The Denver Egotist Gives Us a Glimpse of the Colorado Ad Scene

By Kiran Aditham 

As part of our ongoing collaboration with The Denver Egotist, the folks from the network chime in with a look into the agencies scattered throughout their home turf, which they dub the “next creative hotbed.” Let’s read on to see who’s now and who’s next, shall we?

People tell us there’s a recession going on in this country. That’s unfortunate. Because it’s yet to touch the majority of us here in comfy CO. As we see it, there are three forces at work helping shelter us from the shit-storm the rest of you poor bastards are enduring.

(Read on after the jump)

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1–Digital is booming. Instead of just complaining about that huge hole for digital talent in the current landscape, MDC Partners and the University of Colorado actually did something to fill it by creating Boulder Digital Works–the new school for next-gen digital thinkers. BDW just birthed their first class and local agencies are reaping the benefits of those hires. Shops here are also busy meddling with plenty of other digital experiments, from major brand websites to apps, more apps to stuff made to make life easier.

Who’s Now: The1stMovement
The1stMovement has grown 1077% over the past three years, and CEO Ming Chan was just named one of Inc. Magazine’s “Top 10 Asian Entrepreneurs.” The agency’s work for Vail Resorts, Adobe, Wyoming Tourism and Cisco is all tops and it just earned T1M digital AOR status with Pentax.

Who’s Next: Legwork Studio
Among the handful of firms that have reaped the benefits of the implosion of long-time Denver digital agency FL2, Legwork has grabbed up the right people at the right time to create the next Denver interactive shop to watch. Check out their new Airwalk global brand site, which just won the FWA site of the day, to see what we mean.

2–We’re taking care of our own. Local agencies are doing work that makes money for local clients, in turn, strengthening our economy and feeding money back into our agencies. Sweet deal for everyone. Not to infer they’re only working the local scene, but here are the agencies that are really smashing it for Colorado businesses.

Who’s Now: Sukle
Sukle’s been busy this summer churning out new work for Vail Resorts and the Financial Planning Association, and they’re becoming the de facto agency for companies in the world of sustainability. New green clients include Western Conservation Foundation, Eco-Products and Driven to Drive Less–a project to get cars off the road in Boulder. Every summer, Denver Water is also in full swing. Watch for this year’s outdoor in next year’s big awards shows.

Who’s Now: Cactus
Recently celebrating their 20th year in business, Cactus continues to produce great work for the Colorado Lottery, Colorado Department of Health, University Hospital and Winter Park Resort. The shop also added Hunter Douglas, GLOBUS family of brands, and Illegal Pete’s, a Colorado-based QSR chain with a cult-like following, to its roster. They’re rolling.

Who’s Now: Cultivator
Business has been busy for Cultivator, launching several new brand campaigns, including work for Moots, a custom titanium bicycle frame manufacturer in Steamboat, as well Denver’s Boa Technologies. They’re also preparing new campaigns for Keystone Resort and New Belgium’s Fat Tire beer. Ever try finding that sweet nectar at the LQ? It’s always sold out–thanks, in part, to these cats.

Who’s Next: Changethethought
Three core individuals, along with a collective group of other local rockstar talent, Changethethought does it all well – graphic design, motion graphics, writing, ideation, illustration, web design and development. They’ve been working with Nike, Airwalk and IBM, as well as supporting local agencies, and they just added Mike Slane as Executive Creative Director–fresh from an ACD stint at Shilo. Peep their goods.

3–We’re killing it on your accounts too.
No longer the incestuous community it once was, Denver and Boulder agencies have been extending their reach–consistently pitching, winning and driving out-of-town accounts–and bringing that sweet cake back home.

Who’s Now: Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Despite the “B” officially having moved on, CP+B is still the best agency in the world (read this and this and this, then STFU about arguing with us). The benefit of having such a big, powerful shop here is that once the hardworking, strategic, creative people Crispin’s trained decide to move on, they’ve fallen in love with Colorado and can’t bear to leave it. So they end up populating other shops–and the entire community is elevated.

Who’s Now: Victors & Spoils
You can’t talk about CP+B defectors without talking about Boulder’s Victors & Spoils. Love or hate their crowdsourcing model, the shop is run by some of the smartest people in the business today (John Winsor and Evan Fry)–and they’re determined to make it fly. They’re working for DISH Network, Harley-Davidson and Virgin America, among others. Can you say that?

Who’s Now: TDA
If you’re paying attention, you’ve already seen some of TDA’s finest work this year–they won best of show at The OBIE Awards for their FirstBank outdoor, they’ll be featured in Archive’s 200 Best Packaging Design book for Mix 1, and they’re finalists in the Radio Mercury Awards. They’ve also spent the summer focusing on launching a condom they’re partnered in, and they’re nearly finished rebranding Avery Beer and Boyer’s Coffee packaging. Keep it coming, crew.

Who’s Next: Moxie Sozo
Lead by their magnetic leader, Leif Steiner, Moxie Sozo is becoming one of the most sought after creative firms in the world–especially for their impeccable packaging design (which will also be featured in Archive’s 200 Best Packaging Design book). While their client work is admirable, so is their outreach. After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Moxie Sozo organized an international collaboration of artists and designers from around the world to help raise money for the victims. Over 180 different limited-edition series posters were produced, raising about $50,000. They’re now doing the same for Haiti.

We’ve got agencies. We’ve got clients. We’ve got jobs (and more jobs). What the fuck are you doing anywhere else but here?

The Denver Egotist is part of The Egotist Network–featuring the work, talent, resources and point-of-view of local creative markets.