Talent Takes the F Train

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

Apex Exposure 

55 Washington St., Dumbo
It all started in a Greenpoint living room in July 2007, a year before Lehman Brothers collapsed and many companies imploded in its wake. For Apex Exposure, however, now based in Dumbo, the unfolding economic climate hasn’t hampered its ability to draw in some of the nation’s biggest corporate clients. And with an uncanny skill for precisely applying its services where they best benefit clients, each job tends to differ from the next. For Nike, the group looked to Facebook to promote a marathon in Washington that the shoemaker sponsors. To update Rolling Stone magazine’s website, Apex utilized crisp design and plenty of video.

Despite its influx of top-level clients, however, the group has no plans to leave Brooklyn anytime soon. “Our lease is up in a couple of months, and we’re looking at renewing and staying right here in Dumbo,” says Apex Exposure president Josh Scheiner, 28. “A lot of our employees all live in Brooklyn. And in Dumbo there’s a million trains that come in, so it’s very, very simple to get to, and we can deal with our clients in the city. It’s really just a great location.”


45 Main St. | The 2nd floor, Dumbo
If Huge, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, wasn’t the first digital shop in Dumbo when it launched in 1999, then its predecessor has stayed under the radar. Twelve years ago the neighborhood was, in executive creative director Joe Stewart’s words, “sort of this weird balance between recycling plants and [the border of] this super posh, super-duper nice part of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights. It was a weird mix of unbelievably grimy and these super nice amenities.”

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The sentiment could be applied to Huge itself, which has remained energetic, cutting edge and, dare we say, punk rock, even as it rises to the top of an ever-growing industry of design and production firms across New York. “Kids in a room, pounding away on keyboards” is the way Stewart, 33, describes the business, which has grown from two employees to 300-plus. When MediaPost named Huge Agency of the Year in 2010, few knew who it was, and others were taken by surprise. But with clients like Pepsi, Reuters and Mattel, the kids with the keyboards have made sure the agency is now firmly on the map.

The Joey Company 
45 Main St. | The 6th floor, Dumbo
Consider for a second that The Joey Company, a Dumbo-based full-service integrated ad agency, juggles assignments for both the Centers for Disease Control and Trojan, the condom manufacturer. With the former, the firm masterminded Web campaigns dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 virus, a deadly strain of influenza. As for the latter, it used humor in 2009 to create a line—“You can’t wait to get it on”—that the Sundance Channel called the “best condom tagline ever.” This is a company with range.

Since 2002, when the firm relocated from New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, where it had operated for 11 years, the staff of 17 has exceeded expectations. With a roster that boasts Arrid Anti-Perspirant, an auto dealer, a baby products company, and, most recently, advocates for Title IX, the company is taking on a menagerie of clients. “Blessed and humbled, we’ve actually grown in the face of a tough economic time,” says Joey Cummings, the agency’s founder. “People have been calling us the ‘best kept secret.’” The secret, it seems, is out.

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