You don’t want a cool agency. You need the cool adjacent one!

You’d be hard pressed to find a brand that doesn’t want to be seen as contemporary and cool. The problem is this often leads to the folly pursuit of cool agencies – and not necessarily agencies that do cool work.

The problem with a cool agency is its source of coolness tends to be a singular vibe. They’re edgy! Dripping in art direction!! Hire that agency and you’ll likely get the same thing over and over again. It’s what they do, because that cool is who they are. I lived this first hand as the creative director of an agency renowned for comedy. Our first instinct on every client was the funny bone. In retrospect, it served us more than them.

A cool adjacent agency, by contrast, may not possess that singular cool. But – here’s the critical bit - they are aces at strategy and creative platform ideas. And only then, relevance in hand, they know just where to look to bring the right kind of cool to your project. 

Our agency cleansheet recently launched our CanadaSound album which was rewarded with a Silver Music Clio in the company of Drake, Elton John and Jay Z. None of us I might add can play an instrument, but we had the courage a big idea always bestows and simply went out and found the artists to make it sing.

Hire cool and you’ll get what makes them cool – no more. Seek out a cool adjacent agency and you’ll start with the foundations and creative ideas that will allow your authenticity to find whatever cool your cool should be.

Now, how cool is that.


Neil McOstrich is the Chief Storytelling Officer at Cleansheet

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