How have any societal issues--such as the pandemic, the Supreme court decision on abortion, calls for equity, inclusion, diversity, racial and social justice--impacted the way you do business, company policies and/or selection of projects/creative content?
At Droga5 we have many affinity groups (and more being created all the time) dedicated to acknowledge what is going on in the world around us, advocate for each other, hold safe spaces and provide support. And in addition to that, we have structures in place to check-in on each other regularly. Not just about work but also we make an effort to check on each other as people.
The day-to-day news cycle can be overwhelming and we encourage people to reach out or take a mental health / protest day whenever they need it. There are also the constant waves of COVID infection on our teams. So navigating these sick days and really covering for each other is something that takes good communication and support. WHAT. A. TIME.
We also work on multiple pro-bono initiatives including “Seize the Awkward” on suicide prevention, a design project with the Special Olympics, an anti-semitsm project with ADL and ongoing projects with ADCOLOR. Using our skills and talents towards trying to make an impact from a humanity perspective is incredibly important to the Droga5 DNA and always has been.
In addition to all of these more formalized efforts, I think it’s important that we continue to try to have a good time at work so that we have a little release from the constant stressors of what’s going on in the world. Personally, I try to manage any unnecessary work stress of my teams by aggressively planning ahead and getting good systems in place so we have the space and time to come up with great ideas and enjoy the journey.
What’s the biggest takeaway or lessons learned from work (please identify the project) you were involved in this year?
My biggest takeaway is how powerful, effective (and fun) it is to have big, brave, shared ambitions with our client partners. Our relationship with Central Garden and Pet clients, spearheaded by Michael McGoohan and Scott Meek, has been incredible. We are completely aligned on the capability of unconventional ideas and thinking to build brands and are constantly experimenting with our model and taking smart chances to get great results.
In the past six months we have launched three big campaigns for three of their top brands with a small dedicated team. For Pennington Grass Seed we launched a SuperBowl media PR-activation called “Flip the Turf” where we rallied sports fans against fake grass and got 20+ publication pick ups and $4,388,546 in earned media value (on a 40k investment). On Kaytee, premium products for small animals and birds, we launched a movement called “All for the Small” with a documentary film, starring Rainn Wilson. In this film, we follow Rainn as he tries to enter his guinea pig, Kenneth, into the Westminster Dog Show in a desperate attempt to get small animals on the big stage. He fails, obviously, but the campaign got us 422M earned impressions (11x more than we expected).
Just recently we launched an entirely new product line and brand called GoodGood, which is a line of pet wellness products for cats and dogs. We built this brand from the ground up, starting with identifying a white space in the pet wellness space and we just found out the GoodGood calming supplements sold out on Chewy.com in just 2 weeks.
Creatives everywhere have decks and decks and decks of brilliant ideas but we need the partnership and trust and bravery of our client partners to see the value in these ideas and to support them to get into the world. We are lucky enough to have that partnership with Central Garden and Pet and nothing but more opportunity in front of us.
What work (advertising, entertainment, documentary) -- your own or others--struck a responsive chord with you this year and why?
We recently launched our third round of Junk Sleep work with Mattress Firm with seven new spots. Seven unique, insight driven spots that have the potential to really connect with people and make them question their sleep and the mattress they are sleeping (or not sleeping) on. It’s made me realize just how fun and endlessly fruitful it can be to work on a brand that has just a great platform rooted in a rich, big insight. Simply working on this brand and learning more about sleep has made me question my own sleeping habits and… I bought a new pillow.
While gazing into the crystal ball is a tricky proposition, we nonetheless ask you for any forecast you have relative to content creation and/or the creative and/or business climate for the second half of 2022 and beyond.
Welp, I think we are all a little concerned about the looming recession. But after navigating through the last couple of years I think we are all going to be able to navigate the next round of tricky situations. Solving business problems with creative thinking and innovation is all we do so I hope we will all be equipped to face whatever the next six months brings.