This New Agency Bangs Out the Creative Process in Two Weeks

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The Fortnight Collective team.
The Fortnight Collective team. Credit: Jamie Kripke

When Andy Nathan came up with the idea for Fortnight Collective, which counts Nestlé Purina and Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt among its founding clients, he said he was looking to answer the question: "How can we get to ideas and critical thinking faster?"

Nathan, who grew up in advertising at the likes of CP&B, TBWA, BBH, Ogilvy and Victors & Spoils, said most successful campaign and client ideas he's had throughout his career came during a time crunch. "Innovation happens on the fringes when no one else is looking," he said. Not having time to overthink things can help.

So Fortnight Collective developed a two-week process, including a full-day "hack," to go from brainstorming to strategic development to execution. (The amount of time was based on his instincts rather than science, Nathan said.)

Mandy Eckford, director of client services at Fortnight, who previously worked with Nathan at Victors & Spoils, said the process starts with a kick off-immersion with the client to figure out its specific challenge, followed by digging into data and defining key deliverables. Day four is usually about strategic development and picking key audiences and focus points. The last day of the first week is an "advertising hack," where the agency and client work together to solve the challenge. Week two is focused on identifying the strongest ideas, crafting them and executing the plan.

The agency has six full-time staffers in its Boulder, Colo., office, but it has about 40 people in its collective, which Eckford said includes senior-level talent that previously worked at shops like Anomaly, R/GA and CP&B who are hand-picked for specific projects.

Nathan said because so many people today are working for themselves, Fortnight wanted to develop a "creative market" for them that isn't too formal.

Drew Harrington, co-founder and co-CEO of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt, brought on Fortnight to help kick off its summer campaign after hearing about the Nathan's quick, nimble and efficient concept from the brand's strategic marketing agency, Good Dog.

Harrington said Fortnight offered "big agency experience in a short period of time."

Yasso's end-of-week advertising hack lasted about 12 hours, he said, and after one idea was settled on, the agency spent the next week honing in on the campaign idea. Fortnight is also handling digital creative and out-of-home and radio media planning and buying on Yasso's upcoming campaign. The brand plans on adding an experiential element and doing some third party activations with the likes of Pandora. AMP is working on digital media planning and buying.

Even though Fortnight's work is finished on the campaign, which will start later this summer, Harrington said he has hired them for a few more projects.

"The reality is, if we do our job, clients will keep hiring us back," said Nathan. "Being constantly on our toes and performing for our next meal keeps us hungry and honest and excited to produce things."

This doesn't mean that Fortnight is against AOR relationships, said Nathan, but the project emphasis has been working so far.

Fortnight is hoping to create real breakthrough work for clients. Nathan said when he looks at the path of growing agencies, "like Droga5, there's usually a seminal piece of work that changes the trajectory of that agency," and he's hoping Fortnight can do that while helping brands be better, faster.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Fortnight is handling media buying for out-of-home, radio and digital on Yasso's new campaign. It is handling media planning and buying for out-of-home and radio on the campaign, plus creative services in digital. But AMP is handling the media planning and buying for digital.

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