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New York has a New Marketing Services Firm with a Military Slant: Ayni Brigade

It’s prob­a­bly not that com­mon for mil­i­tary vets to say to them­selves, “I know what I’m going to do next: I’m going to check out some mar­ket­ing ser­vices agen­cies and land myself an account man­ag­er job.” But one new agency in New York believes that mil­i­tary vets have a lot to offer.

New­ly unveiled shop Ayni Brigade ful­ly intends to con­cen­trate its hir­ing efforts on mil­i­tary vet­er­ans. Giv­en that one of its founders, Bri­an Hol­ly­field, was a marine Corp fight­er pilot before he took up his career as COO in two Adland big­gies – Atmos­phere BBDO and JWT North Amer­i­ca — the strat­e­gy isn’t so sur­pris­ing. He knows from the inside that the tran­si­tion from mil­i­tary life to online adver­tis­ing agen­cies can be not only be made, it can be high­ly fruit­ful, too.

From army to account man­ag­er?

Hol­ly­field is join­ing hus­band-and-wife adver­tis­ing vet­er­ans Mark and Sher­ry Rus­sell to found the new shop, which will also have an office in Dal­las.  As alum­ni of New York-based Eric Mow­er + Asso­ciates, both have dis­tin­guished careers in the adver­tis­ing world.  Mr. Rus­sell is CEO and Mrs. Rus­sell is the Cre­ative VP.

Hard-nosed account man­agers may be skep­ti­cal about the shop’s hir­ing plan but the founders sin­cere­ly believe that they can achieve a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage by har­ness­ing the skills of veterans.

Oth­er ad agency lead­ers share their vision – back in 2007, dur­ing his 4A’s man­age­ment con­fer­ence speech, Tom Mess­ner argued for a recruit­ment dri­ve amongst mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and oth­ers like Rick Boyko and Ed Vick have been doing just that.


The mil­i­tary expe­ri­ences that Rus­sell sees as high­ly desir­able for Ayni Brigade are famil­iar­i­ty with emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, intel­li­gence gath­er­ing and tac­ti­cal exe­cu­tion.  These may go into the mak­ing of an espe­cial­ly savvy account man­ag­er, but what about an art direc­tor or copy­writer?  Rus­sell says, “The only area that we will be a lit­tle more loose in hir­ing is in the cre­ative space.”


The new agency will focus on events mar­ket­ing and dig­i­tal and is prepar­ing to hire new staff even as this arti­cle goes to print.  The Rus­sells plan to remain in the New York office, while Mr. Hol­ly­fied heads out to Dallas.


And the name? It comes from the Andean area of South Amer­i­ca and means rec­i­p­ro­cal assistance.

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