Talent Takes the F Train

Across the river from Madison Ave., a new breed of agency is setting up shop

Brooklyn Talent

428 Graham Ave., Williamsburg
First there were the Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg, then writers and musicians, and now video artists and storytellers. GoodGreatGrand, launched in 2009, employs its talent on behalf of food, beauty and makeup clients including Covergirl and Cointreau—despite a roster of only three employees.

For Covergirl, the group, and its freelancers, wrote and directed 12 online spots; for Cointreau it teamed up with Dita Von Teese for the Web-based “Be Cointreauversial” ad campaign that included the sex kitten shimmying on stage, bottle in hand. “It’s literally about pretty storytelling, or ‘stylized realism,’” says creative director Tom Goldstein, 31. “There are no big car commercials. It’s about making people’s stories believable and fun—which is harder to do, as you know, than people suspect.”

Area 17

190 North 10th St., Williamsburg
Area 17 co-founder George Eid says not studying French in high school turned out to have been an ill-advised decision: His business partner lives in France—and, more importantly, his wife is French. “She wanted to move to France and that’s when we [started formulating] the company,” says Eid, 38.

Since launching in Williamsburg in 2003—when it was but a blip on the cultural radar—and expanding to Paris, the aesthetically minded Web design and marketing firm has integrated its operations with ease. With two offices and clients as iconoclastic as Etsy and Madame Figaro, and as large as Condé  Nast and Coca-Cola, Area 17 has “had to juggle,” says Andrew Ackermann, 28, creative director. “But so far we’ve really used it to our advantage.” Among Area 17’s recent projects is’s redesign.

BK Media Lab

255 6th Ave., Park Slope
The road to success for BK Media Lab included stops in Africa and Washington, D.C., before launching in leafy Park Slope last year. The group’s co-founder, Zimbabwe-born Itai Kaitano, 32, dreamed up the video and Web production firm while consulting at D.C.-based MGP Software, which tracks fundraisers and contributions to political campaigns, then established the company with the firm’s Emmy-nominated director of production, Timothy Betler (a former producer at MTV, NBC Universal and National Geographic).

It has carved a niche in the political realm, among other industries, serving up media packages for politicos across New York while taking on clients like MNET (parent company of South African TV network Vuzu), and a boutique vodka maker. “We learned there was demand for low-cost, high-quality video—and decided to get in there,” says Kaitano.

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