Shaquille O’Neal has joined forces with award-winning marketer Omid Farhang to create Majority, an independent, creative marketing agency based in Atlanta. In addition to his career as a Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA analyst, O’Neal is a prolific celebrity marketer. Meanwhile, Farhang was most recently chief creative officer at Momentum Worldwide (part of the McCann Worldgroup family), after stops at Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Creative Artists Agency.
The name Majority speaks to the agency’s intended mission. “In advertising, we’re really good at telling clients to disrupt the status quo,” Farhang observed. “Yet when it comes to talent, for over a century we as an industry have accepted the status quo of abysmal representation across race, gender, and orientation. Majority’s model emphasizes diverse talent, not just for a more equitable world, but on the thesis that diversity is the ultimate competitive advantage for cultural disruption.” To that end, the agency offers clients “cultural disruption” in forms including advertising, branded entertainment, product innovation, experiences, art and activism.
The founders believe building the agency in Atlanta adds to their competitive advantage. “It’s a sign of progress that most every company today is looking for more diverse talent,” explained O’Neal. “Atlanta is a driver of Black culture, which is a driver of pop culture. And pop culture is where the best marketing lives.”
Majority launches at a time when both the nation and the ad industry continue facing a reckoning on diversity, equity, and inclusion. “Reforming the current system will be a slow process,” said Farhang. “Our mission is to help accelerate systemic change in advertising, by accelerating the normalization of diverse faces powering the best creative companies in the world.”
Though O’Neal has proven a highly effective pitch man for multiple brands, he insists this is not the “Shaq spokesperson agency.” Rather, it’s an opportunity to expand his marketing portfolio while affecting positive change. “I obviously didn’t need to help start an agency to partner with brands,” said O’Neal. “I’m doing this because I believe in the mission, and I believe in the team led by Omid.”
Born of Iranian immigrants, Farhang transitions from Momentum, where he spent six years as CCO, expanding the agency’s repertoire across experiential, product innovation and branded entertainment for clients including American Express, Verizon, SAP and Coca-Cola. In 2019, he led Momentum to its first ever Cannes Grand Prix victory for “Nike Church.” Today, Farhang is also the creator and host of one of the industry podcast, “Talking to Ourselves.”
Among Majority first clients is goPuff, the rapidly expanding on-demand delivery app recently named to CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50 list. Said goPuff’s VP Creative Studio, Brian Schultz: “As an agency partner, Majority reflects the diverse audiences goPuff serves all across our 200+ markets, which allows us to forge more meaningful and authentic relationships with our customers, local partners and communities long-term.”
Alongside O’Neal and Farhang are two additional founding partners. Industry vets Jorge Hernandez and Asmirh Davis will serve in the roles of chief marketing officer and chief strategy officer respectively.