Brian Carmody and Patrick Milling Smith

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Smuggler's Carmody (LEFT) and Milling Smith
Smuggler's Carmody (LEFT) and Milling Smith Credit: Lever Rukhin
It might be tempting to take a breather after you experience the ultimate in creative climaxes—like winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes, for example. But Smuggler co-founders/EPs Brian Carmody and Patrick Milling Smith have never been ones to rest on their laurels. Our top production company of 2007 not suprisingly turned out some of the best spots of the year—among them, Henry Alex Rubin's documentary pranks for Burger King's "Whopper Freakout" and Randy Krallman's demented Starburst "Bus Station"—but also took a serious turn for the entrepreneurial. Partnering with Droga5, it launched Honeyshed, a modern, babe-ified online twist on the Home Shopping Network. So far, the destination has drawn a skeptical industry spotlight but shows the sort of daring necessary for shops seeking to remain relevant in the changing marketplace. Smuggler also stepped up its content creation with CAA on fresh new media plays for eBay on the multifilm "Let Them Post" online campaign and some ultra-polished shorts for an upcoming eBay push aiming to get the brand on the brain of the creative elite. So far, at least one of the films, directed by Krallman, has delivered, appearing in a lineup of shorts at Sundance this year.

Milling Smith, on Smuggler culture: "The most important lesson is listening to everyone around you. The company needs every single person in it to be proud, motivated and excited in order for us to continue to achieve goals and get stronger."

Carmody, on what it takes to be relevant today: "You need to know how to get the tough but good ideas produced. You need diversification of mediums. You have to be approachable and have great follow through, and be financially strong. You must have the courage to walk away when it's not working. Inspire. . .we must inspire."

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