BOULDER—If there is hope for advertising, it can be found in a non-descript retail bay on the east end of Pearl Street.
Ad people aren’t cynics, they’re “crest fallen idealists,” says Dave Schiff, partner and Chief Creative Officer of Made Movement, a new agency boldly dedicated to growing the American economy by promoting American-made goods.
The genesis of the idea for the agency came from discussions between partners John Kieselhorst, Scott Prindle and Alex Bogusky about the book Make It In America: The Case for Re-Inventing The Economy by Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dow Chemical Company. In the book, the author explains how buying just 1% more made in America goods creates 200,000 American jobs. Plus, American manufacturing jobs generate another $1.40 per every dollar spent for the businesses that support these jobs.
“I’ve spent most of my life as a very unprincipled person,” says Schiff, who until recently led a creative group at Crispin Porter and Bogusky. He worked on The Truth anti-tobacco campaign at Crispin but says the campaign was the exception, not the rule.
“Our passion and our drive came from making great work. We loved our jobs and we still love Crispin. But in the end I essentially felt that I was a gun for hire,” says Schiff. “There was nothing noble about it.”
“There’s a give-a-shit factor that’s built in with us now,” he says. “We’re not just trying to do great work and win at Cannes, we have something larger at stake now.”
Kieselhorst adds that there was also a discussion about the next revolution in advertising. “Increasingly PR firms are leading marketing efforts more so than ad agencies, because of cause marketing. People not only want to buy amazing products now, they want to buy awesome products that also make the world an awesome place.”
While Made launched with zero clients, the agency now has five. One foundational client is Eazl, a consumer product launch from Circle Graphics in Longmont, that will take any digital image and print it on canvas. “We like it because it connects both the physical manufacturing world with the digital world,” says Schiff.
Made is also partnering with Bixbi, a Boulder pet food company that sources its meat from the U.S.
In addition to marketing high quality American-made products, Made is also busy curating and selling high quality American-made products through its flash sales site, Made Collection. Every Wednesday, the shop offers a new collection of goods to members.
“Our flash sales site came about through discussions about having a community,” says Kieselhorst. “Buying cool stuff is a quintessentially American way of engaging a community.”
Schiff adds that the online store may prove an interesting avenue for new business, given that a relationship with a manufacturer could begin when placing their item in the store. Plus, “as a marketer it’s great to be involved directly in selling. You learn a lot about consumer behavior when you’re in the trenches.”
Learning from years in the ad biz trenches is also apparent in the Made mix. Describing the shop’s process, Schiff says, “We don’t have check-ins anymore, we’re talking about the work (with our clients) in real time. They’re making stuff better stuff with us.”
Speaking of better stuff, Schiff says the meaning in “Buy American” needs to be reworked too — it can no longer mean buy an inferior product for more money because it’s the right thing to do. “That’s too much to ask,” he says.
Schiff also points out that Made is not anti-global. “If Toyota came to us and said ‘would you do advertising for the Tundra?’ — and that thing’s made in Indiana — we absolutely would because that’s 7000 people that have jobs, plus the multiplier effect.”
“It’s a global economy, we just need more things made in America. “What would be great is if this agency wasn’t necessary,” Schiff says.