Five years ago, co-workers Autumn Berrang and Taylor Harkey took a major plunge: They left their jobs to launch Adjective & Co., a branding and advertising agency based in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., with a presence in Montauk, N.Y. The pair felt the regions needed a shop of the creative caliber of big-city agencies. “What we tried to do was to take all of the great parts of the bigger agency world and leave behind all of the parts that we felt like didn’t work at larger shops,” Berrang explained. Today, Adjective & Co. counts Jacksonville’s St. Vincent’s Hospital and the New York Islanders as clients. For the latter, Adjective recently put out the “#FanUp” campaign, which fans themselves starred in.
But that’s only part of the picture: In December 2015, the shop launched Whalebone, a periodical featuring Montauk’s culture. Berrang and Harkey seamlessly blend Whalebone’s ads with the magazine itself. For example, it will work with an advertiser to create a black-and-white ad if it appears next to a black-and-white photo spread. “When you look through the magazine, it doesn’t look like there’s [an] ad in it,” Harkey said. “In order to stand out, you fit in.” At first, he added, it was a struggle to get brands to agree, but it became an easier sell once they realized that it helps make a brand’s message feel more authentic.