Gear Seven/Arc Studios/Shift
I Like Music
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

A Fresh Take On Multi-Channel, Post-Cookie Creativity: Meet Mod Op


Eric J. Bertrand, Aaron Sternlicht, and Miles Dinsmoor tell LBB’s Adam Bennett how their growing agency is preparing for a new era of creative communications across both B2C and B2B

A Fresh Take On Multi-Channel, Post-Cookie Creativity: Meet Mod Op

For any creatively-minded individual, reinvention is one of life’s necessities. A new start, or a different perspective, offers the chance to look afresh at familiar challenges without any baggage. It’s fitting, then, that for Mod Op - the full-service agency with offices across the US - successful reinvention has become something of a habit. 

Having officially become Mod Op in 2017 following a merger between eyeballnyc and Modus Operandi, the agency has wasted no time in taking on board new capabilities and new clients alike. It’s now, however, following a slew of new acquisitions that the team at Mod Op has access to a full spectrum of creative services whilst maintaining - crucially - the ‘boutique’ feeling that has underpinned their success to date. 

“We’ve been strategic with every acquisition that we’ve made”, explains Eric J. Bertrand, partner of eyeball and now CEO at Mod Op. “The point we’re at now means that we can offer all of the services that much larger agencies have access to - but we haven’t lost our understanding of client service, and that ability to communicate in a purely personal and genuine way”. 

The result of that setup, happily for Mod Op’s clients, is an agency which is uniquely capable of identifying and rising to any creative challenge in 2022. “What’s fantastic is that we’re able to offer clients a completely bespoke service, no matter what they’re trying to achieve”, explains COO Miles Dinsmoor. “We don’t have an agenda of trying to push anyone into digital, or into specifically out of home, or any one style of campaign. Whatever needs to be done, we can do it”. 

Ultimately, it’s a flexible creative philosophy which seems at home amidst the industry’s fragmented and ever-shifting media landscape. When no one tool is perfectly suited to getting the job done, a swiss army knife becomes incredibly valuable. So it is for Mod Op’s clients, who can benefit from the company’s multi-layered approach. In order to make the most of their capabilities, however, the team needs to stay on top of creative trends. And it’s once we arrive at that topic that Mod Op’s leadership team offers some fascinating insight. 

Emptying the Cookie Jar 

For many marketers, Google’s now two-year old announcement that they intended to ‘phase out’ third-party cookies represented a kind of advertising doomsday. Cookies - and the data they offer - had become instrumental in feeding the industry’s growing appetite for targeted advertising. “It’s something that everyone is aware of, but it’s almost not talked about enough in terms of the effect it’s about to have on how marketing works going forward”, notes EVP Aaron Sternlicht. 

In any crisis, as the old proverb allegedly says, there lies an opportunity. And, as Miles explains, the benefits to be found in the loss of cookies could be in equal parts immediate and transformative. “There’s a clear opportunity right out the gate for brands to use first-party data to build closer relationships with their audiences. We’ve been creating a few new digital ecosystems for clients in recent times, the ability to gather that first-party data and use it to forge meaningful connections - which your audience will actually value - is a huge part of what we build into those systems”, he explains. “There’ll be a big focus on gathering that data, and then managing customer relationships across different channels”.

Above: Mod Op’s work with the long-running car care brand Turtle Wax involved the creation of a new digital ecosystem. 

As Eric adds, that paradigm shift in the industry will lead to a fundamental change in the way marketing works. “It’s going to be less about reach, and more about messaging”, he says. “Success will be found in the way you contextualise your brand, and in what type of content you’re putting out there. And, ultimately, that’s where the opportunity is. It’s a whole new dimension of brand building - and that’s a great thing”. 

Looking through Mod Op’s recent campaigns, it becomes easy to see that philosophy in action. Take, for example, the company’s work with Warner Bros’ Interactive Entertainment’s LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. 

Above: A joyously relatable trailer from Mod Op. 

“We’ve been working with Warner Bros on LEGO Games titles since around 2016, developing a number of different campaigns”, says Aaron. “Most recently we helped to launch LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, and we partnered with WBIE marketing to handle the entire 360 campaign.”

The highly anticipated videogame title has a passionate fanbase, who had patiently (and not so patiently) waited for the game's release. In part thanks to Mod Op, the campaign showcased the breadth of gameplay in a way that galvanised fans and spurred massive engagement, with hundreds of millions of views worldwide. 

“Part of the reason the campaign hit the mark so well was because, in truth, we’re also fans of LEGO games ourselves”, continues Aaron. “We were able to draw on that to, I believe, connect with the game’s audience in a truly authentic way. We listened to the fans, heard what excited them about the game, and gave nods to those aspects. For example, we found one social thread discussing if (the character) Yaddle would be playable in the game. When we included her in a trailer, the fans went nuts. Another example is the “Darkness is Rising” trailer. We had detailed the breadth of the gameplay throughout the campaign, so with this trailer the team really wanted to make a piece for the fans, showcasing the humour… and that it’s just so much fun to play. The trailer is hilarious, especially when we end on Order 67.” It was content like that which helped keep a positive momentum around the marketing and ensure a successful launch. 

And the game’s launch certainly was successful - with 3.2 million units sold within its first two weeks of release, The Skywalker Saga has now become the fastest-selling LEGO video game of all time

The Right Tools For The Job

For a more all-encompassing example of Mod Op’s creative methodology, look to their work with Baha Mar, a $4.8 billion integrated resort, casino, water park, and residential development perched oceanfront in Nassau, The Bahamas. 

The idyllic luxury getaway enlisted Mop Op for their brand launch, culminating in the ‘Life Spectacular’ campaign which highlights Baha Mar’s power to elevate real life moments into something spectacular. The resort saw bookings rise over 326% in the first 4 months of the campaign launch, with sold-out dates in March, April, May, June, and July.

“What’s remarkable about that campaign was the scale of the success Baha Mar and The Bahamas has seen”, recalls Miles. “The first full year of the campaign saw the most visitors to The Bahamas ever, 1000 new air seats a day, and the resort itself represent about 12% of the GDP of The Bahamas. On a personal level, it’s always satisfying to see your work yield business results, but that was on another level entirely”. 

Behind that staggering success was a multi-channel campaign which, in a now-familiar pattern to followers of Mod Op’s work, knew precisely who its audience was. “We helped to launch the resort from a very foundational creative perspective, and helped to develop their brand outreach including video, out of home, and commercials”, recalls Eric. “But now, our relationship with them has evolved and we’re running online content, SEO, and outreach for their Casino and real estate projects. We truly love to partner with our clients, as that’s the best way to ensure long-term relationships - Baha Mar is a really great example of that”. 

Above: The success of Mod Op’s work with Baha Mar has helped grow the relationship and  leverage the agency’s unique network of capabilities.

Excitingly, that same multi-disciplinary philosophy can be seen right across Mod Op’s client base. “Although we’ve talked a lot about our B2C work, a good chunk of our business is actually B2B”, says Eric. “Whilst we’re not able to talk about specific client results quite as much due to proprietary data, it’s interesting how much crossover there is now in terms of our approaches to both markets”. 

Breaking that down, Miles identifies a shift in technology and audience behaviour which has enabled this crossover. “It used to be that people considered B2B as a kind of dry area, but we now find that the people we’re looking to communicate with are on YouTube, on social media, on all of these places we generally look at with our B2C clients”, he explains. “It means we’re applying all of these facilities across both arms of our business, and using them to grow”.

But, across the entire Mod Op team, there’s a palpable desire to maintain the bespoke, boutique business model they’ve honed based on long-term relationships with clients. “In our experience, that trust and understanding you earn over a long period of time is what delivers the best results”, say Eric. 

In Mod Op, it’s tempting to see the outline of a new model for the post-cookie, multi-platform future of creativity. That combination of data and experience with a distinctive creative flair has always proven a winning one for the industry’s most successful agencies. And, as Mod Op’s rise continues, there’s every chance it will provide a formula for success once again. 

view more - Company Profiles
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
Mod Op, Thu, 10 Nov 2022 09:10:53 GMT