offering—among others—earned the agency the designation of “Preferred Alexa Developer” from Amazon. (Custom-built shelf lights identify the top recommendations.) Named a “cool” place to work by Crain’s, the shop this year amped up its team. Brian Higdon, formerly vp of Format Strategy at 84.51°, was hired to lead the Kroger team. Sharonda Britton was named vp Walmart advisor, formerly senior director of marketing, strategic alliances and member services for Sam’s Club and Jenifer Quenville the agency as svp media solutions from her role as svp at Assembly Media. The agency took its community service to a new level with the African American 490 Challenge to bring justice for sexual assault victims in the Detroit area.
HAS WORKED WITH: Campbell Soup Co., Conagra Brands, Henkel, Lowes, Nestlé Water WEBSITE: themarsagency.com RFP CONTACT: Maureen OHare, email@example.com
The guy who wrote the book on guerrilla marketing for dummies is no dummy when it comes to street marketing and more, whether it’s a publicity stunt in Times Square, a strategic brand partnership or creating an “un-conference” for clients looking to disrupt the usual conference format. Product launches, digital integrations, and national tours are just a few of its capabilities, and it does it all in-house. B2B work has surged, but consumer programs like MTV’s TRL Relaunch, Mtn Dew’s Label Motel at Coachella and Hot Wheels Force Friday are fun and engaging examples of its b-to-c chops. A scavenger hunt around New York City celebrated The Presidents Cup kickoff and generated excitement among fans of the NBC Golf Channel, and the runway photo op at the VH1 booth at RuPaul’s DragCon killed it, baby.
HAS WORKED WITH: Geopath, Microsoft, Northwell Health, Walgreens, Viacom WEBSITE: michael-alan.com RFP CONTACT: Elizabeth Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2012, this creative agency has been shaping the way brands and influencers advertise on Instagram. By handpicking influencers to maximize ROI, it’s no wonder brands like Timex, Stoli Expedia and Puma have signed on as clients. When Timex Expedition wanted to boost followers, six adventure-focused guys with big Instagram audiences “field tested” the Expedition line of watches and spread awareness for the brand’s Instagram account. A total of 17 photos over a two-month campaign added over 2,500 followers. And while this agency can generate big campaign returns, it also operates a network of photographers, an Instagram consulting business and organizes “InstaMeets,” or memorable photography meetups to connect with local audiences.
HAS WORKED WITH: Ann Taylor, Coach, Sony, Stoli, Timex WEBSITE: themobilemedialab.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
FCB Global vet Tony Riley came on board as senior VP last year at this full-service B2B agency, joining other new hires like account director Jennifer Haney-Crowe, formerly with Forecast5 Analytics, and senior copywriter Wendy Calcaterra, of O’Reilly DePalma. Tempur Sealy called on Mx to create an interactive mattress cutaway tool to showcase their products for hospitality buyers—90 percent of sales reps said it helped awaken prospect interest. The Burr Ridge, IL-based shop dialed up the focus on telemarketing in 2018, with updated calling software to improve the capabilities of their in-house call center. The Mx Groupies organize fun events, ranging from beer tastings to beanbag tournaments. Maybe that’s one of the reasons the shop was named to “Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” list in 2017 and 2018.
HAS WORKED WITH: CCG, Cox Automotive, Huron Consulting, Tempur Sealy, US Cellular WEBSITE: themxgroup.com RFP CONTACT: Pete Wroblewski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to chief strategy officer Debbie Qaqish and revenue marketing coach Pamela Muldoon on being named two of the 2018 Top 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. Qaqish is working on her second book, “Rise of the Strategic Marketing Operations Function.” Brian Shaner made the jump from Verizon Enterprise Solutions to join the team as new vp of marketing. The Milton, GA, shop emphasizes strategies that focus on how marketing contributes to companies’ revenue. The firm’s list of 1,500 clients includes 50 of the Fortune 2,000 and 20 of the Fortune 500. Want your RMTV? Tune in to Revenue Marketing Television to catch CEO Jeff Pedowitz as he interviews CMOs and other B2B thought leaders.
HAS WORKED WITH: Advent, Citrix, Commscope, Zoetis WEBSITE: pedowitzgroup.com RFP CONTACT: Scott Benedetti, email@example.com
The team of marketing enthusiasts at this fast-moving boutique agency has strong expertise in music and pop culture, with a unique specialty in creating comedy partnerships. Fun fact: this mover and shaker owns and operates radio station Metal Insider, comedy website The Laugh Button and comedy media network The Laugh Network. The acquisition of digital marketing and creative services company Sneak Attack Media builds out the agency’s marketing department with a digital and social services arm and joins the company’s PR and radio departments. Promotes from within. Case in point: new general manager Graham Rothenberg will oversee strategy for the company’s marketing, radio promotion and publicity, and Amy Tremmel is movin’ on up to senior director of marketing.
HAS WORKED WITH: Adult Swim, HBO, New York Comedy Fest, Taco Bell, truTV WEBSITE: thesyn.com RFP CONTACT: Graham Rothenberg, firstname.lastname@example.org
As the name suggests, this London-based agency creates high-end viral campaigns. But to achieve that coveted viral status, part two of the equation is key: It ensures a brand’s content is shared with the audience that truly matters to the brand. In other words, it’s all about content creation supplemented by seeding it to the right audiences—strategically. The magic happens through a three-stage process: first, research the target audience, brainstorm infectious ideas and then shortlist and perfect them; then, create the content and devise a project timeline; and finally, push the content out to social. That push entails getting influencers to share the content, paid placement on targeted platforms, and YouTube promotion targeted by audience and geographical location. And then monitoring the results, of course. Refers to its team as “Vreaks,” a.k.a. skilled viral freaks, who’ve worked with the likes of Apple, Virgin, Mastercard, Jamie Oliver and others.
HAS WORKED WITH: Ebay, Xbox, Jaguar, UKTV, Durex, Hailo, Alibaba Group WEBSITE: viralagency.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
Take a look at this tasty spread: THP specializes in crafting engaging content for food and beverage brands in North America, Europe and the UK. Video, photography, copywriting, social strategy, community management… it’s all on the menu here. If you’re living in an on-demand world, this is the shop for you. Everything here is created à la carte, as clients need assets, eliminating the need for retainers, minimums or long-term contracts. Those hungry for the culinary cutting edge should check out the shop’s annual Flavor & Trend Forecast. (Like transparency? Clear food is a hot vegan trend!) Clutch again recognized THP as one of the top Canadian advertising and marketing agencies. Pretty good, eh?
HAS WORKED WITH: Chiquita, Heinz, Polar Ice Vodka, St. Jeans, Villaggio WEBSITE: thpcreates.com RFP CONTACT: thpcreates.com/contact-us/
This agency continues to enhance its impressive roster of services. It licensed a gamification platform to launch mobile and online games for clients at top speed—as in, within hours. Promotional products are also one of this CM200’s specialties. Case in point: it manages Humana’s employee “punchout catalog,” peppering it with corporate branded merchandise and rotating in items for special initiatives like Breast Cancer Awareness. For Humana’s 100-Day Dash competition, 17,000 t-shirts and 2,500 achievement medals were handed out. Tic Toc administered LG & Sprint’s Black Friday TV gift-with-purchase offer, including online redemption forms, receipt validation, legal, TV fulfillment and customer care. When the Texas State Fair comes to town, don’t look for staffers in the afternoon. They’re out getting some Kool-Aid Pickle Sangria and Fried Butter.
HAS WORKED WITH: Humana, LG Electronics, Office Depot,Shell, Omni Hotels WEBSITE: tictoc.com RFP CONTACT: Julia Shifflett, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Buy Design” is this CM200 shop’s process that combines analytics, empathy, imagination and design to optimize every campaign, like its work for Dos Equis. With a full naming rights deal with Live Nation, Dos Equis had the unique opportunity to light up the stage at the newly minted “Dos Equis Pavilion” in Dallas with a full roll out of its on-site brand identity, including in-venue signage, digital presence, press materials and the Dos Equis Beer Garden. All summer long, tunes and cold beer were served up, pushing sales through the roof, and boosting local brand awareness. The Marcus Graham Project, a not-for-profit organization established exclusively to advance opportunities for people of color in the advertising and marketing industry, honored TracyLocke, part of Omnicom Group, with its 2018 Change Agency Award. Senior art director Allie Kainz, who joined the agency as an intern straight from Texas Tech, was named one of The Drum’s “50 Under 30” highest achieving women in U.S. creative roles under the age of 30.
HAS WORKED WITH: Heineken, Hewlett-Packard, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, SC Johnson, WEBSITE: tracylocke.com RFP CONTACT: Stephen Miller, stephen.miller@tracylocke
Got a complex technical or industrial B2B brand story you need to bring to life? This 35-year-old agency is up for the challenge. Finding big ideas in the smallest details is the goal here, and they thrive on communicating technical ideas with creativity and personal inflection that speaks to clients’ customer bases. Specialties include brand strategy, content marketing, demand gen, PR, video and animation. New client American Electric Power helped contributed to 14 percent revenue growth in 2018. To connect with the community, the shop is a proud sponsor for Dayton’s Levitt Pavilion, a new downtown free concert venue. It also raises funds for 4 Paws for Ability, a service dog organization. Woof!
2018 brought some impressive new business into the portfolio, including McDonald’s, Medical College of Wisconsin and the Indiana State Fair. For McDonald’s, TSMGI took on the delicate job of redesigning and reenergizing Ronald McDonald’s iconic image as one of the most recognizable characters on the planet. The first job was to centralize the program and book and manage Ronald’s schedule as an accessible celebrity. Add to that a combination of events, branded merchandise, social media content and creative asset development that pushed followers up a whopping 33 percent. A notable event staged for Owens Corning’s 80th Anniversary hosted a private Ryder Cup-style tourney at the famous Inverness Club. Team uniforms were selected and decorated, as were tee markers, pin flags and caddie bibs. TSMGI also coordinated meals and pairing announcements.
HAS WORKED WITH: Abott Laboratories, McDonald’s, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee World Festival, Valvoline WEBSITE: tsmgi.com RFP CONTACT: Tom Crawford, email@example.com
Icelandic designer Halli Thorleifsson founded this shop in 2014 offering design, strategy, branding and technology services for companies like Facebook (working on launches for behind-the-scenes products), Reuters (designed the new news app) and Slack.com (designed the website). On the move since it launched, this shop has doubled revenue year over year, and grew to 50 employees who work from offices in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Reykjavik. Also added an in-house content studio to the mix. Hired David Navarro as executive creative director (NYC), formerly of Stink Studios; Sasha Lubomirsky, design director (SF) from Airbnb; and Aaron Poe as creative director (SF), from Digital at Ammunition. Has a shelf full of design awards including work for Uber, Cowboy Bike, ESPN, ClearMotion and Nova.is. With talent from 10 different nationalities who bring a global and diverse perspective, this truly is an international agency.
HAS WORKED WITH: ESPN, Google, Red Bull, Uber, Visa WEBSITE: ueno.co RFP CONTACT: Karli DeFilippo, firstname.lastname@example.org
The new-biz winning streak continues with the addition of Starbucks Branded Solutions, Therma-Tru, Chamberlain and CA Ventures. Restructured internally, adding key hires to fill capability gaps and promoting Ellen Slauson to general manager and Lisa Hurst to lead client management and strategy. Hired Suzanna Bierswirth as head of creative from The Mars Agency where she was CCO. Gary Curtin, formerly vp, marketing operations at Trisect, to turn the video and studio services into a full-blown content studio. To drive awareness for Wholesome and Surf Sweets candy portfolios this savvy team tapped real kids and adults to really show the joy of tasting candy for the first time. Spread the word via influencer content, social posts, paid search, dynamic digital display ads, coupons and a content partnership. The result was sweet success—December retail sales increased a whopping 92 percent YOY and earned the agency a Silver PRO Award.
Creative director Doug Kessler started his career at Ogilvy & Mather, got bored by the rigidity of working on soap and fabric softener campaigns, and made the jump the wild world of B2B. Managing director Stan Woods boasts a background that leaps from university teaching to military intelligence to tech PR. Offices in London and Manhattan are where these creative minds hang their hats. Read the B2B Blog for wisdom on everything from how to create performance marketing KPIs to the best way to rename a B2B company. And, check out the hashtag #VelocityFriday if you want to end the week with a smile—staffers share the best and worst things they’ve seen around the web.
HAS WORKED WITH: Informatica, Kimberly Clark Professional, LeasePlan, Salesforce, Sprint Business WEBSITE: velocitypartners.com RFP CONTACT: Doug Kessler, email@example.com
Viral Nation is an ROI-driven influencer marketing agency also serving as an influencer talent agency repping top social media talent from all verticals and a 360-degree marketing content house. It’s unique in that it often represents the influencers it’s creating campaigns for. Recent successful campaigns for Angry Birds 2, RED and Apple raised awareness of HIV/AIDS and moved the mobile app up the App Store charts in every category—not to mention garnering a total of 6.5 million interactions. The agency’s creative services include social and digital content, creative and production, community management, paid media and social strategy and consulting. Provides detailed insights and data to clients, allowing campaigns to be tailored and adjusted in real time. Self-professed “data crazy,” and for good reason: The team provides full-service software to streamline the campaign process, examine cross-channel social engagements, give impression data, monitor influencer performance, provide hashtag analysis and more.
HAS WORKED WITH: Bud Light, Apple, Scotiabank, Crayola, Bulk Barn, Favre-Leuba, Tencent WEBSITE: viralnation.com RFP CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2018, this VICE media-owned agency moved under the Virtue Worldwide umbrella, becoming “Virtue: the agency born from VICE.” Their bold new mission: “Rather than try and fix the agency model, we’ve planted a jungle on its grave.” A series of 8.2-second love stories for Park MGM in Las Vegas shot by Academy Award-winning director Michel Gondry leveraged storytelling—and short attention spans—to give the hotelier’s brand a fresh face. Storytelling also took center stage in a series of short documentary-style films used to promote Cazadores tequila. And we gotta give a shout out to the Netflix “Disjointed” program that featured a line of cannabis strains customized to complement each of a dozen Netflix shows. (More intense buds should be enjoyed with a serious drama, naturally.)
HAS WORKED WITH: adidas, Audi, Budweiser, L’Oréal, McDonalds, Netflix, Park MGM WEBSITE: virtueworldwide.com RFP CONTACT: email@example.com
Magnetic says it likes brand experiences that make a splash, engage participants and leaves them feeling like they’ve just seen something amazing. So, the creatives, producers, strategists et al at this NYC-based shop should be pretty happy with themselves. Their Happy-Go-Lucky pop-up for Sunnyhues Entertainment this summer offered up a fun, cheerful environment of eight rooms filled with Instagram-worthy color, aroma, music and treats. Likewise, the sleek pop-up for Blackberry, with a prize wall, GIF booth, celebrity experiences and other surprise-and-delight moments built buzz and brand affinity for its new Key2 device. And we’re still freaking out about those 4,549 bags of sugar in Times Square from last summer, demonstrating on behalf of KIND Snacks the amount of sugar consumed by kids every five minutes. That was one-of-a-kind.
HAS WORKED WITH: Facebook, KIND Snacks, Netflix, Sony, Tastemade WEBSITE: weremagnetic.com RFP CONTACT: Jessica Reznick, firstname.lastname@example.org
This team of strategists, designers, program managers and technologists pump out astonishing work. To give fresh thought to food tech company Grubhub’s role in the world, a fast-paced, nationwide advertising campaign shined a light on the human moments that define eating experiences. ¬The call to action, “Order food you love,” combined with eye-catching creative helped grow revenue by 36 percent. Helped build a launch positioning and identity for Nike Foundation’s Girl Effect, including a set of principles and a clear portfolio to attract investment. A visual identity called “the burst” represents the power of girls and helped move the vision across the globe.
HAS WORKED WITH: British Heart Foundation, Enel, Galeries Lafayette, Modern Fertility, Uber WEBSITE: wolffolins.com RFP CONTACT: Chris Arakelian, email@example.com
Product design, product marketing and analyst-driven research are key niches for this 10-year-old Phoenix agency, which specializes in B2B technology and services. The shop boasted 38 percent growth in the last year—new clients include Commvault, NVIDIA and Nutanix—and snagged three AMA Spectrum Awards, in addition to being named to the 2018 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list. A new monthly newsletter and microsite for Riverbed boosted site traffic by 165 percent, with 162 percent more page views. Listeners to Yeager’s “Top 3 for Tech Marketers” podcast this year heard experts from Everstring, Terminus, Vidyard and more share their personal top three ideas, challenges and interests. All full-time employees get the week between Christmas and New Year’s off with pay. Happy Holidays!
HAS WORKED WITH: Cisco, Dell, NetApp, Riverbed, Veeam WEBSITE: yeagermarketing.com RFP CONTACT: Renee Yeager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Working exclusively with B2B tech companies to understand the technology purchasing lifecycle to grow revenue is the raison d’être here. Seattle Business Magazine recognized the shop as one of Washington State’s 100 Best Places to Work, as Yesler began worldwide expansion with new offices in London and Singapore. New tech partnerships were announced with Demandbase (to bolster account-based marketing services) and Marketo—the bond with the latter affirmed as the shop was named Marketo’s agency partner for digital marketing. New additions to the board include Horwitz Group founder/CEO Karla Horwitz and Flying Fish Partners co-founder/managing partner Heather Redman. Professional development is encouraged here—all employees receive education funds. And, personal growth is key, too: team members volunteer at animal rescue centers and hit the road for bikeathons.