72andSunny Continues Reorganization, Spinning Off Production Unit Into Hecho Studios

New company falls under MDC Partners' umbrella

Agency veterans Tom Dunlap and Gui Borchert will lead the business. Hecho Studios
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Hecho En 72, the production company housed within MDC Partners agency 72andSunny, will become its own company.

The announcement, which went out to staff yesterday, marks the latest and perhaps most dramatic step in the reorganization of the 72 organization, which parted with just under 5 percent of staff in its L.A. headquarters last week.

Managing director and former 72 chief production officer Tom Dunlap will lead the new company, Hecho Studios, along with executive creative director Gui Borchert, who held the GCD title at the agency.

“The traditional production industry was built for a certain way of working—and with the way our work was pivoting, there wasn’t really a partner out there to help us,” Dunlap said. “The choices were limited, so we just went out there and did it ourselves.”

The studio launched in 2013 and later expanded to include locations within the larger network’s New York, Amsterdam, Sydney and Singapore offices. It has recently produced work for various agency clients including the city of Los Angeles and Google, whose “Year in Search” earned two Emmy nominations.

It also created a short starring Will Ferrell and Joel McHale to promote the Hammer Museum at UCLA.

Hecho Studios will be open for business to all clients, even those that have never worked with 72andSunny or any other MDC Partners agency.

Borchert positioned the move as an attempt to better integrate the creative and production processes, which famously require the two different types of organizations to develop the sorts of relationships that have (allegedly) led to bad business practices in the past.

Agencies relinquish a degree of control after partnering with production companies, Borchert said, while the latter are forced to wait until agencies come through with assignments. Hecho, he added, looks to become the rare “unicorn” that both takes and makes. “We like to think through making,” he said. “You need that? We can do that.”

The big difference between Hecho and other production companies, according to Dunlap, is that his shop will offer a more flexible approach, while more traditional organizations provide a “sell the roster approach” focused on currently contracted directors.

“Most [production companies] enter the process when the idea is done and ready to go,” Borchert added. “We can certainly do that, but we offering entering from the beginning.”

He cited an SyFy Channel podcast called Origin Stories as an example. It was conceived, produced and created by the Hecho team and their outside partners.

This week’s announcement does come after a reorganization, and Dunlap acknowledged that it included eliminating an unspecified number of positions at Hecho in a move unrelated to the layoffs that hit 72andSunny last week.

“We are expanding our North American footprint and needed resources in New York,” he said. “This meant that some of the positions that existed in L.A. were no longer relevant for the service offering we put out in the world.”

He declined to go into greater detail beyond stating that the move “came with an increase in staff in New York.” Several parties who have reached out to Adweek claimed that approximately a dozen studio employees in L.A. were let go earlier this month.

Dunlap said the inspiration behind Hecho Studios was in some ways self-serving before predicting that “it will quickly become a need” for clients of all shapes and sizes.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.