Episode 10: Tim Smith of Chemistry on AOR vs project work, the Atlanta United campaign launch

The President of Chemistry, Atlanta talks about being named Ad Age’s small agency of the year –  twice, the challenges with client agreements and the most successful campaign launch in professional sports history.


Rudy Fernandez:           Hey, this is Rudy Fernandez from Creative Outhouse. In this episode of Marketing Upheaval, I spoke with Tim Smith, President of Chemistry in Atlanta. Chemistry was named Ad Age’s best small agency two out of the last four years, and we talked about that.

Rudy:               We also talked about what’s not working with a lot of client agency relationships and new business, and we talked about the most successful launch in professional sports history and what we all can learn from that.

Rudy:               Check it out. Welcome to Marketing Upheaval.

Earcon:             You’re listening to Marketing Upheaval from Creative Outhouse.

Rudy:               Hey, thanks for listening to Marketing Upheaval. My guest is Tim Smith, President of Chemistry in Atlanta. Chemistry won Ad Age’s Small Agency of the Year in 2016 and 2018. They do great work and have some powerful case studies, including the most successful sports franchise launch in history, according to ESPN and Sports Illustrated. We’re going to talk about that.

Rudy:               Thanks for joining me, Tim.

Tim Smith:        Thanks for having me.

Rudy:               So I know you worked at a lot of big shops and big brands and stuff, and then you worked on Super Bowl spots and everything, and now small shops.

Tim:                 Right, right.

Rudy:               Well, first of all, why did you do that? Why did you go from the big agency, big budget to small shops?

Tim:                 Yeah. So I started really right out of school, jumped right into the deep end and went to BBDO New York. Now, that was all big stuff, big budgets. I thought, “Wow, this advertising gig’s amazing. We have huge budgets, and flying around, fancy hotels.” It was fantastic.

Rudy:               I only get to hear about that kind of stuff.

Tim:                 Right. Right. Sadly, I got to experience it just long enough to miss it. So it was great. Well, I always wanted to live in the South, so I kind of would go to a big ad market, come back South. Got to a big ad market, come back South.

Tim:                 Then an opportunity came up to be a creative director in a small shop, so I had the ego to believe that, wow, this small shop, they’ve got a few clients and I’ve done all this big stuff, I can certainly make them big, that’s not going to be a problem. Found how difficult the struggle was. So we did some good stuff. We won a lot of business and stuff, but it was on a totally different level from all the ones I was used to. But I really liked it.

Tim:                 So when Chris Breen asked me to come join him to start a shop, I was like, “Sounds like fun.”

Rudy:               Small agency of the year, according to Ad Age.

Tim:                 Right. That’s big. That was big for us, no kidding. And we’ve been saying two out of the last three years, but it just passed the new year so now I got to say two out of the last four years. It doesn’t sound so good. But-

Rudy:               You could just say, “Twice.”

Tim:                 That’s right, twice. We’ve done it twice. A lot of times having some key work, one campaign that really kind of stands out, but we’ve always been a creative driven shop. And video, broadcast, whatever you want to call it, is still king. So making sure that you get some work on that regardless of what the channel is, but that always helps, I think, the judges just kind of visualize it and digest it. Of course growing helps, you’ve got to show all your numbers.

Rudy:               And we’re going to talk about one of those campaigns that you were just mentioning. A lot of changes going on with audience segmentation and fragmentation of media production and everything. Who do you think’s better equipped to handle that, a smaller agency or a larger agency?

Tim:                 Of course, I want to definitely say a smaller agency. That’s because of what we are, but it’s-

Rudy:               We’re both a little biased.

Tim:                 That’s right. I’m a little biased on that. But the truth is, when you’re in a smaller agency, you have to do a lot of things, and you have to figure things out. The constant in our business, for sure, over the last while has been change, and so much change. I think in bigger agencies, you have the army so they can cover a lot of stuff. You have a lot of people doing a lot of things, but they’re usually sort of staying in their silos. So I think just the nimble part, which is such a key part of our industry now. Fast, nimble is an advantage for the smaller agency.

Rudy:               It’s funny, and I think you brought this up too, is I see more big agencies starting to act like small agencies.

Tim:                 Right.

Rudy:               I’ve always gravitated toward small agencies, so everybody had to do more than one job.

Tim:                 That’s right.

Rudy:               That’s the deal. And now larger agency is saying, “You have to bring more than one thing to the table.” If you do analytics, you better do something else, too.

Tim:                 That’s right.

Rudy:               If you’re a copywriter, you better also be good at something else.

Tim:                 That’s right. That’s right.

Rudy:               So it’s funny how that works. And you had actually brought up an example about a Coke product. Then a large agency said, have a small agency and a big agency.

Tim:                 Just at a conference and the speaker who ran this really large holding company agency was talking, bragging, basically, about how they’d won this Coke business by putting these 12 millennials in a room and separating them from the rest of the company and getting them the technology, whatever. She was basically saying, we created this small agency and Coke was like, “That’s awesome. Wow, you’ve got these small agency folks,” and then we’re trying to be big and they’re trying to be small and social’s is trying to be PR. PR’s trying to be interactive. Interactive’s trying to be brand. Everything’s digital. You’re mobile, you have to do everything. You have to know everything. And CMOs now have to know everything. It’s a task.

Rudy:               Yeah. But we can’t really know everything, and what I do is I just try to find people who are way smarter than I am to come and talk to.

Tim:                 That’s right.

Rudy:               So what do you seeing now in terms of what clients are asking for in terms of the people who you hire that you didn’t see five or 10 years ago?

Tim:                 It’s definitely all media driven, as far as five or 10 years ago. There’s obviously a million more channels than there were. People are consuming media, several types of media at the same time, which is crazy. You’re driving in your car, you’ve always had the radio on while you’re passing billboards, but now you have Waze on and that’s popping up and your kids are watching television, but they have their phone there. There’s no can we reach this person, you can reach anybody at anytime all the time and you can serve them up and know where they are and know what they’re looking at.

Tim:                 You have to resonate with people. You have to catch them at the right time, and data allows you to do that but then you also have to make an emotional connection. That’s what creative allows you to do. So you really have to rely on both.

Rudy:               Yeah. The tough part is, and by the way, if you’re in your car, you can also be listening to, you know, a podcast.

Tim:                 That’s right.

Rudy:               What do you think that means for us for ad agency revenue? So, for example, all those things you mentioned, it used to be you had your TV, radio, outdoor print, digital, whatever. They’re very buckets. Now it’s very, very splintered. How does that effect, let’s say, your revenue? You’ve got your creative fees, let’s say, or project fees, or whatever you call them when people manage an account, and you have production. Some people mark it up, most people do. How does the splintered media and the lower cost production affected revenue and how you seek out new clients?

Tim:                 Yeah, it’s tough. I mean, honestly, it’s getting tougher every day to make money, and in our world everybody’s saying, “The hourly is dead, that fee based way ad agencies do it is dead. You shouldn’t do it.” But nobody really has a better answer. And in the end, regardless if you’re taking equity or any sort of deal structure that you’re doing, you’re still basing it on how much time you’re going to spend and what the effort’s really worth.

Tim:                 I think the bigger threat is honestly from the brands and how they’re starting to work with agencies more, which is heavily project-based versus AORs seeing a lot of more project and even projects saying, “We want to do a programmatic digital campaign.” Okay, well, that’s the assignment, I get that, but what was the goal? Because you may be completely off and we’re even seeing now that we have two clients now that are big, big brands, and one of them is paying fees for just the ideas of, here’s the product, here’s eight agencies, we’re all going to give you a pitch fee, and then whoever gets it, we’ll go from there.

Tim:                 It’s tough. And we’ve got clients that, you’re in a roster of of agencies and you’re still … You win the pitch and then you’re still pitching within the pitch, like fighting against the other agencies. I would prefer that once you win it, you kind of are a trusted partner and you can help your brand get where they need to be, versus always trying to undercut everybody and lowest price wins kind of deal.

Rudy:               The downside for a client, as far as I can see, is that if you don’t have that relationship, then you’re really not investing in someone who’s looking ahead for you. Because clients are locked into their own daily mess every day. They’re busy. And if you have an agency of record and a good one, hopefully, they’re looking around the corner and they’re researching things that you don’t have time for. Whereas if you’re project based … Well, I shouldn’t say that because Creative Outhouse has always been a project based company, but we still … It’s in certain industries and I research that industry and I do it because I’m a nerd.

Tim:                 Right. Well, that’s the thing as an agency, if you’re a good agency, you’re sort of doing what you’re not being paid to do, which is exactly that. Look around the corner. It feels like it’s going heavily in the project world these days.

Rudy:               And it’s good for some things. But I get that. You get clients, we need this. And then your first question is why? The biggest one is always, “Well, we need a video.” or a series of videos. And you’re always like, “Well, okay, why? What thinking led to this?”

Tim:                 Right. Exactly. What are you trying to do?

Rudy:               And it was inevitably someone in some meetings said, “Let’s do some videos.”

Tim:                 Right. And even more it’s usually, “We want a viral video.” Okay, let me cue that up.

Rudy:               Yes. It’s like going to a music writer, hey, write a hit song.

Tim:                 Yes, that’s right.

Rudy:               Sure.

Tim:                 We just need a big number one hit.

Rudy:               So you have these project things you don’t know, you can’t project. It’s harder to project revenue wise. How does that change how you staff?

Tim:                 I mean, that’s definitely the hardest. Especially projects. Exactly what you said. It’s very important to find the very best people of what they do and to get the smartest people in the room. And when you go project-based, it’s harder to staff. You end up trying to keep the smartest people and keep a core group of that, and you’re always kind of juggling, how long is this project? What is this worth? What’s happening? And you’re also, of course, spending half your time doing estimates and SOWs and all that kind of stuff. But the staffing’s the hardest part. I mean, if you can’t predict the income, you can’t really staff for it.

Rudy:               So I wondered this myself because, again, you and I both have a picture of the way it was, and maybe our industry is becoming something completely different. And how we work with a client or an industry is completely different. I don’t know the answer to that, so far I’m at the question.

Tim:                 No, I think that’s everybody’s question. Again, everybody’s talking about financial model is dead, the way that we work is dead, the way all this stuff, but nobody has the … But the new thing is, and the right way is-

Rudy:               But it’s still needed.

Tim:                 It’s still needed. Somebody upstairs was just telling me that his friend started doing memes about six or seven years ago and has gotten, I don’t know, a million followers or something like that, and so now he’s broken off. He’s getting like 100,000 a month from Bud Light just to-

Rudy:               That’s great.

Tim:                 … Kind of be an influencer of it, I guess.

Rudy:               And a meme is essentially a headline with a visual.

Tim:                 Exactly. Yeah.

Rudy:               Yeah.

Tim:                 It’s a very exciting time because there are just so many channels and so many ways. But trying to, like you say, see around the corner, and half the time for us, I mean around the corner for me is figuring out what the new buzz word is for … It used to be guerrilla marketing, now it’s experiential marketing, used to be word of mouth, now it’s social. It’s like, “Oh, so that’s that, and that’s that, and that’s that.”

Rudy:               It’s the term, right? How is pitching new business change in this era?

Tim:                 The general ask is come in and show us what you guys can do. Show us your capabilities. But I will translate that for you, and people probably know this, but the translation of that is come in and show us what you can do for me. They really don’t care what you can do. The death trap is to sit there in the room and talk about, here’s us and here’s us and here’s what we’ve done and look what we’ve done and here’s, we’ve done this and you end the meeting and that’s it. Because they’re really wanting to get to the part of, we’ve thought about your business and here’s what we think. And it’s hard to do in new business pitch because you’re, again, collaborating and stuff. But that’s sort of rule number one. And the rule number two, which I learned the hard way over in new business was to be yourself.

Tim:                 So, as we grew, we got calls from financial or healthcare or stuff like that and we’d try and transform ourselves into, oh, we won’t show the crazy creative work. We’ll show on the conservative work because they’re are bank. And then we’d inevitably misstep there and you end up … If you do lose, you ended up going, “Well, dang what if I’d actually shown them who we are?” I mean, they come to you for a reason, so you kind of have to be yourself and win or lose, put it on the line, put your flag in the ground and say, “This is what we do, this is who we are as our culture, and if you think that you would match with us, great.”

Rudy:               Yeah. But it’s sort of like finding any relationship. A friend, a spouse. It’s like, there are people who are not going to make the cut, or you won’t make the cut with them.

Tim:                 Right. It’s very good.

Rudy:               But when you find someone that works, you work well together. So that’s a good question, I wanted to ask you about new business because that’s just sort of driving me crazy. What can you do for me? Yes, of course. I had someone explain it to me once. You don’t go to the doctor with a broken leg and he explains how he fixed someone else’s broken leg.

Tim:                 Right, right.

Rudy:               But at the same time, yeah, you arrive on a solution for a client working with the client, because they know their internal stuff and you don’t. But at the same time now they’re saying, “Hey, how are you going to fix our broken leg when you nothing about our leg?”

Tim:                 Right.

Rudy:               How do you balance that? How do you balance the, we want to show you we really care, we do want to work with you, here’s some thoughts. But at the same time, we don’t know as much about you as we need to.

Tim:                 Right. We don’t know as much about you as we need to. We’d love to put in three months of research to even figure it out. But you know what? We’re working for the clients who were paying us.

Rudy:               Thank you for saying that, by the way. Prioritize the people who pay you because they’re your clients.

Tim:                 They’re our clients. We have the business running. So it’s that and it’s the, everybody’s on the hole, never do spec, don’t do spec. But everybody does some form of spec. I mean we’ll take it as far as creative, but you’ve got to at least get down the line to show them that we took some time, we looked at the problem, here is how we would solve the problem, and this may not be the answer, but I’m telling you this is our sort of process that we get there, and here’s what we got to in the few weeks that we had. And again, we may be on the money but we’re probably not, but if you work with us, collaborate with us, we’ll do the same process and we’ll get to the right answer.

Rudy:               You came from an art director background.

Tim:                 Right.

Rudy:               And now you’re a president.

Tim:                 Right.

Rudy:               You sold out.

Tim:                 That’s right. That’s right.

Rudy:               What brought that switch?

Tim:                 That’s a very easy story. Basically, when Chris and I started Breen Smith, our small agency, years back, someone had to act like they were the adult, and someone had to act like they were the creative.

Rudy:               And it wasn’t going to be Chris.

Tim:                 And it wasn’t going to be Chris. I had the sports coat so it was me. I accidentally fell into it. The truth is we crossed over and both did both at all times. We sort of do now. I find some creative joy in the business side of it and how the business, sort of what we’re talking about, the business models and how are we going to fix it and that kind of stuff. I’ll still stick my nose in creative, unfortunately for these guys.

Rudy:               So I want to get into the Atlanta United case study that’s become the gold standard, I think, for any professional sports team, as I look around, any city thinking of launching a sports team is looking at Atlanta and trying to hyper-analyze what you guys have done here. But a little background for listeners, because I think outside of Atlanta it’s not well known.

Rudy:               The Atlanta United is in its third year as part of major league soccer, and in just three years they have the top five single game attendance of all time. Three years, top five of all time. Last year about a quarter of all the gear sales in MLS was for the Atlanta United. Going to an Atlanta United game is the thing to do here. There are times when there have been more people at an Atlanta United game than at a World Cup game, and it is an amazing experience, even if you don’t like soccer.

Rudy:               So here’s what you guys were able to accomplish. You were able to take and launch a franchise and fill up a football stadium, and it wasn’t football. It was soccer in the heart of college football world, and turn it into just this movement, which has been outstanding. So how did you do that? What were the steps that made that possible?

Tim:                 I always say it’ll be our best case study ever, but I’ll start by giving credit to the AU team because Arthur Blank, first of all, was really smart in bringing in true marketing people from Nike and Adidas, and folks who really knew what they were doing. It wasn’t a, “Oh, you’ve been here at the organization for a while, why don’t you try marketing? You seem to like it.”

Tim:                 Across his organization, Falcons and with AU, he brought in some super smart people, so they get a ton of credit on it. My favorite stat is that we have a higher attendance than any pro sports team in America, in any league except for NFL. So any baseball team, any basketball team-

Rudy:               And again, that’s soccer.

Tim:                 That’s soccer.

Rudy:               In the USA.

Tim:                 Yeah, in football, to your point, college football land. I give him a ton of credit too, because when we got the account, there was no team, they were still building the stadium, et cetera. But their goal and their challenge to us was not to sell tickets. It was to build a fan for three to five years from now. So the 14 year old so that when he’s 17 he’s going to be a fan, or when, you know, 17 year old has money to buy tickets, he’s going to be a fan. So it was nothing about, we need to reach this amount of tickets in this amount of time, or any of that stuff. It was a true big, broad, smart, again, they’re very smart, so here’s what we need to do.

Tim:                 They challenged us to come up with rituals, and traditions, and-

Rudy:               God, how fun is that?

Tim:                 I know, so great. It’s really cultural stuff. Sort of help them educate the southern audience on how to go to a soccer game. What happens, what happens before the game? What does tailgate look like compared to football? Is it different? How are you a fan? How do you display the logo? Like how do you show people you’re a fan of AU? They went and worked with all the supporter groups and really did a lot of in work there.

Tim:                 But what our pitch to them was to really make the city a part of the team. And I know it’s really subtle, it’s like ad stuff, but if you look on the billboards, you’ll see unite and conquer. Unite will always be over the fans and the city, and the conquer will always be over the teams, you know? And that’s probably a little bit deep that a lot of people just wouldn’t notice.

Tim:                 But it’s really, we took the media and got it as low to the ground as could in terms of wrapping buses and trains, and painting buildings and murals, and that kind of stuff, and their social team went out and did all the festivals, and then in the end you’ve got to sell tickets and that’s a digital. I’ve worked with a lot of sports teams that they kind of feel like, “Oh, we know what we’re doing and you guys have the funny crayons over there.”

Rudy:               The funny crayons.

Tim:                 “Make us something kind of cool for a look this year, we just need a look.” And these guys are more about true partners and reaching the goals, having the great problem, it’s not Thursday and how are we going to sell out the game, how are we going to sell more tickets? It is Tuesday and the game’s sold out and we’ve got this media, so what do we do with it? It’s a very different problem. Be our best case study ever. We can’t really top it, I’m afraid.

Rudy:               I’m not sure anybody can really, not many people can. I love that your first job was to teach people how to be fans. That’s fantastic. What a great assignment.

Tim:                 Yeah it was a great assignment. We looked at mascots, so we have a mascot, and took them ideas for mascots and they were smart enough to say “No, let’s go with a more of a symbol.” Which was the golden spike, and how do we interact? How does that come to life? And people sign it before they go in the stadium, they carry it down. So that’s like a tradition that is now and we bring a celebrity or somebody in to knock it in. The man of the match afterwards has the golden spike, and it’s just interwoven and now it’s on a shirt, and I’ve got a shirt, has nothing but a golden spike on it. I’ll walk around town and like, “Hey you, hey you.” Pretty cool.

Rudy:               And you go around town and people are wearing Atlanta United shirts.

Tim:                 Yeah.

Rudy:               Let me tell you, just Atlanta is a big transplant town and you will see a car with, let’s say, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Atlanta United, because they didn’t have a soccer team, and now they do. Now they feel like they’re part of Atlanta.

Tim:                 Agreed. I think that’s one of the keys is just people want to have their Atlanta team, but they have their Boston team that’s a baseball team or hockey or something, so they wanted to claim something of Atlanta. I think that’s been a key part of it, I really do. There’s neighborhood pride, there’s city pride, all of that.

Tim:                 I just got back … I took my car in this morning to the Ford dealership, and three people had on Atlanta United stuff. Atlanta United jacket or whatever. Talking about new business, we go and pitch, if we go around town it’s great, or even southeast. We almost have the stamp of approval. “Oh, you guys work with Atlanta United?” But we go up to the Bethesda, Maryland or something where you have to explain, “No, really. It’s everywhere. You’re not going to believe how big this thing is.”

Rudy:               When I travel, I tell people like, “Really? You don’t believe how big soccer is in the South?”

Tim:                 Yeah. In the South. I did a presentation in New York, and this was early on about breaking the records, and stuff and I had people from Portland coming up after me explaining to me that Atlanta was not a soccer town, that Portland was the king and that I didn’t know I was talking about. I was like “No, those are real stats that I just put up.” We actually have a much bigger soccer presence than you guys.

Rudy:               It’s a phenomenon. We talked about customer experience. Going to games, take my wife to games, not a sports fan at all, but she loves the games because it’s not like any other sport. It’s so much more fun, and the experience is so much more fun.

Tim:                 That’s right.

Rudy:               A lot of it is people, there are certain chants that you’ve taught, there are certain dances and moves, and everybody just … The whole crowd goes crazy.

Tim:                 Goes crazy. The experience is the key. And sports teams has been trying to move into experience for a while in building experiences outside of the stadium, inside the stadium, and everything. But I just think it resonates so well with, it’s a 90 minute game, there’s no timeouts, there’s energy the whole time. I mean, nobody even sits down at the games. Everybody’s standing.

Rudy:               Yeah. So here’s an interesting thing. Went to the games back in June, and it’s pride month. Whole stadium, pride colors, pride flags. The players with pride flags. I’ve never seen that in a professional sports.

Tim:                 I know.

Rudy:               Baseball doesn’t do it. Basketball doesn’t do it. I don’t know if-

Tim:                 NFL doesn’t do it.

Rudy:               Well, to be fair with the NFL, it’s not in June.

Tim:                 That’s true.

Rudy:               But I don’t know if they’d it if they were in June. How is this team different? How does that happen? I love the fact that they live up to their name, the United, it’s everyone.

Tim:                 It is everyone.

Rudy:               But everybody in the crowd was cheering, screaming, didn’t matter. And there’s this pride stuff. What do you attribute that to?

Tim:                 You know, again, I think it’s the organization. They are open. It is United. That was a directive from the start. It is for everybody. It is an inclusion for everybody, in all the swag that they’re selling on the street, it has everything from rainbows to whatever. So it’s great. And they let everybody participate in it, you know? You see all sorts of signs and the flags at the end. I love the bless your heart flag down at the end, but I don’t know if you guys watch it on television or come to a game, like just the flags that show all the supporter groups, and it’s just an amazing experience.

Rudy:               I wanted to ask you about the supporter groups, because they’re huge.

Tim:                 They’re huge, yeah.

Rudy:               And they have that whole section that goes bananas. They won’t stop moving the whole time. The big thing that I see happening is brands giving away a piece of their brand to advocates, customers, supporter groups. How big a part do the supporter groups play in the success of this?

Tim:                 Oh, they’re huge. Going back to the education, like they were almost enlisted by AU to teach the crowds the chants. Like just that alone, here’s, again, here’s how you act at a soccer game and they were the core fans, and that was set up very purposeful. They’re good.

Tim:                 The bottom up is definitely how brands are being built now. There is no more television broadcast down, and we try and do that with all our brands. From bringing in local artists, graffiti artists, or even subculture nationwide type situations and elevating that up into the brand because that’s, again, that’s how brands are being built now.

Rudy:               What are the broader learnings you have from the success of the Atlanta United?

Tim:                 Well, it’s a two part deal. We have brands that come to us that want to do the tactics. We want to sell the tickets, we want to sell the product. Everybody has a bottom line. But we push them that you have to tell the story, tell the bigger why people like you. And then we actually have some clients that come that are struggling with their brand and we push them to push the retail, push the sales, push the so-and-so. You’ve got to … It’s a two headed monster. It really doesn’t work well if you just do one or the other. That’s the big lesson, I think.

Rudy:               Both things are true. You have to sell stuff, but you also have to create a reason for people to be committed to you so that they’ll ultimately buy stuff.

Tim:                 Right. And if you’re not doing that, you have no loyalty, and they’re onto the next thing. Who’s the next cheapest guys?

Rudy:               I want to talk about this because actually it made an impact on me getting off the train to go to a game. You guys created a manifesto for the Atlanta United and part of it, I’m going to read it, it’s a big thing, it’s very well written. Tell Chris I said that.

Tim:                 Yeah.

Rudy:               And it says, “When we bleed, you bleed. When we celebrate, you celebrate. Every gut wrenching loss, every glorious win.” So right there you’re saying, “Hey, we’re going to lose sometimes.” And it stinks, but you’re still going to like the game.

Tim:                 That’s right.

Rudy:               And you don’t see that … And I love that whole, everybody talks about authenticity, and what that means is, essentially, you have to be vulnerable, you have to be honest. And that’s honest. We’re going lose sometimes. And you don’t see that in sports teams-

Tim:                 You don’t. No. Or brands.

Rudy:               How did you-

Tim:                 Everybody wants to say, “We’re the best and we’re going to be the best.”

Rudy:               Yeah, always onto our politicians.

Tim:                 Always.

Rudy:               How did you get licensed to do that? Did you propose that? What was the story with that whole idea of, “Hey, it’s about the experience. It’s not about winning and losing, but really it’s about, you’re going to really love this.”

Tim:                 Right, right. And this was early on, with the client, collaborating with them. We love manifestos. Chris does. Chris is a manifesto monster, man. He can write a manifesto, but a lot of times we’ll write those manifestos to almost sell in different ideas, and that will end up becoming the campaigns. A lot of clients that we work with, it’s on the wall in their office and not necessarily out there. Because getting your folks to believe in what you’re doing in your company is as important as getting your customers to know what you’re doing. So they’re smart and they, again, just having the big picture and, and knowing, yeah, we are going to lose some times, but in the end we’re trying to unite a city and get everybody together on the same team.

Rudy:               That’s the big mission of Atlanta United, to unite the city. Well, that’s why. That’s their purpose, and that’s why they’re succeeding.

Tim:                 That’s right.

Rudy:               Has the case study opened doors for you?

Tim:                 It has. Like I say, especially in the region, if we had Atlanta United and bring that up, it’s a housekeeping seal of approval because it’s so big. We work harder when we’re out of town and say, “Here’s what we did and here’s the reasons we believe it worked, et cetera.” But it’s been great. We go on talks with them and talk about leadership, and they’re very open to everything. It’s definitely opened doors and I can say, “Hey, we’ve got great seats to Atlanta United. How would you like to come sit and talk?” So that doesn’t hurt either.

Rudy:               No, it’s a great experience. If anybody’s ever in Atlanta, check it out. So general questions, just a couple, just to finish up. So you look over the next few years, all the changes going on, what excites you the most, and what scares you the most?

Tim:                 It’s so exciting to me that there’s just so many ways to be creative. One of the bigger things going on right now, of course, is like … Well, I guess you’d call it experiential, but you set up something and that’s video, and the experience becomes the video that gets shared, et cetera. And that’s been fun. Some of the stuff that we’re shooting now, being the old school guy, I’m like, “I wrote the script, and then we cast the talent.” And et cetera. And all that is so out the window, it’s following people around, and grabbing stuff, and putting together on the run, and it just keeps you on your toes.

Tim:                 So I love that part. We preach the culture here of hunger, hustle and blow shit up. That’s what our kind of pillars are here, and it’s really about hunger of wanting to do it, getting it done. Hustle is really the finding opportunities where other folks don’t see them, which is always … You’ve got to have some level of disruption to get noticed and make things work.

Tim:                 Then the scary part is really just the, how are the brands going to treat the agencies moving forward? We’ve got to somehow get back to the trusted partner because we can do all the creative stuff and everything if we have time to think about it, and think about your business. But everybody’s trying to figure that out. The brands are, the CMOs are, we are. Everyone is, but that’s the scary part. Yeah.

Rudy:               I think you’ll have successful brands who know how to work with an agency, and then you’ll have everyone else who’ll look at them and go, “What are they doing differently?”

Tim:                 Right, right.

Rudy:               So maybe that’ll change.

Tim:                 Right. Hopefully.

Rudy:               Hey Tim, thanks for taking the time. This has been a lot of fun.

Tim:                 It was great, it was great. I appreciate you having me.

Rudy:               And hopefully I get some of those tickets that you mentioned, to United.

Tim:                 That’s right. That’s right.

Rudy:               Thanks.

Tim:                 We’ll set that up.

Rudy:               Hey, thanks for listening to Marketing Upheaval, from Creative Outhouse. If you want to learn more about Chemistry and the work they’re doing, visit their website at chemistryagency.com. For show notes, previous episodes, and previews to upcoming episodes, visit us at creativeouthouse.com/podcast. And if you liked this podcast, please give it five stars. Subscribe and share it with your friends. This show is produced by Susan Cooper. Special thanks to Gopal Swamy for creating our Earcon and to Jason Shabbat for his ongoing audio support. Well, that’s it for this episode of Marketing Upheaval. Remember, if the current state of marketing has got you confused, don’t worry. It’ll all change. See you.


Podcast credits:

Host: Rudy Fernandez

Producer and Cover Art: Susan Cooper

Earcon sound design: Gopal Swamy

Audio Consultant: Jason Shablik

Post production provided by: Music Radio Creative

Hosting provided by: Buzzsprout