LOCALS ONLY: Unfold Agency Q&A

 

By thelaegotist / /

Unfold is “a digital creative agency with a flair for what excites.” Best known for working with all the major film studios, the Los Angeles shop created digital campaigns for half of last year’s top 100 films. Unfold designs and builds custom executions for screens large and small and has branched out into promoting TV, video games and soon, it hopes, other consumer product categories, such as automotive.

The Egotist recently sat down with company founders Daniel Weisinger(co-founder/President) and Brick Rucker(co-founder/ECD) to talk shop and about their shop which has created digital campaigns for Avengers Endgame, Us, Catch-22, Billions, Captain Marvel, John Wick 3, Crazy Rich Asians and Ubisoft games.

  •     So, who is Unfold? Tell us a bit about you guys, the partners, your backgrounds and reason for starting this shop.

DW: We loved the work we were doing and we realized we were naturally more connected to the actual work than the people we had previously worked for. I think we did it because we knew we could be leaner, hungrier, more nimble and could use that to our advantage.

BR: I think that a byproduct of working for other people is to doubt oneself, because established protocol is to run ideas by a potentially disconnected leadership.  When we founded the company, we could make decisions, move forward, and if necessary pivot quickly, and if we screwed up, we could pivot, quickly, again.   

  •     Unfold is based in LA. Do you have satellite offices in other cities? Also, how long has the agency been around?

DW: Our main office is in Playa Vista with a small satellite office in Hollywood, and another sister office in Jakarta with 17 full time employees. We’re also growing a presence on the east coast and soon to be Middle East. We founded Unfold in late 2012.

  •     Your specialty is creating digital promotional campaigns (social and display) to support film releases. Do you mostly create static ads or do you also do motion work? 

BR: The short answer is we create anything for a screen.  Today, we are still best known for our online display and the social content that we create.  The reason we think our work is so strong is because we’re not afraid to rip apart sacred client assets and put our spin on it.  Our clients need to stand out in a very competitive landscape, so we love animating everything and taking risks to bring a campaign to life. To see our work visit www.unfoldagency.com

  •     What are your company goals? Do you expect to branch out into other disciplines or product/service categories? 

DW: We’d crawl through broken glass to work with automotive, as well as travel, leisure and food & beverage. We love entertainment, but long before we started the company, the two of us forged a relationship talking about cars. There are a lot of brands out there we identify with as much as we do the movies, TV shows and video games we work on. We just haven’t had a chance to prove ourselves there. 

  •     Is there a lot of competition in this space? If so, what do you think gives Unfold the edge?

DW: Yes, and many of our competitors are a lot bigger than us. They are also vertically integrated and have been in this business for 15 or 20 years compared with our six. Still, Unfold managed to work on campaigns for 51 of the top 100 films of 2018, and this year, we’ve worked on 26 of the top 30 movies so far.  

BR: I think we are successful for a few reasons: First, we never lose sight that our clients have other options. We don’t go home at 6:30 (unless the job is done) and we have a near 24-hour-a-day work cycle with the offices in Jakarta and other time zones. And that’s really all clients want—they want to know that we’ve got them covered.

  •     Are there any technological advancements/programs (say, that have launched within the last three years) that you really love and use in your work? Which ones, and how do you use them?

BR: Something happened that was sort of the opposite of that: When a key tech tool, Flash, went away in the ad world, it put us in a great position because we saw it coming and were ahead of the curve.  Other agencies weren’t properly staffed, so their people became a liability. We on the other hand, hit the ground running and won a lot of new business as a result.

Then with the rise of Facebook/Instagram, we started getting more calls to do social content, because we were known for doing innovative work with motion.  The way we were building our banners—we weren’t afraid to rotoscope frame by frame and create content custom for each platform. 

  •     Your work is always eye-catching, but never the same: You always create something unique that captures the essence of each film. Do you have a recipe or blueprint for designing the perfect movie ad regardless of media?

BR: Just the basics: Good design, regardless of size, shape, orientation or platform. And ultimately visual impact—you have to be seen against all the clutter that’s out there. It’s all about standing out in a crowded landscape. 

  •     Where do you see Unfold five years from now?

DW: In five years we’d like to be a full-service marketing agency with media planning, buying and programmatic. We are purely creative now, but we think strategically and responsibly—even with how we hire.  We’d like all our employees to retire here and envision our growth to continue globally. We play the long game.

 

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