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The holiday season means something different to everybody. For some, it’s about snowball fights with friends and baking cookies with grandma. For others, it’s all about celebrating traditions and spending time with family. And for us at AMP, the holidays are when we as an agency get to show appreciation for our wonderful clients with a gift of our very own creation. It really has become quite the tradition – using our agency’s creative capabilities to craft something our clients can truly enjoy. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at what we made for our clients in 2018. We feel these custom-made gifts are a great way for us to connect with clients during the holidays in a way that reflects who we are at AMP. But with any good tradition, there comes a time when things need to be shaken up. That’s why instead of crafting a creatively thoughtful gift this year, we decided to do something different; something a smidge outside the box; something a bit, well, naughty. This past holiday, AMP rebranded coal as the hottest gift of the season and sent it to some of our clients on the East Coast. WHEN THINGS WENT “BAD” It all began in the heat of summer. It was mid-July, temperatures were high, and our Boston creative team thought “hey – let’s talk winter.” Because in an agency setting, timing is everything, especially when it comes to the creative process. As a team, we needed to give ourselves enough opportunity to ideate on something people would not only enjoy, but that would stick out to them amongst other gifts they’d receive. That’s why in order to get things right, the first of many brainstorming sessions started five months ahead of the holiday season. During that first brainstorming session, COAL was one of the very first concepts we came up with – although we didn’t envision the luxury branding, bold copy and seamless UX design that came out of this project right from the get-go. We simply liked the idea of elevating something from bad to badass, and we felt that a lump of coal could be a cool place to start. Since we didn’t just want to go with our first thought, so we continued to think up as many festive ideas as we could for our holiday gift. There was talk of Mrs. Claus taking over the season, mention of making a festive video game, and some serious consideration for custom-branded hot sauce. Yet after compiling our ideas into a list as long as Santa’s, COAL still remained at the very top. So we rolled with it. CHISELING AWAY With our concept in place, we knew we needed to capture the essence of COAL in a shareable format. So after lengthy discussions about what COAL truly means and days spent deciphering exactly how we wanted to bring this experience to life, we were ready to begin crafting a brand that would encourage people to “Embody Naughty” at every possible touchpoint. Building out the COAL brand began with pinning first, second and third drafts of logo exploration on a wall for full-scale critiques. From there, we sourced artists in France to craft our COAL resin cubes, tracked down decadent chocolates our clients could devour, built an eCommerce web experience from scratch, captured the look of COAL in black and white photography, and designed the perfect packaging to tie everything together. As everything came to life, we also shot an anthem video that could live on our eCommerce site and across social. Written, directed, filmed and produced entirely in-house, our COAL video took a total of four days to film, but those days were scattered throughout many late nights and lunch breaks. Once final video edits were made and the last caption for the @coal_by_amp Instagram was written, everything was ready to be sent to clients and shared with the world. THE OUTCOME By mid-December, our website was launched, our Instagram was live, and our clients were given the hottest gift of the holiday season as a token of our appreciation. Our full list of deliverables included an anthem video, an “eComm” microsite, a faux Instagram page, and a mailed COAL branded package containing a designed COAL card, a resin coal paperweight, high-end chocolates with an AMP-branded ribbon, and a nice bottle of wine with a black label. All in all, we’re quite proud of this project. Not only was COAL a unique way for us to express our appreciation for our clients, but it illustrates that when you work in a creative environment, sometimes, it’s good to be defiant. Want to score yourself a spot on the naughty list? Check out all COAL has to offer here.
The year was 2018. Meghan Markle married into the British Royal Family, Mamma Mia 2! Here We Go Again hit theaters, and AMP Agency kick-started efforts that grew into its Volunteer & Giving Program. It all began when program co-founders Alyssa McBryar and Thalia Rivera Ortiz expressed the desire to start a formal volunteer and giving practice in the AMP Boston office. Met with excitement from executive management, McBryar and Ortiz started working together to source local organizations for AMP to support, set up volunteer and giving opportunities, and engage employees on a monthly basis. Our program’s first year was well-received by Boston AMPers, finding successes in both in-office and out-of-office efforts. Since then, our Volunteer & Giving Program has expanded to AMP offices across the country, unifying our volunteer efforts and establishing them as a strength of our agency. AMP has donated 535 hours across 19 organizations, helping nearly 12,000 people throughout the country, and counting. The way it works. In an effort to align with employee values and make the AMP Volunteer & Giving Program more comprehensive and intentional, we’ve established quarterly cause themes based on top causes near and dear to our employees’ hearts. These themes unify efforts nationally and help us measure meaningful impact in the following areas: (Q1) Hunger & Homelessness, (Q2) Sustainability, (Q3) Health, Wellness, and Disabilities and (Q4) Children. So far, so good. As we’re wrapping up the third quarter of the year, we are excited to share the success we’ve seen through our volunteer program – from the number of volunteers who have participated, the lives we have helped, and the impact we’ve had on the planet. Fighting hunger and homelessness. Q1 saw us serve 100 hours across 5 hunger- and homelessness-focused organizations, creating a positive impact on 2,100 people. With Cradles to Crayons, we collectively donated 60 items and helped sort even more clothes and toys in the organization’s warehouse for 142 children in need. At the Greater Boston Food Bank, we unloaded 4,000+ lbs of food that were then set up in the cafeteria of the Orchard Gardens school so parents & families in need could ‘shop’ for free food. This helped relieve hunger for over 430 adults, children, and seniors. We also helped distribute over 20 Cradles to Crayons ‘kid packs’ filled with essentials to caretakers in the same space. As an in-office effort, we collectively donated 100+ essential items to poor and homeless women and their children through Rosie’s Place. For the Salvation Army, we donated enough clothes to help 200 people in need. With FareStart, we packed over 100 lunches and prepared dinners and desserts that were ultimately served to approximately 1,100 people in need through social service and school programs. Taking care of the planet. Turning our focus toward sustainability in Q2, we volunteered 295 hours at 6 organizations, helping not only 130 people, but the planet as a whole. For the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, we collected 40 special occasion dresses in our office and donated them to the Big Sister’s Dream Dress Drive. Through this program, young girls can go “shopping” for a dress that will make them feel special on big days from Quiceneras to Prom. With the Fenway Park Green Team, we collected over 10 huge bags of recyclables from ballpark patrons between innings, helping to ensure items made it to the recycling instead of the trash or the ground. We helped clean up the Mass Audubon Society nature properties at their Mattapan location. This included trimming back branches from the fence, and filling multiple large bags with trash from the street and the property. As an in-office effort, AMPers took part in a Sustainability Challenge. Throughout the course of a week, we made the commitment to form more sustainable daily habits, like avoiding single-use plastics, using public transit, and turning off our laptops each day. We managed to keep over 500 items out of landfills by using reusable items, saved nearly 50,000 gallons of water by eating over 100 meatless meals, and prevented the emission of over 200 pounds of greenhouse gas by taking alternative transportation. Working with Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, we were able to provide hot, nutritious meals and survival services to low-income families and those experiencing homelessness. As part of Heal the Bay, we worked with over 500 volunteers over the course of an hour to clean up Redondo Beach, removing a total of 130lbs of trash from the shore. Leading happy, healthy lives. For Q3, we pivoted our volunteering efforts toward organizations that focus on bettering health, wellness, and inclusivity in our local communities. With the Boston Living Center, we prepared and served meals for over 100 local community members living with HIV. At the Ellie Bloom Special Olympics, we helped coach and cheer on 150 Special Olympics participants at various events throughout their big day. Supporting in style. On top of our volunteer program expansion, 2019 also welcomed the debut of our AMP Volunteer t-shirts. Designed by our very own Rick Dias from our LA office, these shirts have been given out to every AMPer who donates their time participating in our program. And to think, we have a whole quarter left to do some good. So far, it’s been nothing short of a fantastic year for our AMP Volunteering & Giving program. While we’ve already seen great success, there’s still so much more we can do. With the final quarter of 2019 left and many more volunteer opportunities on the horizon, we’re excited to see where our efforts take us next. After all, helping our clients is what brings us together. And together, helping our community is what makes us proud to call ourselves AMP Agency.
This week, Adweek debuted its first-ever Adweek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies list. We’re excited to share that AMP made it! Comprised of organizations from around the world, this select list celebrates agencies of all sizes who have achieved significant financial growth over the past three years and whose industry presence is on the rise. Doug Zanger, Adweek senior editor for creativity and agencies, shared, “We are thrilled to be presenting this honor to a wide range of successful agencies covering 21 different disciplines. From full-service to performance, creative consultancies to experiential, we see a very bright future for agencies and this award is a testament to these award winners’ drive and dedication to the industry.” The Growth That Got Us Here Our growth starts with our people. When our CEO, Gary Colen co-founded AMP in 1994 (headquartered in his garage – true story), we started off as a regional experiential agency focused on engagement with college students and grew to be one of the most respected college activation agencies in the country. Since then, AMP has transformed into an award-winning, digital-first, full-service marketing agency that continues to expand through organic growth and mergers & acquisitions. From our humble beginnings, the agency is now over 300 talented people across our offices in Boston, New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles. We stay tightly connected to our sister agency Adlucent in Austin, TX, a group of 100+ experienced performance marketers that gives us and our partners a competitive edge in ecommerce solutions. The entrepreneurial spirit from our co-founders continues to be a driving force within the agency and fuels our passion to create unconventional ideas that grow brands. That’s why our growth is truly a testament of our people and the platforms created within our company. We’ve been able to attract an amazing staff that’s courageous, collaborative, genuinely curious to explore beyond the status quo and hungry to make a difference. Collectively, we share a continued vision to evolve that keeps us inspired to not only develop new capabilities as an agency, but become a place where marketers can work, learn and lead through many industry transformations. Over the last three years, our development has led to many new strategic partnerships. Gary sums it up best, “Clients come to us because in today’s complex marketing landscape, they need a partner with a radical approach to creativity. We enable small, intensely integrated teams with varied skill sets. Our teams question industry norms, allowing us to connect disparate dots in new, unexpected ways and drive businesses forward.” Our expansion is not growth for the sake of growth. We’re honing in on the evolution of communication channels, leveraging data and advanced measurement capabilities, designing custom experiences, and applying creativity to everything we do while not forgetting the power of an experiential campaign. We’re excited to continue to create strong, groundbreaking work for our clients, take on new brand partnerships and projects throughout the process, and welcome new talent along the way. Now, We’d Like to Say Thank You Being featured on Adweek's list of the 100 Fastest Growing Agencies as an established mid-sized agency with 20 years in the industry is a great accomplishment. We’re very proud. But more importantly, we’re in this game for our clients and helping them deliver. It’s the trust and confidence these partnerships have put into our capabilities that has catapulted us into the agency we are today, and for that, we could not be more grateful. Thank you to every client who has supported us, both since our founding in 1994 and throughout these past three years. Looking back at how much our agency has grown, we could not be more proud. And when it comes to looking toward where we’re headed, all we can say is: we’re amped.