Small Agency Awards 2012

Small Agency of the Year, 1-10 Employees, Silver: The Distillery Project

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AthletiCO, a Chicago-area physical-therapy chain, is a client.
AthletiCO, a Chicago-area physical-therapy chain, is a client.

The Distillery Project may have existed under the name Work-Chicago since 2009, but the new name better explains its ethos: distilling everything down so that there is no excess, bloat or wastefulness. And bloated it is not: The agency has just two full-time people, founder and chief creative John Condon and founding partner Per Jacobson, both Leo Burnett alumni.

Mr. Condon even joked that one could triple the agency's head count and it would still have fewer than 10 people. But that 's the point. "We plug people in as we need to," he said. "You become so much more productive when you get a lot of stuff out of the way. When you have a really lean team, you can just get together at a table, make some decisions and move on. "

Clients include energy giant Exelon; AthletiCo, a Chicago-area physical-therapy chain; and Kimberly-Clark.

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