7 Rising East Coast Agencies…one year later

How did they fare?

Last July, I posted a column on seven creative agencies on the rise: LINK. Due to the post’s popularity (it went ridiculously viral), I thought I’d circle back a year later and report on their progress. 

Baldwin&  Raleigh, NC — Five years down the agency road and this one has really hit its stride. They launched Cree LEDUnknown lighting‘s new light bulb last year, and coincidentally the Cree stock doubled in the first month. And new work just launched a few weeks ago:  roomofenlightenment.com. They won the prestigious O’Toole Award for small agency of the year. They doubled in size every year for their first five years. So as a result, they moved into bad ass new space which is their  third space in five years. And recently, they  were featured in a Communication Arts agency profile. But, mikepalma.com scooped them one year ago.

Barton F. Graf 9000  New York, NY —  The 4A’s named BFG9000 it’s “Mid-size Agency of the Year” after this white-hot shop doubled its office space.  The tallies are coming in from Cannes as I write this but rumor has it that Gerry Graf had a tough time clearing security at the Nice airport due to all the hardware in his carry on. Great new work for new clients 350 Action, Axe, Supercell. Great work for old client Little Caesars. The hype from Fast & C0 makes one think they’ve gone from underrated to overrated in the past year. But, the work dispels that notion. It’s a short walk from the outhouse to the Penthouse. This may be the hottest creative shop in the world. But, we knew that last year…

Unknown-1 Silver & Partners  New York, NY — This agency should rename itself “Funny or Die”  based on the CarMax work (including the 2014 Super Bowl spot). But, the brilliant and somber Social campaign for the NYC Rescue Mission shows Another Side of Eric Silver. Here’s the idea: http://silverpartners.com/project/make-them-visible/. No big hype here, just an agency on a mission. I look to them breaking through a la BFG9000 this year.

BRIGHT RED\TBWA   Tallahassee, FL — If you drive southbound on I-75 from Atlanta and go back 20 years, you’ll eventually find Tallahassee. And then once you get to this agency, it’s suddenly the year 2024. They do things differently, particularly in Digital & Social. Led by their development of data analytics and digital tools to match the ability to generate award-winning content, this agency shows Omnicom the way. Data is just data without the people and intelligence to utilize the information. They have added staff to support Bright Red Insights, a measurement and analytics suite. To keep up with the growth (and the speed of need) of video content,  they also built in-house editing capabilities. In the past year, they’ve begun new relationships with Wounded Warrior Project and YOO Hotels in London and Krystal. As far as I know, no industry publication has discovered them yet. That will change.

22squared  Atlanta, GA & Tampa, FL — 22who? This agency completely reinvented itself a few years ago and the returns are astonishing. Their business has grown so much in the past year, adding PGA Superstore, OGX Shampoos and Home Depot  that HR can barely keep up with hiring new staffers. This growth, coupled with brilliant new work for Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings and American Standard has them on the top of their game — everyone knows them for their Publix Americana-styled work, but this is a new regime and an exciting new portfolio. They recruited two creative superstars to the Tampa office. Maybe, after Wieden & Kennedy, the best independent creative agency in America. They are one big brand win away from becoming a creative household word.

The Fantastical  Boston, MA — Practically a startup one year ago, founders Mike Ancevic and Steve Mietelski had the most to prove and boy did they deliverteam-shot-bw on their promise. They now do the National TV for Sam Adams and built them a new Declare your independence brand platform. They won the global ’47 Brand campaign and are doing all of their social media as well.  They launched the Let Your You Out brand platform and campaigns for MLB and NFL. They launched the global Row NYC hotel campaign featuring Lizzy Jagger with global print and Times Square takeover billboards.They also picked up the Olympus North American business and launched the award-winning OM-D camera series this year. They won a Jay Chiat Award for their  J Jill “Uncomplicate” campaign. Recently, they were featured in Creativity Magazine…but mikepalma.com scooped them one year ago…yawn.

Neiman Group  Philadelphia, PA — Neiman Group was acquired by Boston-based Allen & Gerritsen last year. So they must have been doing something right…

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