Donut, the Los Angeles creative agency launched last year by indie filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass, is already expanding to the East Coast—setting up shop in New York.
The agency hired Sarah Dale to lead the New York office, naming her chief commercial officer. Dale was formerly the vice president of digital and content at the Wall Street Journal, where she oversaw WSJ Custom Studios, the newspaper’s in-house content agency, and strategy for all digital and content revenue.
Donut credited her in a statement with transitioning WSJ Custom Studios from a traditional print operation to a “formidable competitor” in the digital native ad space, working with brands like Netflix, MetLife, Intel, Microsoft, Mini and Morgan Stanley. During Dale’s tenure, the studio’s revenue quadrupled, according to Donut.
“We initially thought we’d stay small for awhile but things [kind of] took off quickly this year, so we asked our extremely over-qualified friend Sarah to help us open up a shop in NYC,” Mark Duplass said in a written statement. “For some reason, she said yes.”
At Donut, Dale will be tasked with forming new collaborative partnerships with brands based in New York, and elsewhere on the East Coast.
“Anyone who has experienced it knows the changing world of content can be extremely tricky to navigate for brands,” Dale noted. “Donut’s agile model is designed to disrupt this space and take out all the pain points for brands along the way. The Duplass approach takes what Mark and Jay have proven to work in film and television and applies it for brands. I’m looking forward to meeting potential new partners to show them what we’re here to do.”
Mark and Jay Duplass, the brother duo behind indie films like The Skeleton Twins (2014) and the HBO short-lived series Togetherness (2015-2016), founded Donut in May 2017, alongside ad vets Nigel Lopez-McBean (Donut’s engagement director) and Charlie Leahy (Donut’s creative director). At the time, Mark Duplass told Adweek he and his brother missed the “short-form creative stuff” they used to produce together as kids, which is why they decided to delve into advertising.
Since then, the agency has already produced work for major tech companies including Amazon and Lyft. In October, it was commissioned to produce original content (mainly in the form of made-for-mobile scripted shows) for Snap Inc. and NBCUniversal’s new joint-venture studio.