And though Brooklyn-based digital agency Huge doesn’t buy media, it feels the influence of automation in advertising and doesn’t necessarily feel it’s for the better, at least from a creative standpoint.
With roughly 1,000 employees, Huge operates offices in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., Rio de Janeiro, London and Singapore. Huge works with heavyweight companies and brands like Google, Nike, Comcast, Lowes, American Express and FX, to name a few. The agency has an in-house data department, and does nearly all its analytics in-house.
AdExchanger spoke to Ken Allard, managing director of business strategy, and Matthew Waghorn, director of communication planning, about the agency’s history, philosophy and how a digital agency can start to think about integrating new technologies into the creative process.
ADEXCHANGER: What’s distinctive about Huge’s client strategy?
KEN ALLARD: The way that we approach campaigns is to pinpoint a central idea. We think of campaigns as more than one-off initiatives. We want them to be connected to an insight that we have in the marketplace about the target market and the needs of those users. We want there to be an overarching strategy that helps the brand to connect to its users’ needs.
Can you give an example of a successful campaign?
KA: A great example of our process would be the work we did for TD Ameritrade around the Olympics. They wanted to show that they could help a broader marketplace and that making small, incremental investments would lead to something big over time. Working the Olympics is always tricky because the Olympic Committee has anything related to the athletes very tightly controlled though global sponsorships.
We had this idea called the It Adds Up campaign. We identified up-and-coming athletes that would be in the next Olympics but not in this one, so they weren’t locked up with the Olympic committee’s restrictions. We partnered them with a mentor that was an athlete in the most recent Olympic Games, the idea being that all of the people surrounding an athlete gives them a bit of help and guidance along the way, and that builds up to something great.
The campaign was #itaddsup, and it was both a social campaign and an offline campaign. We got a lot of earned media, and the “Today” show even covered it. We always think about the real market challenge for a brand, the user need and what’s authentic to a particular brand that gives it license to pursue a certain campaign.