TheBridge.Co, the New York and L.A.-based studio which specializes in connecting artists with brands and agencies, is making a major expansion abroad with the opening of an office in London. As part of the move the company has named Derick Procope as editorial director and CEO. He’s tasked with guiding the company’s efforts for advertisers, agencies, media companies and cultural institutions based in the U.K.
The new entity will work under the name TheBridge.London. The announcement was made jointly by director/photographer Mike Jurkovac, director/editor Igor Kovalik and producer/AR director Bill Boyd, TheBridge.Co’s partners and owners.
Procope is a noted fashion director and designer who was responsible for some of the most acclaimed magazine editorial and advertising work to come out of London and New York in the 1990s and 2000s. His new association with Jurkovac reunites the team that led one of the industry’s earliest episodic branded content online films, the “Lost But Not Lost” series created by FCB San Francisco and produced for Levi’s, starring the Black Eyed Peas. He also spent five years in New York as fashion director of Condé Nast’s Details magazine, another fashion and style trendsetter.
In addition, Jurkovac and Procope are joining the roster of talents represented for fashion and editorial assignments in the U.K. by Premier Artists where they’ll be repped as a creative director\photographer team under the name MIKExDERICK. Led by Calvin Morris and Chris Owen, Premier is an influential artists’ agency in London, with a talent roster that’s set the tone for fashion, beauty and style across the U.S., U.K., Europe and Asia for over 30 years.
The UK expansion of TheBridge.Co positions the company to extend its innovative, content-based approach to working with such advertisers as Genesis, Fiat Chrysler, Victoria’s Secret and others to agencies and brands in England and Europe. “We’ve had great success in the U.S., and felt the time was right to expand beyond the American market,” said Kovalik. “Opening in London is a very organic step for us, in that it lets us build on pre-existing relationships with some of our long-time friends and creative collaborators.”
Jurkovac said, ”We’ve known and worked with Derick for many years, and we’re thrilled that he’s going to be leading TheBridge.London. He understands the critically important role that music, fashion and style plays in creating effective brand narratives, which is what TheBridge.Co is all about.”
The expansion pairs Procope with TheBridge.Co director/producer/art director Gary Koepke, who, along with writer and brand strategist Ernest Lupinacci, are developing a new wild-posted, AR-enabled guerrilla magazine to be launched later this year. Procope and Koepke are two of the seminal creative talents behind some of the most influential pop culture and music magazines in publishing history--collectively they’ve led design for Vibe, The Face and Fader--while Lupinacci has created memorable ad campaigns for Nike and many other brands.
The new magazine, which will be advertiser-supported, takes advantage of a new digital advertising content platform being developed by TheBridge.Co, which will be unveiled, along with its debut roster of publisher and advertiser partners, at the upcoming Cannes Lions Festival.
“I’m excited to be leading the London office of TheBridge.Co,” said Procope. “We’re taking a different approach to working with brands, helping them find ways to blow things up culturally, and setting the tone for that is my mission here. When Gary and I worked on Vibe together, we recognized how fashion, music, publishing and film provided cues from which advertising could take its lead. And that’s no different today; in fact, it’s more important than ever, with the social channels that now exist. We’re bringing that aspect into the brand conversation, and doing so at a perfect time, as London has regained its role as the nexus of cool. It’s a perfect time for us to come together.”
Premier’s Owen added. “We’re delighted to be partnering with TheBridge.London, expanding its current mix of artists and talent into the creative production arena fusing film, fashion and music. Premier Artists maintains a roster of international talent from the worlds of fashion, music, art, digital and the entertainment industries, and we pride ourselves on our extensive expertise implementing branding strategies tailored to individual talents. The aim of our new relationship with Mike and Derick is to enable them to be at the forefront of bringing fresh new ideas to UK brands, agencies and advertisers, shaping the way the talent industry evolves.”
TheBridge.London is already working with Premier Artists to develop original content: “Blow Your Shit Up,” their multi-part streaming video series that takes a fresh, contemporary look at the storied fashion and photography scenes in London, Paris, New York and Milan, is currently in pre-production.
TheBridge.Co has been on a roll, having produced major films and events for Genesis in both the U.S. and Asia over the past few months. Earlier this year they partnered with The Mill to create a much talked-about launch film for the Genesis Essentia concept car that made its mark at the most recent New York International Auto Show. TheBridge.Co also collaborated with Ogilvy Chicago on a short film for the Chicago Sun Times’ new anti-gun violence campaign, titled #31Bullets.
Last fall TheBridge.Co produced a concert in Seoul, sponsored by Genesis, that featured Andra Day along with Gwen Stefani and the K-Pop sensation CL. Their performances are being edited into three concert films that are scheduled to launch on the new digital ad platform later this year.
Other major projects from TheBridge.Co include its “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” video for RAM trucks and DDB, featuring The Tennessee Kids, Justin Timberlake’s band from his “Man of the Woods” Tour. TheBridge.Co tapped producer Venus Brown of Buddah Brown Int’l on the music for the spot, one of the most successful in FCA’s history, racking up over 21 million views in its first week online.
The London expansion comes shortly after new talent signings by the company in the States. Last month TheBridge.Co announced that Paul Kelly, Michael Elliot, Jon Kane and Barry Alexander Brown had joined their growing talent collective. Primarily known for their work as editors, they’re all multi-faceted storytellers who’ve contributed to award-winning and notable campaigns and films throughout their careers. Brown, for example, was in the news recently for having edited Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which won the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
TheBridge.Co’s London office is located just across the Thames from Big Ben, appropriately near Westminster Bridge.