Agent155 Goes Underground in New York

NEW YORK Agent155, a multimedia hosting tool with about 475 members and aspirations to advertise on next year’s Super Bowl, is getting off to a modest start this month with an advertising campaign in the New York City subways.

“We chose New York as an initial platform for an ad campaign because New York is the mecca for creative talent, and the subways essentially transport talent from classical musicians to artists to dancers to comedians to athletes like skateboarders and snowboarders,” said Chris Martinez, CEO of Agent155. “Also, people in New York are technologically savvy. A lot of people have high-speed connections and they use the Internet more.”

Martinez conceived of Agent155 five years ago as a hosting and networking tool for artists who wanted their work noticed but did not have the time or expertise to build and manage their own Web site. Agent155 provides members with 500 megabytes of space in which they can upload audio, video, photographs and text and track viewership for $15.50 per month.

Martinez said he hopes the black-and-white, text-heavy ads would draw in artists and other New Yorkers interested in “a street-level, creative arena providing an affordable, high-quality online presence.” Ads outline Agent155’s mission statement and offering.

The subway ads are not the San Diego company’s first. In-theater ads launching the brand were created by and starred Agent155 members and ran in July in Regal and United Artists theaters nationwide. In February, the company plans to launch a similar campaign in the London subway system.

Martinez plans to have Agency155 members around the world produce and submit Super Bowl ads. The company will pick the top three, and then members will vote their favorite into a nearly $3 million Super Bowl slot. That is a lofty ambition, considering the subway spend is about $50,000.

Martinez is confident his financial backer will not balk. His other company, investor relations firm Mica Capital, funds Agent155.

“Our production costs are zero,” Martinez said.