The clouds are lifting over 72andSunny and things are looking a whole lot brighter. Only three years ago, the shop laid off five percent of its staff following the loss of one of its biggest clients, MillerCoors, and winding down its business with Unilever’s Axe, General Mills, and Johnnie Walker. But today, the MDC Partners agency is turning out the kind of head-turning creative that put it on the map in the first place, drawing 14 account wins from the likes of Etsy, Grubhub, Indeed, and United. Overall, the shop saw 16% organic revenue growth in 2020.
That’s in part thanks to Evin Shutt, the MDC shop’s very first employee, who was elevated to Global CEO, and Matt Murphy and Carlo Cavallone, who were elevated in December of 2020 to chief creative officer roles. The pair also became a part of 72andSunny’s newly formed Creative Leadership Council, a restructuring of its creative department, comprised of creative leaders across its offices around the globe.
“Whether you’ve been here for four months or 14 years, the defining characteristic has always been creativity,” Shutt says. “Even when we announced Carlo and Murphy’s promotions it was along with the Creative Leadership Council, which is about democratizing creative leadership across the company to make sure that we have a diversity of voices represented.”
Last year the agency received critical acclaim, including 4 Emmys, for its film for the National Football League that aired immediately before the Super Bowl kickoff.
“The Next 100” started with a teenager performing a kick return across the country alongside 32 of his friends. The kid comes across NFL stars and legends on his journey urging him to “take it to the house”—and he does, running onto the actual Big Game playing field.
In the 2021 Super Bowl, the agency created an inspiring pregame moment by having a hologram of Vince Lombardi, iconic coach and social justice ally, deliver a speech about resiliency and unification. The project used AI to replicate Lombardi’s voice and the speech used words inspired from some of his actual speeches.
Other creative highlights for 2020 included a national campaign reuniting Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s and an emotional Super Bowl ad for Indeed. 72andSunny whipped up a sex-themed cookbook for Trojan aimed at couples during quarantine, an Adobe Stock film festival, and Etsy’s first ever brand campaign with a touching series of spots featuring diverse stories. And although it had a recent stumble with the loss of the Truth Initiative, 72andSunny isn’t planning on looking back.
“We’re not a very nostalgic company,” says Murphy. “When I joined this company in 2009, I was proud of everything that they had done before, but now it’s like, where are we taking this next? We’re just more fearless now. We’ve set a framework that allows more potential to make surprising work.”