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Current One Club chair and former McKinney ECD David Baldwin has teamed with former McKinney GCD Bob Ranew to launch a new Durham, N.C.-based "creative practice" called Baldwin&.
"We call it a creative practice because we 're interested in doing advertising, design and branded content solutions," says Baldwin, whose past projects include Audi's "Art of the Heist" and the launch of Travelocity's Gnome campaign. "Everyone here is considered a creative. If you're a strategic planner, you're still a creative strategic planner."
While the shop officially launched in late December, a lot of Baldwin's recent time has been occupied by his role as an executive producer on Art & Copy, the Doug Pray-directed documentary that debuted at Sundance and shines a light on the ad business with interviews with folks like Dan Wieden, Hal Riney and George Lois. It's exactly the type of project Baldwin sees the new shop being creatively invested in. "Ideally, we'd like it to be a 50/50 split between doing work for our own brands and others'."
Right now the agency has a population of six that includes creatives, a designer, a strategic planner and an accounts person and is currently signed up for project-based work for troubled telecom giant Nortel. "We're taking care of their post-bankruptcy communications, helping them get back on track as a company with a lot of positive things going for it that has had trouble in the current economic climate," says Baldwin. "It's a perfect client for us, as we see ourselves as change agents and look forward to working with them more."
Of course we’re an advertising agency. There’s no denying it. But damned if we don’t spend at least half our time doing things other than advertising. Maybe because we started in the valley of the economic crash of 2009, it made us rethink what an agency had to be to not only survive but thrive in a difficult time. We had the crazy idea that we were going to double our staff from our original number every year for five years, and we’re well on our way. According to the original plan, we should be 32 people in January 2014. We’re currently 29 people as of this writing. Our revenue grew 70% last year, and we attracted a bunch of new projects and a few new accounts.