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Small Agency of the Year, 11-75 Employees, Gold: Zambezi

Shop Opens New Chapter After Buying Out Investor Kobe Bryant

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Zambezi partner and Executive Creative Director Josh DiMarcantonio, Chief Strategy Officer Kristina Jenkins, founder and CEO Chris Raih and Chief Operating Officer Jean Freeman
Zambezi partner and Executive Creative Director Josh DiMarcantonio, Chief Strategy Officer Kristina Jenkins, founder and CEO Chris Raih and Chief Operating Officer Jean Freeman Credit: Zambezi
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Zambezi has long been known for having a famous primary investor: Kobe Bryant. But last year the agency bought out Mr. Bryant's stake, starting a new chapter in its life. Zambezi also wanted to be seen as a shop that does more than sports and entertainment, so it restructured its leadership team to expand capabilities. As if that wasn't enough change, the Culver City, Calif.-based shop allowed its eight-year agreement with Coca-Cola to expire in order to court challenger brands in the beverage category. With that leap of faith, it notched an 80% new-business scorecard, including the Honest Company, Honest Beauty, Stance Socks, Focus Features, Zynga and AutoTrader.