"We've been doing this for the longest time, but we recognized about six months ago that we had to formally create this entity because of the bandwith issue," notes @radical chairman/CEO Jon Kamen. "We've got agencies coming to us everyday now asking us to help them with projects. We needed to be able to serve them better. We look at Radical Thinking as a significant expansion of this company and its capabilities." @radical had been considering candidates from the ad industry to run the division, but "we needed someone who could bring a fresh perspective to the ad business, yet who still inherently understood marketing," Kamen notes. While at New Line, for example, Friedman had led the marketing efforts on feature franchises like Austin Powers and The Lord of the Rings. At Radical Thinking, Friedman is now fronting the company's continued efforts on projects like BBH/Axe's The Gamekillers, which has expanded into a six-episode series scheduled to air on MTV next year; as well as the VOD car channel DriverTV. Additionally, Friedman will be developing in-house franchise ideas and strategic partnerships. "Whether it's branded, sponsored or not, 360 degree solutions for all entertainment today are necessary," he says. "American Idol really works not just because it's a great show but also because of the on and off air elements, the exploitation of those elements to make money. We have a great opportunity at @radical to exploit in ancillary media the franchises that we build. In addition, we will be homegrowing some of our own franchises." Friedman also notes that the division will be taking full advantage of all the company's resources from directors, photographers, producers, to the company's in-house post facilities, and will also serve as an incubator for new talent.
While @radical's longform content is poised for growth, in traditional spots "we've had our busiest year ever," notes President Frank Scherma and "Thinking," he says, is simply part of the company's continuing efforts to stay ahead of the game. "The industry is evolving to a place where we have to reach consumers in all different ways," Scherma says. "We're trying to help lead that evolution and be there for our clients as they need different things, or traditional things." Adds partner Kamen, "We're not abandoning the baby with the bathwater. We're refining it with the addition of Radical Thinking."