Inside View: Stun Creative
Mark Feldstein, Brad Roth – Principals • Stun Creative, Los Angeles • (www.stuncreative.com)
By Christine Bunish
Markee: You head a multi-award winning ad agency and production company with many projects for the major networks promoting high-profile shows. And you’re also best friends. How did you meet and form Stun Creative?
Mr. Feldstein: “I started as a copywriter at a boutique agency in [New York City’s] SoHo, then wrote and produced promos for Paramount Domestic Television, NBC and Showtime.”
Mr. Roth: “I wrote on pilots for MTV, moved to Classic Sports Network where I became head of creative services, then went to Discovery as head of promos for Travel Channel. Mark and I met when we occupied two of the three edit bays at a facility and struck up a conversation that turned into a friendship, and finally manifested itself in a partnership.”
Markee: What kind of business opportunity did you see for yourselves?
Mr. Feldstein: “There was no agency/production company hybrid that targeted the networks. Nobody was delivering agency-level creative and production for the schedules and prices networks needed.”
Mr. Roth: “We jotted down what we thought the opportunity was on the back of a napkin, literally. We only met face-to-face two more times before we went to LA to launch the company. It was partly design and partly good fortune that we came together as good business partners and good friends.”
Markee: How has Stun Creative grown over the last 12 years?
Mr. Feldstein: “We began with one Avid bay and us writing and directing everything, then built up the company organically. We added Buster, a motion graphics/animation/design shop, and about a year ago started Buster Ink, our print/outdoor/digital division. Now we produce cross-platform campaigns and services from concept through production, graphics, outdoor, print and digital. We can drill across from one core idea for an integrated, seamless marketing campaign.”
Markee: What makes Stun Creative stand out?
Mr. Feldstein: “We’ve carved a space for ourselves in comedy and have worked with high-profile celebrity comedy talent. We launched Conan on TBS with a highly-regarded campaign and Wilfred viral spots on FX last summer.”
Mr. Roth: “Right now we’re shooting Neil Patrick Harris for the Tony Awards for CBS. We’re known for understanding and capturing the voice of the talent – they respect that we don’t write something generic or ‘schticky’ for them. We invest in understanding each comic and each brand.”
Markee: Your company also does a lot of branded entertainment and commercials, right?
Mr. Roth: “For March Madness we shot our second Dove Men + Care campaign with big pro athletes delivering Dove’s Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin message. This year, we had Shaquille O’Neal and Steve Nash talking about their Journeys to Comfort. What started as an online campaign with Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi and Albert Pujols has transitioned to TV only. It’s an interesting way to sell men’s products and has been very successful for them and a great experience for us. We also produce the online comedy series, The Single Life, promoting Dentyne Ice; for the second season we have Zooey Deschanel’s company onboard as a creative partner.”
Markee: How have new tools facilitated your work?
Mr. Roth: “We were almost exclusively 35mm until a few years ago; now the RED camera predominates for our TV work with the Canon 5D and 7D for web-based projects. We have Avid Unity across all of our edit suites so multiple editors can share the same media. The digital revolution has upped the speed at which you can work – every time you think you can’t go faster some new technology allows you to shoot faster or work concurrently. Because everything seems do-able today, clients say there are no limits – anything can be achieved.”
Markee: What are some of your latest projects?
Mr. Feldstein: “We were one of the executive producers of the movie Welcome to the Jungle, a comedy starting Jean-Claude Van Damme directed by Rob Meltzer, a director at Stun Creative. It’s sort of Tropic Thunder meets The Office. We’ve done promos for ABC’s Don’t Trust The B– in Apt 23, A&E’s Duck Dynasty and NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams. We just completed Bravo’s big summer campaign – 30 of their most popular talent together in one campaign.”
Mr. Roth: “That’s quite a ride – comingling 30 ‘Bravo-lebrities’ who are all known for their drama and healthy sense of self. It gives fans of the individual shows a chance to see the stars interact and crossover.”