Mixology – A tender crash course in NYCA’s grow! culture

May 13, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

NYCA vibrates on the edge of the ocean. We put the agency’s roots down here to be close to our core customers. Encinitas is our home; known for sun-dazed walks along the beach, awesome surf spots called Swamis and the Boneyard, cutesy eclectic retailers displaying their wares and social consciousness. We made sure to put ourselves far from the city and the hum-drum, conventional thinking of the ad agency world and land in a neighborhood where the hairdressers take cigarette breaks while thumbing through People magazine, by the hardware stores, and a diner, the kite store (never saw one of those before but it makes sense when you’re on the ocean), indie sneaker store, used-car lot, Self-Realization center, French bakery, dry cleaners. We’re with the people, and that keeps us in touch with reality – something I’m not convinced most agencies are and the cause for many of the misses in their work. It’s hard to relate to people when they look like ants from the 47th floor and you’re cooler than thou.

Being far enough to be close puts added pressure on us because if we are to fulfill our mission of growing every client’s business in the marketplace, we must be — and remain –current to what is happening in their businesses. We must be stimulated by each other, by our clients, their products, their customers, their competition, the industries, the mediums, the marketplace, the technologies and more. That’s why Michelle, our president and chief planner, invented Mixology – and I love Mixology! It’s 1 hour every other week around 4 pm when we have guest innovators come visit our beach shack to share what they have been tinkering with, what they have learned. These generous experts jolt us. We learn, we apply, we grow!

Last week we had an engineer from Apple in to show us the marketing uses of the iPad (he was kinda cooler than thou but in a real way). We’ve had people from Yahoo!, Facebook, musicians, loads of media companies whom I think are the real night crawlers searching for connection between message and audience – thanks for that! And we have hosted technology companies and a dream interpreter and nutritionists, futurists, and bakers opening us to the new, the effective, the failures. We have focused the SoCal sunlight on our own NYCAers who recently shared breakthroughs in TiVo: we experimented and crushed the projections on this campaign! Lisa showed us how in PowerPoint our ideas can be more powerful and useful in meetings.

We are a contradiction to conventional approaches, a connection with the ever-changing present – a culture that has ourselves on the edge and in the middle to make sure we are inside the customer’s heart and mind because we are so out there. The dichotomy is NYCA, and we are comfortable with the oxymoronishness.

We are the sharpened teeth of New York and the tradewind vibes of California. We work in harmonious chaos, comfy and danger-filled days, mashing up science and mysticism, instinct and data, music, pictures, words and silence; we are the fathomless open mind of the Pacific Ocean and the social technology revolution that is happening in mobile now.

My favorite cookie growing up was a black and white: 50% vanilla frosting, 50% chocolate frosting. I would eat from the edges into the middle, side by side, leaving two pieces at the end – each purely themselves — and then smush them both in my mouth for the ultimate flavor mélange sensation. That’s the taste of NYCA.

Mixology is that. You gotta come by and check it out. Let me know if you want to teach or be taught – either way you learn. Both sides working distinctly and in unison, like a black and white cookie.