FEATURED: Q&A with Creative Agency Other New York
Other New York is a creative agency and branded content production house that is quickly gaining recognition for their innovative and socially conscious approach toward branded storytelling. The name Other New York invokes the city’s reputation as a nucleus for creative talent, while signifying their mission to engage consumers in something surprising, fresh, relevant, and “other.”
Recently, the agency created and produced a one-minute film for Moët & Chandon, featuring the brand as the beverage of choice for special occasions while simultaneously telling a story that challenges societal gender-normative expectations.
Other New York’s founding partners, Peter Pascucci, a young artistic filmmaker fresh out of NYU, and Jack Welles, who brings an advertising focus from the School of the Visual Arts, along with newcomer to the team, writer/director Jennifer Parkhill, have made it their mission to use branded content as a platform for starting conversations. Their collaboration yields an award-winning balance of marketing and entertainment that delivers a memorable and thought-provoking narrative that stays with viewers, as evidenced by their recent win of the Clio Sports Silver Trophy for their work with Everlast.
Brand Storytelling decided to have a conversation with the Other New York team to find out more about their commitment to balancing art and advertisement, using branded content to spark a conversation, and the source of their inspiration.
Can you speak to how Other came about? Why are you called “Other New York"?
While working on a spot for the Moët Moment Film Festival, it occurred to us that there is a real opportunity to create work that gives voice to marginalized groups in New York City and beyond. The concept of being “othered” is something we feel motivated to bring awareness to. The name invokes New York’s reputation as a nucleus for creativity and culture, while simultaneously signifying our mission to engage consumers in something surprising, fresh, relevant and socially aware.
What is your approach to building stories specifically for brands?
Part of our creative process is thinking about social issues that exist in the space of the brand. We craft a story around a statement. We see social problems and issues as opportunities for marketers. For us, it’s a more interesting approach. In the instance of Moët, we placed a drag queen at the center of the film, it allowed us to bring an often neglected and integral part of New York City culture out of the shadows and into the mainstream while infusing the topic with levity and empowerment. Brands have the power to take on these issues. Problem solving is the heart of advertising.
What type of dialogue do you seek to spark with your work? Who is that dialogue supposed to exist between?
The dialogue is multifaceted. We want to create media forest fires. It’s about creating things that people feel compelled to share. We live in a world where words often fail us when it comes to conversation but art can can break the wall. It’s between the brand and the consumer, between mothers and fathers, between marginalized groups and is about getting people to look over the fence and talk to their neighbors. Simultaneously, we believe there is room for more radical content to reach an otherwise untapped consumer.
The three of you are all newly-minted graduates, artists entering the working world. Why take on the task of turning advertisements on their head and away from the traditional? Why work in the branded space?
We work in the branded space because we see an opportunity in the typically dull advertisement. We are culture consumers who want to push the status quo of advertising with radical thinking.
Your work with Everlast garnered accolades and earned you a Clio because of its roots in social consciousness. How do you define socially conscious content?
As millennials, we are sick of seeing ads that’s sole purpose is to sell products. Our reason for creating socially conscious content came from the desire to align with brands that we can identify with. It’s about holding a mirror up to ourselves and being brave enough to say that we are part of the problem and then holding ourselves accountable and hoping that others will follow.For us, it’s about approaching relevant topics, or social issues and using our work to start a conversation, It all starts with identifying the problem. We can’t talk about the problem until it has been named.
For Everlast we began by working with the insight that women are only represented in 8% of televised sports media. This spot became a literal visualization of the significant lack of female athletic media coverage and drew upon the notion that even the greatest professional female athletes are nearly invisible in sports media. Overall it aimed to raise awareness and start a wider conversation on the topic of female athlete’s representation in sports media.
You seem to have a unified and singular vision that is pervasive throughout your work. What is that vision? What is your mission?
Our vision is to create work that is future proof and creates lasting relationships between brands and consumers.
Why do you think storytelling is becoming so important to advertisers? What does this mean for your own work?
Advertisers are being forced to join the times. What people need right now is a good story and to form relationships, not only with one another, but with the products they use every day. Every piece of content is an opportunity to make something artful that people will choose to engage with. We see enough revenue driven ads in Times Square and on billboards on the 405 every day. What we need are stories which will stay with us and make us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. We think about the kinds of ads that stir and compel us, then strive to make the kind of work we would want to watch.
What are you working on now? Anything you can share?
We are looking for brave clients that want to work with us to disrupt the model.
To see the work of Other New York, visit their website: www.otherny.com
Peter Pascucci is a New York City based filmmaker, born in Syracuse, New York. He has worked largely in NYC for production companies such as Phoenix Media Group, and Click3X, bringing him onto projects for Samsung, IBM, GQ, Glamour, Guggenheim Media, Clio Awards and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Most recently, Peter’s narrative work has been awarded by the Russell Hexter Film committee and his advertising work received top honors by both the Moët Moment Film Festival and Clio Sports Awards.
Jack Welles is a California raised, New York City based advertising creative. In 2017 alone, Jack’s work was recognized by D&AD, One Show, Clio Sports, and the Möet Film Festival. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Highsnobiety, Vice, AdWeek, & Creative Review. Jack has worked for several advertising agencies including Ogilvy and DDB.
Jennifer Parkhill is a New York City based director, writer and actor, raised in California. She received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from the Tisch School of the Arts with minors in creative writing and film production. She has worked as a staff writer at Brunch Mag NYC, as the associate artistic director of Five Bridges Theater Company NYC, an ensemble company member at the Flea Theater NYC, and is the screenwriter and star of Far Rock, recently awarded by the Russell Hexter Film Committee.
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