"You’re like a tree, and if you don’t bend, you’re f----d,” says Mark Fitzloff about the last two years the creative vet has spent building his own Portland shop, Opinionated, after serving nearly 20 years at Wieden & Kennedy. “I think we’ve managed to do a good job of evolving and being flexible.”
In a short span, his agency has accomplished remarkable things with its small staff of 12 (the shop added two full-timers since it entered the Ad Age Small Agency Awards).
The agency has become a go-to shop for Adidas, handling North American marketing for the Originals, running and youth marketing categories, as well as global work on soccer and basketball. Recent projects included an integrated push for Adidas’ ’90s-inspired Yung shoe line that played its retro roots across multiple channels.
Opinionated has also created fresh new voices for companies old and young: It brought a quirky personality to shoe brand on-the-rise Allbirds (though the company now works with Anomaly, the Opinionated work is still running in global markets); positioned Pacific Northwest brewery Deschutes as the beer brand of choice in a market where cannabis rules; and distinguished Yogi Tea with a mesmerizing campaign that highlighted the product on the limber bods of yoga pros.
While the agency has thrived on project work, Opinionated nabbed a notable agency-of-record gig in March for eco-conscious homecare brand Seventh Generation, which moved from 72andSunny. The numbers are impressive, too: In 2018 Opinionated’s revenue jumped nearly 250 percent from the previous year, from $2.95 million to $7.36 million. It’s keeping pace in 2019, with the agency projecting $10 million in revenue by year-end.
The challenge, Fitzloff says, has been maintaining the shop’s creative and strategic caliber while dealing with the project-driven reality that agencies face today. “Project work does not always allow an agency to offer up its best assets and contributions,” he says. Yet that’s where he sees opportunity. Clients today “are incredibly overwhelmed. I get a sense they’re more and more trying to get through the day, to do more with less, both staff-wise and financially. So it’s about figuring out how can we be helpful immediately, but also do our best to look at a problem on the longer horizon.”