by Wesley Kays-Henry
Early this week, on a beautiful summer Tuesday, fellow producer Craig Oppenheimer and I took to the mean streets of Philadelphia to meet with some local advertising agencies. Craig and I both live in Pennsport, home to the famous Federal Donuts, so it was a no-brainer for us to bring a few of these amazing confectionery delights to our first meeting at Agency51.
Agency51 is a full-service ad agency with clients like Hilton, Alabama Credit Union and Cox Communications. We arrived, armed with the donuts and a box of coffee, to the beautiful Public Ledger Building—an amazing steel neoclassical structure that used to house one of the countries most popular newspapers, the Public Ledger. I was excited to see all the steel doorknobs adorned with beautiful PL insignias; very classy stuff here people.
Craig and I arrived to a handful of creatives trying to start their morning, with no idea about the jaw dropping, mind bending photography they were about to be introduced to. Our gracious host, art director Chris Poole, roused the crew, who broke out of their shells once they got a caffeine and sugar boost. We brought over a dozen books with us to showcase our motion, lifestyle, portraiture, beauty and travel photographers. With an office in Orange County, CA, and the City of Anaheim Tourism Board as a client, Chris immediately pounced on Tom Cwenar’s travel and hospitality work. The group also enjoyed the work of Jody Horton and Daniel Elliot. As we packed up, Chris said we would be hearing from Agency51 very soon. Saying goodbye, we thanked everyone and headed to our next meeting, eight blocks away at Brownstein Group.
With a few minutes before our appointment at Brownstein, Craig and I grabbed a quick lunch, al fresco, and lounged in the beautiful pop-up garden sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The garden is usually just a gravel lot in the middle of the city, but PHS had transformed the space with trees, bushes, flowers, figs, and reclaimed wood walls.
We checked our watches and it was time to meet with Brownstein’s production manager, Nancy Logan. Brownstein works with IKEA, Einstein Healthcare Network and Comcast, and their building is beautiful. Passing through their bright red door in the shadow of City Hall, we headed up to meet Nancy, where she supplied a large conference room. We pulled out our books and had about eight creatives check them out. We learned that their art director Adrian Castillo was featured in Chris Sembrot’s project about Surfers in Philly, which we posted about in July. Since they already knew about WM, we gave them a spiel about our additional services, including our Crew Page, Stock Requests, and Production coordination. We then chatted about the WM photographers they’ve already worked with, who include Jeffrey Totaro, Dom Savini and Ryan Donnell. The group took turns reviewing all the portfolios, with emphasis on Matt Wittmeyer, Nate Luke and Duncan Kendall.
After handing out promos and T-shirts, we packed up and headed across the street to where Tierney currently holds court. We hung out with their secretary, who kindly explained to me what the hell all those buttons on her phone are for. (Answer: mostly for show, she doesn’t really use them). I couldn’t help but notice they had a TON of awards at the front desk; it looked like they were at capacity and will need to upgrade to a new display pretty soon.
We soon found Peg Finucan, their art buyer, who supplied us with, again, a huge conference room. Tierney works with TD Bank, Blue Cross, and PA Liquor Control Board, so we pulled out books appropriate for those clients. The catering from the local philebrities Di Bruno Brothers had already arrived and was a major draw for the creatives. Peg said that mostly everyone was too busy to show up, but once she told them there were cookies and coffee, they came running. The dozen or so creatives that showed got to work munching and checking out books. They all stopped to admire Mark Katzman’s portfolio and dug deep into Nate Luke and Alison Miksch.
We also discussed their new client, King’s Grocery, and their needs for photographers for that effort. They were happy to have seen all the work, and said they would stay in touch as projects arise and their needs formulated.
All in all, a great day for Wonderful Machine, advertisers, Philadelphia and the world-at-large. We did it.
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