Radical @ 10

By (TI) Published on .

Though "Never Established," @radical.media celebrated its 10th anniversary as a production company last month at the Art Directors Club in New York. The party itself was a feat: The ADC space was filled with many of the visual, auditory and tactile expressions of the company's efforts over the years. One entire wall was devoted to screening over 1,200 of the company's commercials in a multiscreen presentation complemented by Audio Spotlight technology (developed by MIT), allowing viewers to hear specific commercials' audio depending on vantage point. Commercials and loops of the company's entertainment projects played elsewhere and a pearlescent screen showed pages from a book of all of the company's spots work

The video wall and book emphasized @radical's continued role as a primary commercials player, but, taking stock at the 10-year mark, the partners say they surprised even themselves with the strides the company has taken beyond the 30-second realm. @radical director Errol Morris' film Fog of War, which the company produced, has been a critical success coming off the film festival circuit, while Morris continues to apply his eye to spots work. Solid reviews have also been rolling in on Concert for George, a feature film documenting a rock royalty-studded tribute to the late Beatle at London's Royal Albert Hall. On the content front, @radical produced the recent Battlegrounds project, a two hour Nike-backed show for MTV. Principals Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma say that there is a large amount of TV production - both branded content and entertainment - on the slate for next year. Among this year's new ventures was the creation of a music division, which will see, among other projects, the production of a feature about Metallica. The company has also formed a joint venture with U.K.-based Done & Dusted, the leading European producer of live TV, and the partnership's inaugural project will be this month's network-televised Victoria's Secret "fashion show." Another significant new move into branded content comes in the form of a partnership with videogame designer American McGee (Quake, Doom, Alice) to create "minigames" for advertising clients.

"We call ourselves the overhead kings," laughs Kamen. But it's all been in the name of building expertise and infrastructure, he says, to position the company as a player in emerging content areas, develop a new production company model, and become a brand in itself. "As a production company, every year you essentially start at zero. But we've diversified. We've made the effort to build a repeatable model." No danger of the company morphing into an agency, but, says Kamen, "We've become a hybrid." About the agency world's adoption of a broader range of communications, they hint at projects on the horizon, adding, "There are signs of life." Says Scherma, "We feel like the company is just getting started. After years of exploring this stuff, we finally feel like we have some wind in our sails."

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