Indeed, Agency 11 boasts some fine work for, among others, Potlatch paper and several restaurant chains like Buca di Beppo and Chino Latino. Restaurant branding is one of the shop's specialties - the 1999 Buca di Beppo annual report, fashioned in the style of an Italian newspaper, is good enough to eat - but the strategy now is to branch out to even bigger and better things. Like TV. "We have a reputation as a superb design shop, but the natural next step is to offer clients something more than branding and graphic design," says the 40-year-old Whitman. "It's time to add advertising to the mix."
Which is chiefly why he's on board, of course. Prior to Colle & McVoy, the TV-savvy Whitman did a stint in Minneapolis at Kruskopf-Olson, and before that he put in three years at Denver's Barnhart/CMI where he was CD and a principal. In fact, Whitman is a copywriter by trade, but "I was hired because I'm an ad guy who has an appreciation for design, and I have a respect for all the disciplines we offer, or will offer. I see it all as marketing communications." He adds that he has some nifty design work in his own portfolio, particularly for Volant skis from his Barnhart days. And he points out that Agency 11 already has some impressive ad work to its credit, including a cheeky Chino Latino outdoor campaign, led by a board headlined "Third World brunch. Sally Struthers portions."
"We have a small staff, only eight creatives," Whitman notes. "I guess you could call us a boutique. But the thinking's big. It's, uh, past 10."