This San Francisco Indie Agency Takes Consumers Deep Into the Brand-Building Process

Odysseus Arms sees value in 'working with strangers'

Headshot of Marty Swant


Who (L. to r.) Managing director Eric Dunn and co-founders Franklin Tipton and Libby Brockhoff

Agency Odysseus Arms

What Creative ad agency

Where San Francisco

Unlike the Trojan horse built by Odysseus of Greece, San Francisco-based Odysseus Arms doesn't build something and hope people will come. "This is the neighborhood with the most innovation running through it," said co-founder Libby Brockhoff. "Nobody moves out here to have rules, so we tried to break down advertising and rebuild it for the modern times." That approach includes spending more than 100 hours with the consumers it's trying to reach through a process that the 5-year-old shop calls "working with strangers." This methodology helped it create campaigns for tech companies like Facebook, nongovernmental organizations like Amnesty International and entertainment and media brands like NBCUniversal. For the E! network, the shop helped launch Caitlyn Jenner into the world. By spending time with Jenner before and after her transition, the team created a strategy for the network in a way that both promoted the show and raised awareness about social issues affecting transgender people.

This story first appeared in the September 26, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.

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@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.