The foundation of great work is a strong strategy. It’s what guides the courses we take to get clients where they want to go.
We prefer open communication with our clients to learn their businesses, develop relationships with their team, and jot down the small anecdotes that lead to big ideas down the line.
DEVELOPING GREAT WORK REQUIRES TRUST.
We believe an environment that promotes our team’s physical and mental health creates an atmosphere of inspiration and collaboration. So that’s just what we do. Together we’ve developed a flexible workflow that allows us to influence culture from the inside of our office or from the inside of our homes.
Our investment in people grows well outside our workspace. We understand this is all bigger than ourselves, so Defy continues to serve nonprofits and the ad community at large.
Don’t see a position for you? Send your stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always interested in putting the best talent on our radar.
IN THE MIDST OF THE PANDEMIC, WELCOME AMERICA AND DEFY WORKED TOGETHER TO CREATE THE COVID-SAFE VIRTUAL EVENT OF THE YEAR.
Allbusinesses and brands have felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the live events and entertainment sector (which is, by definition, contingent on large social gatherings) has been among the hardest hit. Welcome America, the entity responsible for Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America festival, is one such entity.
One of Defy’s longest tenured clients, Welcome America (WA) is accustomed to making miracles happen. Year after year, their incredibly efficient staff throws the country’s biggest and best 4th of July party. Actually, “party” is a bit of an understatement: Welcome America’s annual event often involves more than a week’s worth of free community activities, concerts, educational experiences, and service opportunities, and culminates in a massive Independence Day concert on the parkway. Past July 4th headliners include Mary J. Blige, Pitbull, Jennifer Hudson, Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle, and Nicki Minaj.
Anyone who’s ever worked a live event knows that last-minute changes, challenges, and shifts are par for the course. 2020’s challenge, however, was in a category all its own, as the Welcome America team was tasked with throwing a massive live event without, uh… any massive live events.
No people? No problem. Here’s how Welcome America and Defy collaborated for six frenetic weeks to provide entertainment, community, and value for fans, government stakeholders, and sponsors without putting anyone at risk. Welcome America spent the spring working up a contingency plan that we all hoped would never be used (spoiler alert: it was). Defy got an advanced look at the brand’s plan; then, when the decision to go virtual was made in May, it was all systems go.
With the festival now 100% virtual, our first order of business was to turn around a lightning fast rebrand to ensure the event’s digital assets were fresh, eye-catching, and inviting. Within weeks, we finalized a bold new color palette, messaging platform, and visual system (including, critically, a system-wide emphasis on replacing photos and videos of large group gatherings with content more appropriate for the time). Together with WA’s cadre of marketing partners, we began implementing the new brand to all festival assets, from digital brochures to social templates to broadcast packages.
Simultaneously, we got to work figuring out how WA’s many performances could be filmed to go digital at a time when indoor gatherings were either banned altogether or strictly regulated. Thanks to the flexibility of everyone from camera crews to performers, many events were able to pivot to become “COVID-Legal”: a gospel choir of 100+ became a tight (but socially distanced) group of 25; the Philly POPS Festival Chorus live streamed from the Met; and virtual tours of Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House replaced on-site festivities.
The team at Defy collaborated with WA to establish a workflow that would enable all pre-recorded events to be edited, approved, and then branded to ensure event-wide continuity. Timelines were tight, but everyone was able to work together to meet a barrage of set-in-stone deadlines. Another critical component requiring strategic consideration? Community. How could we make an event that previously relied so significantly on group interaction continue to feel like a shared experience?
Ultimately, we tackled this problem with a variety of solutions. From a social standpoint, we implemented a tag board on WelcomeAmerica.com, providing a forum for viewers to share their experiences using the #July4thPhilly hashtag. The WA team also hosted two virtual gaming events, a pair of read-along videos, and dozens of engagement-focused activities like the NRG “Decorate Your Door” contest and IBX’s “Wellness Corner”.
Ultimately, Welcome America’s first fully-digital festival was a huge success, with events like the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Let Freedom Ring concert (featuring a banjo performance by the legendary Steve Martin) enjoying record audiences – turns out that unlimited seating is one of the more significant perks of presenting content virtually! In addition to engaging more far-flung viewers than would be possible with an in-person event, this year’s festival provided sponsors with creative placement solutions, and saw more than 800,000 viewers tuned in to the festival’s main event: a concert at The Met featuring Cynthia Erivo and Jason Derulo.
Perhaps more critically, the festival was able to provide moments of unity to a city – and nation – struggling with division, and keep its citizens safe in the process.
We have never been more proud to associate with the team at Welcome America, and look forward to continuing “owning the 4th” in the heart of our nation for years to come, virtually or otherwise.
You always had a choice. Instead of following, you chose to Defy.
As you’ve come to know from our relationship, we always looked to push beyond limits to help our clients create work that stands out from the norm.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve finally gotten around to focusing this same approach on our own agency.
Moving forward, the agency formerly known as [ 2 one 5 ] Creative will go by Defy.
Our new brand name honors the spirit of our beginnings as an artists collective 20 years ago, and lights an exciting path ahead for an agency that continues to grow and evolve.
Together, we look forward to continuing to defy the conventional, limits, and expectations in 2021 and beyond.