Cam­paigns that clicked

DAVID DROGA SHARES FIVE AD­VER­TIS­ING INI­TIA­TIVES THAT HAVE BEEN KEY TO HIS COM­PANY’S SUC­CESS.

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Ecko Unltd “STILL FREE” 2006

Droga5’s first work was a bold buzz-builder that didn’t ap­pear to be an ad. In a grainy video, fash­ion CEO Marc Ecko hops a fence and seems to spray graf­fiti on Air Force One. It wasn’t real, but CNN and oth­ers bit, which mas­sively am­pli­fied the reach of the low-bud­get cam­paign. “Be­fore the term ‘vi­ral video’ came out,” says Droga, “we used the mass me­dia to our ad­van­tage.”

Jewish Coun­cil for Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­search “THE GREAT SCH­LEP” 2008

Dur­ing the 2008 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Droga5 came up with a pro-obama cam­paign in­tended to sway the votes of el­derly Jewish vot­ers in the cru­cial swing state of Florida. The hi­lar­i­ous spots, star­ring co­me­dian Sarah Sil­ver­man, were aimed not at the vot­ers them­selves, but rather at the demo most likely to com­mand their un­di­vided at­ten­tion: their grand­chil­dren.

Mi­crosoft “DECODE JAY Z” 2009

Mi­crosoft wanted to at­tract younger users to its Bing Maps. Jay Z wanted to pro­mote his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. So Droga5 cooked up an un­usual, mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial dou­ble cam­paign. “You can make part­ner­ships where part­ner­ships never ex­isted,” says Droga. “Brands you’d usu­ally have to pay mil­lions of dol­lars will par­tic­i­pate for noth­ing, be­cause they want to be part of some­thing cool.”

Pru­den­tial “DAY ONE” 2011

When the in­sur­ance gi­ant hired Droga5, there were fears—both from in­dus­try watch­ers and in­ter­nal staff—that it might di­min­ish Droga’s cool. “Every­body said, ‘You’ll ruin the agency,’” Droga re­calls. “But no mat­ter what the cat­e­gory, I’ll put our thinkers up against any­body’s.” The re­sult was a se­ries of pow­er­ful mini doc­u­men­taries in which peo­ple share hopes and fears about re­tire­ment.

Un­der Ar­mour “I WILL WHAT I WANT” 2014

The ath­letic-gear com­pany had a prob­lem. “Women,” says Droga5 strat­egy chief Jonny Bauer, “thought the brand was for meat­heads.” To pro­mote Un­der Ar­mour’s ef­forts to make items more fe­male-friendly, Droga5 made ads with bal­let dancer Misty Copeland. “Cus­tomers needed to know that the prod­uct had [truly] changed,” he says. “It wasn’t just ‘Make it pink.’”

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