Creative Agency Compound Joins Forces With Experiential Studio Helo

Partnership aims to combine talents to craft culturally relevant brand experiences

Photo of Set Free Richardson
Helo has appointed Compound founder Set Free Richardson as its director. Courtesy of Set Free Richardson
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

South Bronx-based creative agency and gallery Compound will now have support from experiential agency Helo in creating future brand experiences.

Helo, which is based in Los Angeles, has merged with Compound and appointed its creative director Set Free Richardson as director.

Richardson told Adweek the partnership provides a “structure to enhance what we do creatively and all the facets of culture we work in, which is production, art, music, fashion and sports.”

“Helo is big in the space of experience and technology,” Richardson said. “Those are the two areas that Compound is not that versed in, so we’re super excited to build out experiential projects, campaigns and films.”

Compound, which Richardson founded in 2007, is responsible for crafting culturally relevant projects such as this year’s The Art of Protest: an interactive virtual gallery that amplified the work of Black and Latino photographers to show the impact of Black Lives Matter.

Richardson said Helo and Compound’s work will kick off by creating a website and filming a commercial for the existing Play for Change campaign with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Compound launched the campaign in September to support professional basketball players using their platform to address racial injustice, with Richardson designing a logo that reimagined the NBA’s Jerry West silhouette and was distributed through T-shirts to NBA players.

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Another upcoming project will be a virtual cooking content series for Jägermeister, which Richardson directed via Zoom.

“Right now, when the aspect of being up close and personal right now is something we don’t have the luxury of doing, company collaboration is really key,” Richardson said.

Helo CMO Rupert Samuels said the partnership presents an opportunity for the agencies to show off their combined talents for prospective clients.

“Our goal with Compound is to create all kinds of experiences, whether they’re experiential or content based,” Samuels said. “With the world of individuals Free brings to the table through Compound, we will offer a very unique prospect for clients.”

Helo’s existing clients include Amazon Studios, Hulu and Bud Light. Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.