Small Agency of the Year, 11-75 Employees, Silver: Blitz

A 55-Person-Strong Army of 'Blitizens' -- and That Clever Kinect Hack -- Draw the Giants of Silicon Valley

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Blitz founders Ivan Todorov (top) and Ken Martin.
Blitz founders Ivan Todorov (top) and Ken Martin.

Ivan Todorov and Ken Martin were still in college when they started Blitz in Silicon Valley in 2001. Since then, they have picked up an additional 53 employees and nearly half as many clients.

"We started the company with the core purpose of creating exceptional experiences," said CEO Mr. Todorov. This appears to be a winning formula. Blitz has grown nearly 200% in size and revenue in the last three years.

Mr. Todorov said: "Innovation is a core value at Blitz." This was proved when Yosef Flomin -- a Blitizen in the agency's parlance for its employees -- hacked Microsoft's Kinect as an experiment. "Yosef was fascinated with the newly released Kinect and SDK hacks and took it upon himself to build a proof-of concept that connected the Microsoft hardware to Flash and use it as a physical navigation device," said Mr. Todorov. Basically, he took Kinect and turned it into an input device for a Flash interface, which is much more developer friendly than Kinect's native C++.

Adobe's Creativity Conducted wall and John Mayer's Heartbreak Warfare
Adobe's Creativity Conducted wall and John Mayer's Heartbreak Warfare

The result? After word of the project spread within Adobe, the marketer chose Blitz to build an interactive touch wall for the Adobe Customer Experience Center. The wall will be installed in August or September of this year at the Adobe headquarters in San Jose as well as later in San Francisco.

Many of the agency's other clients are in the tech space (Microsoft Corp., Google) or near it (Nike and FX Networks). "We became exceptionally good at transforming how technology marketing is done -- from speeds and feeds to telling stories that connect with humans," said Mr. Todorov.

It's not all testosterone, though. The agency also created an augmented-reality video to promote John Mayer's "Battle Studies" album, and helped launch Zoobles, a toy line -- and COPPA-compliant gaming site -- for little girls.

What draws such companies to Blitz in the first place? According to Mr. Todorov, it's the people. "The attraction phase is certainly the work and the passion of the incredible people working here, which is a result of our agency culture." From killer benefits to the Santa Monica digs (complete with ocean-view balcony,) Blitz wants its Blitizens to know that it has their well-being in mind. Be warned, though. On its website, Blitz notes that "[we are] an equal opportunity employer. But we don't like jerks."

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