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Small Agency Conference and Awards

Small Agency of the Year, 76-150 Employees, Gold: McGarrah Jessee

By Published on .

'The Force is strong with the Sweet & Spicy Bacon Burger,' a Whataburger social-media post by McGarrah Jessee.
'The Force is strong with the Sweet & Spicy Bacon Burger,' a Whataburger social-media post by McGarrah Jessee. Credit: Whataburger

McGarrah Jessee has a thing for cult and challenger brands, such as family-owned chain Whataburger (self-proclaimed "home of the bigger, better burger") and Yeti, whose pricey, outdoors-proof coolers are certified to withstand attacks by grizzly bears. Last year was a great one for the 20-year-old agency, which reported that revenue was up 26% year-over-year to $23.3 million. It boosted head count by 24%, too.

For Yeti, the shop created an experience space for people to have a beer, take in a concert and be inspired by the outdoors. Some likened it to a museum, and there are indeed artifacts from founders and brand ambassadors, such as a BBQ pit from the backyard of barbecue cook and restaurateur Aaron Franklin.

The agency's holistic brand thinking has fostered loyal clients, with an average tenure of nine years. Employees are loyal too. The agency said that turnover is just 7% annually, and everyone shares in the profits with a check at the end of the year.

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