Deutsch LA recently took on a new client, The Bouqs, as a personal favor for one of its own employees. That may sound potentially sketchy, but here’s why it’s not.
It is part of an initiative at Deutsch LA called the Side Project, which aims to officially recognize and support agency staffers’ side projects by allotting agency resources — not dollars, but creative teams, expertise, and agency and partner services — to help certain ones get off the ground. Because if there’s anything that has become clear lately, it’s that keeping young talent at agencies has its challenges. One way to keep young creatives motivated and happy is by giving them creative outlets and acknowledging their outside interests.
“It came out of a desire to enhance and strengthen our entrepreneurial culture,” explained Kim Getty, partner and COO at Deutsch LA. “A lot of people here in the building have side projects going, and as opposed to asking them to do them at night or keep them hidden, we wanted to let them know that we are excited about those things and proud of that.”
The way the Side Project works is that every so often, Deutsch LA sends out a call for submissions through the agency. People who have side projects they want help with then present in an open forum to agency execs and partners, who in turn pick a small handful of winners to support.
Flower delivery company the Bouqs is the most recent Deutsch employee side project to get help from the agency. Senior copywriter Dave Plafchan had been helping his two friends, John Tabis and JP Montufar, with the Bouqs, which aims to make flower delivery an easy, transparent process for dudes so that they are never that bad boyfriend who forgets to send flowers on Valentine’s Day or on birthdays. Plafchan had been acting as creative director for The Bouqs and decided it was strong enough to present to the Side Projects panel.
Deutsch’s support has resulted in creative and strategic insight from agency execs and partners. They also provided a full creative and production team from partner Park Pictures who helped create The Bouqs’ first TV spot, which just started airing on national cable last week and will continue to air leading up to Valentine’s Day.
“When we started discussing what piece Deutsch was going to help us with, we started off by asking for a viral video, but ended up getting help with PR in launching the business, some creative direction and then the TV spot,” explained Plafchan. “I was assigned a creative team and creative director who is actually my creative director, which was pretty cool — I got to be his boss for a little.”
So far, the ad has gotten more than 19,000 views, and The Bouqs team is thrilled to be able to have an agency like Deutsch LA help it in these early stages. For Plafchan, the Side Project has been an invaluable experience.
“Being an entrepreneur and being at a place that allows me to seed that passion is great,” said Plafchan. “As an agency, I can only see it as beneficial to support creative people’s endeavors — it allows agencies to show off a portfolio of people that are interesting and well-versed in different things.”
The one potential downside for agencies in helping their employee’s side projects is losing those people if their side projects take off.
“We recognized that losing talent is a risk, but it’s a good problem to have,” said Getty. “If Dave’s company gets to the point where he can go and start his second career, we will miss him a lot, but we will also be so proud of him.”
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