1. Ecko Unltd, “Still Free,” 2006. Droga5’s first work was a bold buzz-builder that didn’t appear to be an ad. In a grainy video, fashion CEO Marc Ecko hops a fence and seems to spray graffiti on Air Force One. It wasn’t real, but CNN and others bit, which massively amplified the reach of the low-budget campaign. “Before the term ‘viral video’ came out,” says Droga, “we used the mass media to our advantage.”
2. Jewish Council For Education And Research, “The Great Schlep,” 2008. During the 2008 presidential election, Droga5 came up with a pro-Obama campaign intended to sway the votes of elderly Jewish voters in the crucial swing state of Florida. The hilarious spots, starring comedian Sarah Silverman, were aimed not at the voters themselves, but rather at the demo most likely to command their undivided attention: their grandchildren.
3. Microsoft, “Decode Jay Z,” 2009. Microsoft wanted to attract younger users to its Bing Maps. Jay Z wanted to promote his autobiography. So Droga5 cooked up an unusual, mutually beneficial double campaign. “You can make partnerships where partnerships never existed,” says Droga. “Brands you’d usually have to pay millions of dollars will participate for nothing, because they want to be part of something cool.”
4. Prudential, “Day One,” 2011. When the insurance giant hired Droga5, there were fears—both from industry watchers and internal staff—that it might diminish Droga’s cool. “Everybody said, ‘You’ll ruin the agency,’ ” Droga recalls. “But no matter what the category, I’ll put our thinkers up against anybody’s.” The result was a series of powerful mini documentaries in which people share hopes and fears about retirement.
5. Under Armour, “I Will What I Want,” 2014. The athletic-gear company had a problem. “Women,” says Droga5 strategy chief Jonny Bauer, “thought the brand was for meatheads.” To promote Under Armour’s efforts to make items more female-friendly, Droga5 made ads with ballet dancer Misty Copeland. “Customers needed to know that the product had [truly] changed,” he says. “It wasn’t just ‘Make it pink.'”