Despite the chaos and disruption of 2020, ICOM member agency DNA has managed to come out on top form, and has done so while fulfilling its promise not to undergo layoffs, furloughs, or pay cuts. It also honored it’s diversity commitments: 100% of all new recruits last year were BIPOC, women and/or those who identify as LGBTQ.
The Seattle-based agency adapted well to COVID-19 by coming up with innovative ways to allow its staff to work collaboratively from home, whilst also encouraging a healthy work-life balance with designated no-meetings slots during the day. They say this “people-first focus directly impacted our bottom line.” With a 69% increase in EBIDTA and a growth in revenue to $10.4 million (a nearly 16% rise from 2019), DNA saw its most profitable year in recent history. And they aren’t stopping there; the agency predicts a double-digit percentage jump this year as well. In keeping with their ‘people-first’ approach, employees also shared in this success: everyone was given equal bonuses as a reward for team effort. For all of its efforts, DNA was recently awarded AdAge’s Small Agency of the Year, Northwest, Gold award.
DNA’s success last year can, in part, be attributed to its smart creative undertakings, including a retro-inspired video game for Dragon’s Milk beer and a timely social media campaign for Rainier Beer called “Hibernation Survival Guide.” That being said, it has to be the agency’s work with nonprofit StolenYouth, whose mission it is to end child sex trafficking in Washington state, that really sets them apart in the purpose-driven ad world. DNA recently created and launched “Project SugarFree” to try and tackle ‘sugaring’, a practice in which older men exploit young girls for sex in exchange for gifts or money. The agency used an automated AI platform to intercept predatory social media mentions and respond with targeted messages that help victims and report exploiters.This project is having a huge impact - since its inception, 4000 Twitter posts have been reported, 1050 posts removed and 70 exploiters have been identified. Their work to prevent child sex trafficking continues.
We look forward to seeing what the future holds for DNA in years to come!