Small Agency of the Year, Culture: Brokaw

Shop's Signature Sense of Humor Makes It Hot in Cleveland -- And From Coast to Coast

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Google the phrase "world's greatest ad agency" and what turns up isn't the likes of Wieden & Kennedy or Ogilvy & Mather. Instead it's Brokaw.

It's this sort of playful approach to business that reminds us just how fun advertising can be. Brokaw staffers take pride in their underdog city (as the agency jokes, "Move over 72andSunny. Here comes 26andOvercast"), and the evidence of their pride can be found in the silly Cleveland apparel they sell online and the fact that Brokaw creatives participate in a sketch comedy group, "Last Call Cleveland."

The local approach and tongue-in-cheek humor about not being based on Madison Ave. is actually helping the shop go national. In the past 12 months, Brokaw has netted a slew of new assignments, including retail marketing products for Samsung, Qdoba,, Houlihan's Restaurants, Bob Evans, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Quiznos.

Everything the shop does is infused with humor. Like that time when some staffers saw newsman Tom Brokaw in a restaurant and sent him over a business card and a bourbon with a note that said: "Sorry we stole your URL. We're just superfans." Or when they sent out street teams for their Bob Evans client to market all-day breakfast and outfitted them in flannel pajamas and eye-masks in the late afternoon.

Brokaw's signature culture is appealing to clients and admired by competitors. That's probably why while others struggle to generate interest in agency content, the humorous Friday newsletter that Brokaw sends out is regularly read by shops from Los Angeles to Boston.

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