When Spencer Baim came up with the idea for Virtue Worldwide , the marketing arm of hipster juggernaut Vice Media, he hoped to capitalize on the company’s coveted audience by selling advertisers expertise on how to reach it. Six years later, Virtue’s a success. Among other achievements, Baim has convinced companies like Dell and Intel (not exactly known for their cool kid cred) to throw money at edgy, youth-oriented content and events—decking out Coachella in light sculptures, for example.
Baim’s approach has been simple: convince brands to cut through the noise around young demos by targeting, and sponsoring, projects that are especially attention-worthy—whether outrageously fun (a skateboarding tour ) or meaningful (a video series on technology). That’s not to say it’s always a snap convincing brands to take the leap. Baim, a veteran creative strategist, stresses the importance of process and planning in leading clients to unconventional work. “For a client to do something brave, they have to feel safe,” he says. “I think we’re very good at holding clients’ hands and taking them to a new place.”