There has been a lot of debate around whether remote work is killing creativity—but Arts & Letters is proving that agencies can thrive using a hybrid work model. The five-year-old shop is based in Richmond, Virginia, but its 160-person workforce is spread across 17 cities. The agency’s creative campus includes a “remote-first” downtown headquarters that is built for participating via screens, including “virtual” edit bays and other technology to enable remote production.
Arts & Letters is thriving with a hybrid work model
As it built those capabilities, the agency racked up 14 new business wins last year, including Tito’s vodka and wedding planning brand Zola. Arts & Letters also beat out several competitors to win work for Dick’s Sporting Goods, which tapped the agency for its new “Sports Change Lives” campaign, the brand’s largest by media spend to date. “They know sport really well and it was easy for them to step in and understand the authenticity,” said Dick’s Chief Marketing Officer Ed Plummer.
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That sports knowledge is evident in Arts & Letters' work for ESPN, which has included reviving the network’s iconic “This Is SportsCenter” campaign, beginning with an ad that showed U.S. Women’s National Team soccer stars eating oranges as Syracuse University mascot Otto the Orange looked on.
The agency is led by Charles Hodges, founder and executive creative director, who began his career as a Wieden+Kennedy New York copywriter. (W+K was the originator of the “This Is SportsCenter” campaign.)
For Tito’s, the agency crafted an attention-grabbing “Tito’s in a can” campaign that mocked the buzz around hard seltzers—while reasserting its position as simply making high-quality vodka. The campaign simply marketed an empty can in which people could mix their own vodka seltzer. The cans sold out and the campaign drew more than 500 million media impressions and more than 1 million social media shares, according to the agency. It looked even smarter after the hard seltzer sales bubble burst last year.