72andSunny

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From left: Glenn Cole, Greg Perlot, John Boiler and Robert Nakata
From left: Glenn Cole, Greg Perlot, John Boiler and Robert Nakata
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Nearly three years ago, a trio of Wieden brainiacs, John Boiler, Glenn Cole and designer Robert Nakata, and a former Microsoft honcho, Greg Perlot, decided to leave the big leagues and strike out on their own in El Segundo, California, in a small warehouse so close to the beach you can smell the salt water from the doorstep. The agency launched with just four partners, no clients and huge ambitions: to build giants (See Creativity, April 2004). These guys, if anyone, had the cred to do so, having steered global brands like Coca-Cola, Siemens, Microsoft and Nike, the latter for which they masterminded major campaigns like "Underground Tournament" and "Good vs. Evil." In its first year, the 72 crew jumpstarted the burgeoning Bugaboo baby stroller brand in the U.S. and became part of the creative tag team behind Microsoft's ambitious Xbox 360 launch. Now 45 strong, the agency continues to elevate and change up its game accordingly on big ticket projects, including campaigns for G4 and Quiksilver; the launch of Microsoft's Zune, which included a multi-tiered arts-driven push led by former Nike designer Rob Abeyta, Jr.; and a partnership with And1, for which 72andSunny is developing a campaign and a new shoe line. The shop also just added pop to its portfolio with a national spot for Cherry Coke that launches this month. Below, some words of wisdom from the team. (AD)

Dating is good.
Greg Perlot: We don't worry about "agency of record" and contracts. Converting relationships to AOR is not a goal for us. We just isolate business problems and solve them. We concentrate on stories more than contracts, maybe to our detriment.

Advertising is small.<br/> Greg: Advertising as a last resort. Everything is an ad, so as soon as you start making "the ad," you've made the solution small.

Stories are timeless.
John Boiler: Maybe our outlook on it is archaic, or maybe timeless, but we see advertising now as being defined by what it always has: the presence or absence of provocative and inspiring content. And hopefully the work we've done reflects that idea and the value we put on it.

Assume nothing.<br/> John: Although we have a lot of experience in advertising, marketing and communications, it seems like we assume nothing or very little when meeting new people. We tend to be curious about their product, culture, leadership and context in the marketplace. Starting without a pre-determined process seems to lead us to new places and different solutions.

Stay open.
Glenn Cole: If we have a "way," it's not getting trapped in a way. We have a very open, collaborative workstyle. The kind of clients who are drawn to us seem to enjoy the emphasis on transparency and building on each other's ideas.

Play together.
Glenn: Contrary to how pitches are conducted, great solutions are not generated in isolation. Brands are complex, connections are diverse, inspiration must come from both sides. Successful brands are the result of two groups who improv well together.

Look beyond.
John: To build a brand long term, you need to plan beyond the fog of the next season's results. Product lines can be weak for a time and surge later, as long as you have a guiding star—an audacious destination.
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