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 wor