In case you needed a refresher, Exposure is a London-based ad/marketing/PR agency with offices on the Eastern edge of Manhattan’s TriBeCa. Past and current clients include Nike, Converse, G-Shock, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft, and notable campaigns include the “redesign” of the classic Coke bottle and the introduction of Netflix to the UK.
Since TriBeCa hosts more than its share of agencies and Exposure already occupied the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors of the building at 393 Broadway, its principals recently decided to complete their takeover of the entire structure by turning its ground floor into an “idea gallery” called The Supermarket.
What will happen in this space? The agency’s answer is, effectively, “something new and different every month.”
We stopped by the unofficial soft opening party last week and, between rum and cokes and conversations with sculptors, spoke to Exposure global CEO Raoul Shah and New York Creative Director Tom Phillips about their future plans for the project.
Phillips says, “Very simply put, we’ll be combining commerce with culture.” The agency also created its own font for the facade.
Shah notes that the space will be “open to all” and that anyone in the world can see what’s going on there at any given moment by visiting thesupermarket.nyc.
The very first exhibition housed in the space will be a collection of film and photography sponsored by Exposure client G-Shock. For the next project, Shah tells us that several British fashion brands that remain obscure to American consumers plan a “retail installation” in which they partner with other, unnamed creative parties.
“There’s no formula and we’re not going to try to replicate what happens here,” Shah says. Exposure won’t be “restricted to working only with clients,” and Shah wants to encourage others bold enough pitch their own ideas.
Other possibilities include:
- A “pop-up radio station”
- A month-long magazine launch
- A collection of large-scale sculptures
- A whiskey bar
The last idea might prove problematic given New York’s notoriously strict liquor license application process, but the point is that the space allows the agency to place the more daring work of clients and partners “directly in front of the consumer.”
As Phillips puts it, “The Supermarket has to reflect the diversity of the work we do as an agency.”
In fact, Exposure’s principals see the project as their agency’s own “brand” — but it’s certainly not a nonprofit venture. From Shah:
“It would be crazy to make this a self-indulgent space for us to feature things because we like them. It’s not a space for young designers who don’t have any money.”
While Shah and partners want to make sure that each project presented at The Supermarket is financially viable, Exposure is an independent business — which means there’s no need to prove its ROI to a holding company or a formal group of investors.
Shah and Phillips both tell us that they hope The Supermarket will, in time, inspire clients to take more risks in their own work because “we don’t want to be playing catch-up.”
Here’s a short intro video…
Phillips adds, “to be able to create a brand from scratch is exciting. It’s a physical space, but we will be creating products.”
The Supermarket opens on March 26th.