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Small Agency of the Year, Northeast, Gold: Noble People

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When Noble People took on Venmo as a client in May 2016, it focused on three insights: millennials were the core users; pizza and beer were the most-used emojis; and a bulk of the transfers happened between 7 p.m. and midnight.

"All the cool shit on Venmo is happening at night -- maybe late at night," Noble People CEO Greg March recalled thinking. So the media agency advertised on late-night television, including Adult Swim and Comedy Central, plus it created branded pizza boxes and beer coasters, and had a furry pony-shaped car give Austin, Texas, barhoppers free rides. The multidimensional strategy, the shop said, helped installs grow nearly 20%, while sign-ups and active users increased 15%.

"It's the best articulation of creative media we have going forward," said March.

The agency creates work that excites, combined with an emphasis on robust data and analytics. "A lot of media agencies are built on efficiently answering a client's questions. That's not bad. Efficiency is part of the solution," March said. "But sometimes when you're trying to get to the quickest path, that's usually the least creative path. Sometimes it takes some mistakes."

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