AGW Is Not Your Average Agency, and That’s What Brands Love About It

The young Brooklyn shop approaches everything unconventionally, but authentically

Adam Gorode, co-founder and CEO, and Katie Witkin, co-founder and COO. Griffin Lipson
Headshot of Lindsay Rittenhouse

At AGW Group, authenticity is revered. “The success of our agency rests purely on our culture,” explained CEO Adam Gorode, who co-founded the Brooklyn culture marketing shop five years ago. “We’ve benefitted by having a band of outsiders approach this industry. Our media buyers are not media buyers by trade; our advertisers are not advertisers by trade. … I’m not caught up in the way things should be.”

Nothing about AGW is conventional, and that’s the approach it takes when helping brands like HBO, MTV, TBS and Vogue authentically engage what it calls “cultural passion points.” Using his music background as a concert promoter for Kanye West and Snoop Dogg, Gorode was able to pair MTV with popular indie artist St. Lucia through a digital activation that connected the mainstream giant to a notoriously hard-to-reach millennial audience.

Gorode co-founded AGW alongside COO Katie Witkin because he felt he never truly fit in at other agencies. “I wasn’t the easiest employee, and I think it was because I was very vocal,” he admitted, explaining that he was constantly shut down, which made his work “suffer.” At AGW, employees are free to speak their minds and try, well, pretty much anything. “Just because I’m the CEO doesn’t mean I always have the right ideas,” he said. “If you’re challenging people, it means you care.”

Mass Appeal, HBO


This story first appeared in the April 30, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.