Wow. I can’t believe I just typed that.
We just found out we won an IAC award and we’re all freaking out. Carly always says as a company we are small but mighty. To me, this proves that.
We didn’t need this to validate our first three years as a company. We didn’t need this to feel better about our work. We definitely didn’t need this to boost sales. All that aside, it feels pretty good to be able to call ourselves an award-winning agency. (Wow! The first time I have written that.)
Can’t help but feel like David taking down Goliath. There are 7 of us now which is nothing close to size of many of the agencies and organizations up for this award.
A lot of our work from the past year has been great and just as good as this campaign. The story of how this campaign came together is one that is especially cool to me. It took 8 months, from a handshake at SXSW into what you see today. There were many meetings, decisions, conversations, and many, many hours of pro bono work before we were asked to work on this larger campaign.
Here’s the short version:
Josh has been passionate about working with Extra Life since he joined 2930 Creative. We had a 2930 Extra Life marathon team for a few years. Early last year we met JR Honeycutt and started doing some pro bono work for DFW Nerd Night. He introduced us to Stefani D’Angelo and the local Dallas chapter of Extra Life. We met with the local program director and saw a few things we could help them with as part of our Give Back initiative. We offered to help anyway we could as pro bono work because we believed in the cause. A few weeks later we met the president of Extra Life at SXSW Gaming. He asked to set a meeting with all of us. Unfortunately, we were never able to get that scheduled.
We continued with the local campaign anyway. We met for months and worked on many ideas. We weren’t sure how we would find time to create this campaign since it was pro bono. We hired John Oakley, a freelance designer and photographer, to execute the ideas while we worked on other things. We had found our answer to the time problem. Finally after months we showed those ideas to our local contact. Those ideas for the local branch made their way up to the national Extra Life office in Utah.
The national office reached out and asked for a few revisions because they’d like to use them. We were stoked. The meeting we couldn’t get scheduled months before was finally happening. A few weeks later they said they had a national campaign coming up and wanted to hire us to work on it; a totally new idea from the pro-bono campaign we previously did.
The timing of that offer was awful. Carly and I had just gotten married. We were supposed to go on our honeymoon the week they needed everything finished. Ashley was in the middle of buying a house.
Ultimately we all decided to just make it work. We postponed our trip by a week and Ashley continued working around all paperwork as she and her husband closed on their house. For an already small agency, large life events just make creative work that much more challenging.
Extra Life had a pretty demanding turn around with a lot of required assets but we were determined to make the most of this.
Our team absolutely delivered. It’s easy to say all of this now that we have won an award, but even when we finished it we were all extremely proud. This was the first campaign we had all worked on as a team. We had barely hired everyone on at that point, so it’s still crazy to look back and say “We did this, and we did it together.”
My advice for small agencies wanting award-winning campaigns:
1. Don’t chase the award, chase the project and the work. The award will follow. We loved the Extra Life cause and the people who work hard every day to help children and their families. Working on this campaign was an honor and a privilege.
2. Don’t be afraid to take on pro-bono work. So many agencies shy away from helping nonprofit organizations. Had we not devoted some of our time volunteering, the larger opportunities would have never come our way. Giving Back and Being Kind will always be rewarded.
3. Be persistent and patient! Had we not kept working with and talking to the local Extra Life team, the project would have never left the ground. Our relationship with Extra Life might have ended after SXSW last year.
4. Lean into the challenge. A wedding, a first home, and an almost complete remote team with a thousand of miles between us (HQ in Dallas, Ashley in OKC, and Josh in Tallahassee) could have killed this campaign. Carly and I realized that we could postpone our road trip, but this was an opportunity that absolutely could not wait. We all pushed forward and gave it our absolute best. The results were more than any of us could have hoped.
5. Be proud, no matter what size your agency is or what budget you may have. Be proud of your team, be proud of your accomplishments, and be proud of your work.
We are so excited for our first award as an agency. Thank you for your continued support. We hope to bring more exciting news in the future.