DNA called 2020 an "emotional roller coaster" but landed steadily on its feet. The Seattle agency made a conscious decision not to undergo layoffs, furloughs or salary decreases and held fast to that promise. It also fulfilled its commitment to diversity: 100% of new hires last year were either BIPOC, women and/or those who identify as LGBTQ.
The shop was COVID-conscious as well, instituting systems to enable work-from-home collaborations and also creating blackout times for meetings in order to help employees manage work-life balance. And the shop says its "people-first focus directly impacted our bottom line." The agency ended the year with a 69% jump in EBIDTA, notching its most profitable year in recent history. Revenue grew steadily to $10.4 million, a nearly 16% rise from 2019; DNA predicts another double-digit percentage jump this year. And employees shared in its success: They were all given equal bonuses to acknowledge the team effort.
Creative endeavors such as a retro-inspired video game for Dragon’s Milk beer, and bringing the outdoors inside for Rainier Beer with a social campaign dubbed “Hibeernation Survival Guide,” paved the way for DNA’s solid business results. But the shop’s efforts with StolenYouth, a Washington-based nonprofit working to end child sex trafficking, are helping to differentiate the agency in the purpose-driven ad world. DNA recently focused on “sugaring,” the practice of older males exploiting younger girls for sex in exchange for gifts or money. The shop used its social data intelligence team and AI to comb through sugar baby-related mentions on social media and respond with targeted messaging to educate victims and report exploiters.
The SugarFree project is already making a difference—4,000 Tweets were reported, 1,050 posts removed from Twitter and 70 exploiters were identified. This is just the beginning; DNA says the work is ongoing.