Small Agency Of The Year, Southeast, Gold: Creative Energy Group
Creative Energy may not have a big-market ad agency address, but it’s using its Johnson City, Tennessee headquarters in the Appalachian Mountains as a distinct selling point to attract new clients tired of city slicker types, and creative talent yearning for a more rural work environment. The group, which has roughly 45 employees, recently hired Benji Vega from the Richards Group as chief creative officer, although Vega left Creative Energy earlier this summer. The agency also hired Greg Nobles, formerly of Leo Burnett, as creative director. Creative Energy nabbed work from big-name clients including Garner Foods and Coca-Cola Food Service. Earlier this year, Garner’s Texas Pete hot sauce tapped Creative Energy for a campaign designed to fend off its peppery rivals. “Sauce Like You Mean It” invents a “tribe” of brand enthusiasts who are encouraged to “go Pete, or go home.” The work sure heated up sales: Texas Pete met its 2018 full-year sales goals within the first quarter, Creative Energy says.