October 1, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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Ex-GS&P creatives David Suarez, Danny Gonzalez launch Bandits & Friends with Courtney Berry

First clients

Inaugural clients include New York Times-owned sports journalism brand The Athletic, the XFL and Show-Me Organics, a patient-focused cannabis company. The agency’s first work will be for The Athletic, which became a client after Bandits & Friends pitched for a project a few weeks ago.

The campaign, which is set to launch at the end of the month, will be focused on how The Athletic can help those who play fantasy football stay informed as they prep for fantasy drafts. The campaign will include social assets, an interactive billboard in Times Square and more, Gonzalez said.

“Bandits & Friends came out of nowhere and just crushed it. Smart, witty work across multiple channels on a fast timeline,” said Amanda Ephrom, brand strategist at The Athletic, in a statement.

For Show-Me Organics, the agency will launch work surrounding opioid awareness. One goal is to “gain legitimacy” for cannabis to be used as an alternative to opioids for medicinal purposes.

Moving forward, the agency will look to hire freelancers on an as-needed basis to help work on accounts.

Tough economy as an advantage

The idea to start an agency came during a time when Gonzalez said the “price of entry has lowered” for shops to do work with big clients.

“So many big clients go into more of a roster, or more of a project-based model. You don’t have to be a huge agency that can handle an AOR relationship to get really visible work for household names,” he said.

Berry, who ran Barbarian’s new business department, said the beginning of the year was tough for larger agencies and that she has increasingly seen clients seek out smaller agencies. The tough economy has become an “advantage” for small agencies, Gonzalez added.

“When things are a little more challenging, marketers are forced to look past the usual suspects, and we plan on being very unusual,” Gonzalez said. “So on top of that, when they need to get more bang for the buck and when they don’t have really the money for agency bloat or boilerplate work, it’s a really great time to be small and smart.”

‘Steal attention’

There has certainly has been a bumper crop of small agencies coming onto the scene recently. Just last week, veteran advertising creative Noel Cottrell launched his own agency Murder Hornet. Some strong small shops that have popped up over the past couple of years include Mojo Supermarket, Slap Global, Supernatural, Orchard, Atlantic, Movers+Shakers, Majority and, perhaps most notably, Mischief @ No Fixed Address.

“We’ve already felt the support from the other small agencies within our network who have already heard about us getting this off the ground and we couldn’t have done some of the things that we’ve already done without their help. And we’ll continue to make sure that we are doing right by that,” Berry said.

The mission of the agency is built around helping clients “steal attention,” according to Gonzalez, who said he’s excited to offer the creative duo’s services at a “discounted rate” without the layers of a larger agency.


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