Now here’s a neat idea to stir the creative juices of art directors and account managers alike: use the office as a gallery and a pop-up store to showcase your agency’s campaigns. To be truthful, another agency got there first: meet Van’s General Store, which was launched by advertising veteran Scott Carlson and “Ray Donovan” star Liev Schreiber in November last year and is housed in a storefront on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
The storefront setting doubles as a gallery and a “store” for the agency (hence the “General Store” moniker – the “Van” bit is named for Mr. Carlson’s grandfather and also his son, both of whom share the name). During the agency’s campaign for the Nergia energy drink, the store showcased six sports bicycles and a surfboard, all bearing the Nergia logo which Van’s had designed. Passers-by often mistook the agency for a bike shop and popped in to take a closer look, whereupon they received free samples of the drink.
Right now, it’s featuring a Vespa scooter surrounded by a gallery display featuring the fruits of the agency’s artistic talent, like displays of the scooter’s rearview mirror mounted to the walls, with their reflective screens covered in photos of street scenes. Most art directors and account managers would agree that it’s a clever way of highlighting an agency’s creative caliber.
Mr. Carlson (who was formerly creative director at top agencies like Mother and Love Collective) told the New York Times:
“The foot traffic down here is great, especially on the weekends, so we’re able to educate people about brands. Look at how much advertisers spend for a billboard that people drive by, as opposed to paying almost nothing to have a storefront where people walk in and become part of the brand.”
A growing roster
The multi-talented Mr. Schreiber, who directs and writes as well as acts, doubled as a copywriter for the agency’s video work on the Nergia brand, but he insists he’s not there as celebrity pitchman. He’ll be working “back-stage” where he’ll be tapping his celebrity connections to help with web series and commercials.
So far, as well as the Nergia brand and Vespa, the agency has worked on promotional programming for internet and cable provider Optimum and has shot four music videos for Bon Jovi.