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Agency Profile: 72andSunny

Posted on September 7, 2011 and read 11,577 times

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brianna Agency Profile: 72andSunnyBrianna Graves

Sometimes it takes an hour’s worth of questions to get to the heart of an agency’s culture. Other times, it only takes one authentic moment. The latter was the case at 72andSunny.

Stepping into the Los Angeles-based agency, the first thing I took in was the energy of such an open space. 72andSunny looks like a warehouse, but with its exposed brick, radiant colors, art-covered walls and borderless workspace, 72andSunny gives off a distinctly southern California, hip vibe. It’s sophisticated but it’s casual, and there is clearly no shortage of hustle underfoot.

There are closed off conference rooms at 72andSunny, but even then, floor-to-ceiling windows keep the flow open between the conversations happening inside and the 72 Crew working outside the room. Chatting in one such chandeliered conference room, we were distracted by a film editor and director waving outside through the window. An urgent question necessitated the interruption of our interview, but not for nothing. In return, he climbed up on the conference table and in one moment gave me a clearer picture of the culture at 72andSunny than any conversation ever could. Dancing to “Pumped Up Kicks” under the chandelier for 30 full seconds, it was evident: this team may be busy to the maximum, but they are definitely having fun doing it.

I considered us even.

72andSunny was “born modern.” Founded just seven years ago, it’s not an agency that has to catch up with the times. It was born in the times and works to leverage the times, both through its people and its work. 72andSunny calls itself a “culture first company,” putting the staff above all else. Coming from big agency environments like W+K Amsterdam and Deutsch/LA, the founders of 72andSunny set out to build an egoless studio where the work is owned by all. Physically, the space supports this intention, as they literally never built any walls between their teams. “Work Walls” around the perimeters of the space prevent any one person from taking ownership of creative by requiring the parts and pieces of any project to be posted at all times for teammate input and perspective.

There is no such thing as a typical day at 72andSunny. Responsibilities vary by day and when the water rises, everyone grabs an oar. The 72 Crew comes from a hybrid blend of diverse backgrounds, and not always agency or advertising-based experience. 72andSunny hires those who will bring an informed opinion and a point of view to the work, and believes that hiring the right people is the key to delivering the best work.

It is the personalities comprising 72andSunny at any given time that define the culture of the studio. As a company, 72andSunny works to support the passions of all 120 people in its Los Angeles office, hosting art gallery shows, bands and even a succession of local taco trucks at lunch time to keep energies and inspiration levels high. But personal passions don’t just feed the inspiration level, they inform the work to ensure its relevancy in culture. Using individual curiosity to keep up with popular trends in everything from music to magicians, each personal passion at 72andSunny provides a piece of the puzzle.

72andSunny’s mission is to drive transactions by making brands matter in culture, but that plays out in a quest to blur and redefine the lines of what an agency can do for a brand. 72andSunny wants to undo marketing to forge its own path and no one at the studio wants to make an ad. They want to have fun, experiment and create pieces of engaging entertainment.

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After all, 72andSunny is located in the entertainment capital of the world. Amidst the music and film industry, not far from Silicon Valley and surrounded by a multitude of ethnicities, there is no shortage of external culture from which to draw upon.

Rather than a traditional art director-copywriter team, 72andSunny uses a core team, composed of a strategist, brand manager, writer and designer. These four travel the length of a project together, making holistically informed decisions on behalf of the brand. Other disciplines are brought in depending on the demands of the project, but by using this model, a creative duo will never be found abandoned in the studio at 1 am.

Working with clients like Nike, K-Swiss, the Discovery Channel, Xbox 360, PacSun, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, every core team at 72andSunny draws on the insight of their collective experience and expertise. When working to affect culture in the worlds of action sports, gaming and technology, you need to either have your finger on the pulse or get the heart beating.

A collaboration between 72andSunny, HBO and Danny McBride, the face of the foul-mouthed and irreverent Kenny Powers of hit show Eastbound & Down, brought relevance back to the K-Swiss brand and introduced the market to their training line.

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As the biggest fan of the world and its wonders, The Discovery Channel hired 72andSunny, and together they created one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time to bring its brand truth to life. A rendition of “Boom De Ah Da” expanded the Discovery Channel viewers’ love of specific programming to a greater appreciation for, and awareness of, the brand itself.

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72andSunny elevated the presence of action sports in the athletic market with a Nike “Just Do It” campaign, and increased awareness of its Nike+ product across Europe by leveraging the innate competition between the sexes in the Men Vs. Women virtual running campaign.

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72andSunny also recently launched 72U, an ad school within their very walls “designed to open people up to new ways of thinking, collaborating and tackling modern communication problems,” according to the 72U web site. Applicants from all levels of ad experience and education auditioned for a spot in the program via social media, a process that was barely defined beyond a requisite to stand out. Ten people were accepted, and school is now in session, lead by Geoff McGann and Kelly Schoeffel.

The initiative is especially important to 72andSunny President John Boiler, who said, “Fostering a culture of brave and generous creative people takes commitment. You gotta walk the walk. There are a set of values that we think makes outstanding creative work, and a set of behaviors that we think foster a better life at work. It takes a while to pick ‘em up. And the school helps.”

Students of 72U don’t come out of the 10-month program having mastered one skill and completed one book. They work on client briefs in real time and graduate with an understanding of today’s marketing climate, instilled with the beliefs and practices that are important to “making the best work in the world,” according to Boiler.

And thus, the 72andSunny legacy lives on.




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