GBS Isuzu Team Takes Own Road

John Butler and Mike Shine, the senior creative team from Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein best known for their award-winning work on the Isuzu Rodeo campaign, last week launched what they describe as a ‘new version of an advertising agency’ in Mill Valley, Calif.
The duo, which will operate as Butler/Shine, will handle clients on a project basis only. The agency will rely largely on a roster of freelancers, which will allow the principals to keep their staff lean and charge clients only for specific services they provide.
‘We can offer clients everything they expect from a full service agency, but for a fraction of the cost. We have no overhead because we freelance our support staff as needed per project,’ said Butler. ‘We’re not trying to sound like bargain basement advertising, but we can get things done a lot cheaper than a big agency.’
Butler/Shine opened with billings of just under $2 million. Clients include Indian Wells Water Co., Mizuno Athletic Footwear Co. and the car buying service 1-800-Car Club. The team expects to sign up two other accounts shortly.
Art director Butler, 33, and copywriter Shine, 30, originally teamed at Chiat/Day, N.Y., six years ago. They joined GBS in 1991 and started building a stable of freelance accounts with the goal of establishing a substantial enough client base to open their own shop.
The team just won the American Marketing Association’s Gold Effie for the Isuzu Rodeo work.
To date, they have relied on referrals and networking rather than reviews to build their business. Three of their current clients developed as a result of a Lamaze class Shine took, but he said he’s not prepared to continue having children as a new business tool.
‘I did my part,’ said Shine. ‘Now it’s my partner’s turn.’
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