Covert Agency Receives International Recognition in 41st Annual Creativity Interactive Media Awards

Creativity International AwardThe Covert Agency has received international acclaim for two recent projects in Creativity International’s 41st Annual Interactive and Online Media Awards.

Among this year’s winning work was the Covert Agency’s very own website (which had already garnered two prestigious awards in the local ADDY Awards competition back in March of this year) and a banner campaign developed for MyiCourse.com, the online knowledge-sharing community that encourages its members to “make the most of what they know.”

“We like it when our work is acknowledged by our industry peers, and it’s especially rewarding when the work we create on behalf of our clients is among that work,” said Creative Director Joe Bui.

“I think all of the recent success we’ve had in the online and interactive awards competitions may be starting to establish a case for a performance/salary review,” Interactive CD William Valencia added jubilantly.

“I don’t get it. The way most creatives get all worked up over this award show stuff, I wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with an award for the most awards won,” Business Manager Jennifer Kang was overheard saying.

This year, the Creativity International Awards’ talent pool was particularly impressive, because the winning pieces were selected from a much broader field than in previous years. According to Creativity International’s website (www.creativityawards.com), “This year’s awards… saw an astounding 84% increase in entries” vs. 2010 entries.

The winning work for 2011 represents a truly global cross-section of entrants, with honors going out to various agencies, studios and firms within the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Croatia, Australia, Japan, Korea, Brazil and even the United Arab Emirates.

According to the Creativity International website, their award show is “one of the longest running independent international advertising and graphic design competitions. Each year the judges choose the best designs, advertisements, marketing materials, websites, and commercials from all over the world to be reproduced in the 400-page Creativity Awards Annual.”

For more information, please contact Jennifer Kang, Covert Agency Business Manager at 323.899.0579.

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Covert Agency Retracts Previous Blog Entry.

The Covert Agency has retracted its previous blog entry (posted April 1st, 2011) and apologizes for any confusion or stock purchases based on the information contained in that release. Contrary to the fraudulent report, the fledgling “virtual” agency was not purchased by Omnicom Corp for an undisclosed amount.

After a thorough investigation, it was determined that an unidentified operative working even deeper undercover hacked the Covert Agency blog site yesterday as an April Fool’s Day hoax.

“While we regret this security breach,” commented Jennifer Kang, Covert Agency Business Manager, “If Omnicom CEO John Wren ever wants to talk, we’ll listen.”

The Covert Agency is widely known as “the best-kept secret in Marketing Communications” and has been in operation since late 2010.

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Covert Agency Acquired by Omnicom

In a surprise move, a Covert Agency spokeperson announced that the fledgeling “virtual” agency had been acquired by Omnicom, a leading global
advertising and marketing holding company.

The amount of the sale was not disclosed at the time of this release.

“We had been approached about this when we first announced our business concept, but we didn’t think the funding for the offer was going to go through,” said Jennifer Kang, Covert Agency Business Manager.

Joe Bui, the agency’s Creative Director added, “This infusion of cash and resources will undoubtedly have a profound effect on our creative reach and production capabilities.”

“This is unbelievable! We knew there was some interest from the holding giant, but I think it all came together when we started winning our recent slew of awards,” remarked William Valencia, Interactive Creative Director, between sips of champagne.

The Covert Agency just received four prestigious accolades at the North Los Angeles ADDY® competition. (See full story in earlier release) And it was just announced on Monday that one of the agency’s C.O.R.E. partners also received three Gold Awards in the Fresno ADDYs while working undercover for another marketing company.

The Covert Agency is widely known as “the best-kept secret in Marketing Communications” and has been in operation since late 2010. There is some debate on the company’s actual date of inception but most industry sources place the date at approximately December 10th, 2010.

Omnicom is one of the world’s largest communications holding companies and, according to their website, their “branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to more than 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.”

With the move, the Covert Agency joins the ranks of such global advertising networks as BBDO, DDB and TBWA and a network of over 175 marketing services companies.

For more information, or to become a client or covert agent, contact the agency via their website at www.covertagency.com

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Covert Agency Wins Several Top Honors in Local ADDY Competition.

Unidentified agents

Two unidentified covert agents receiving one of several awards from AdProsLA Vice President Melanie Erichsen and 2010 ADDY Chair Bryan Hauge

In their first ever industry competition, the Covert Agency was awarded several high honors at the North Los Angeles County ADDY® Awards, held last night at the famous Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills, CA.

The awards included a Best in Category (Gold) Award for the Covert Agency website, which also won Best Art Direction overall at last night’s competition. As a winner of an elite Gold Award, the B2B website will automatically move on to compete at the regional level, which will be judged April 9th in Ontario, California. Depending on the outcome of that round of competition, it’s possible that the work could move on to compete at the national level for top honors in early May.

The Covert Agency also took home an Award of Excellence for their new logo, as well as an Award of Distinction for their humorous Holiday eCard.

“Overall, it was a very good night for us,” said Creative Director Joe Bui. “It’s always nice when our work receives recognition from our industry peers.”

“And this really demonstrates what we’re capable of doing for our clients,” added Jennifer Kang, the agency’s Business Manager.

“We are elated at the outcome,” said Interactive Creative Director William Valencia, “and the agency website was the perfect example of how our team was able to pool together their various skills and talents to create something really special.”

The website features a clean white look with aptly-themed visuals, some well-crafted copy that describes the company and its offerings, and several examples of previous and current creative work.

The ADDY Awards are hosted by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and are the creative industry’s largest and most representative competition, attracting over 60,000 entries every year in local ADDY competitions. The mission of the ADDY competition is to recognize and reward creative excellence in advertising, graphic design, web design, illustration and photography. The North Los Angeles County ADDY Awards are presented each year by AdProsLA and for more information, you can visit their website at www.adprosla.com/addyawards.asp

About Covert Agency
Founded in late 2010, the Covert Agency is a “virtual” ad agency formed by an elite group of senior-level advertising agency creatives who’ve mastered the art of making impossible deadlines possible while quietly producing award-winning work for their clients in the electronics, entertainment, automotive, technology, retail and dealer support categories, just to name a few. According to sources inside the organization who asked not to be identified, the agency’s success is due in large part to its lean and mean philosophy, small carbon footprint, and penchant for wearing black.

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Covert Agency Reveals Controversial New Work for MyiCourse.com.

Earlier this week, the Covert Agency “leaked” a new online banner campaign for one of its more relatively-unknown clients, MyiCourse.com.

“This banner campaign, though limited in budget, features some well-known personalities and has been generating a lot of buzz within our website’s online community and also in the broader market,” MyiCourse owner and spokesman Michael Stahl was quoted as saying.

The campaign features several infamous celebrities, in many cases depicted by their recent mug shots, accompanied by the title of a hypothetical online course that each would be uniquely adept at teaching. For example, Charlie Sheen (pre-#TigerBlood) would be well qualified to teach a course on “How to Choose a Hooker.” The world’s leading heiress, Paris Hilton, might be inclined to offer a course on “How to get by on $50k a day.” And the inimitable Tony Hayward (ex-CEO of British Petroleum) might consider a course offering entitled, “Keeping Our Beaches Clean.”

“We knew our work was timely, but thanks to the recent spike in Charlie Sheen’s online popularity, we had no idea how timely it would be,” said Jennifer Kang, Covert Agency Business Manager.

MyiCourse.com was formed in 2009 and has grown to include over 4,200 registered users. It is primarily a free, online community that encourages its members to “make the most of what they know” by sharing or exchanging knowledge that is unique to their particular area of expertise. The created coursework and customizable learning management platform allow anyone the opportunity to share their knowledge with others.

The campaign, which was originally created in late 2010, and has appeared on the MyiCourse.com website and its affiliated sites over the past three months. Media spending was undisclosed at the time of this posting.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Kang, Covert Agency Business Manager at 323.899.0579.

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Covert Agency Unveils New Website.

The Covert Agency, in their own inimitable style, stealthily launched their new agency website last month, amid a storm of secrecy.

“This site is so cool, we weren’t sure if we wanted to share it with the entire world,” Creative Director Joe Bui was quoted as saying. “But because we needed potential clients to be able to find us, we had no other choice than to launch the site.”

Up until now, the only way to access this elite creative team was via an underground network of clandestine operatives, which made it somewhat challenging for potential clients to contact the agency. “Our original strategy, while definitely very covert, did not seem viable for our long-term success,” Business Manager Jennifer Kang added.

No one is absolutely certain when the site actually went live. Some rumors assert that the website has been up and running for almost a year. But more popular estimates place the date somewhere between December 29, 2010 and January 15, 2011. The shop’s Interactive Creative Director, William Valencia, could not be reached for comment.

The Covert Agency is being positioned as a “virtual” creative resource for both ad agencies and clients alike. According to information available on their new website, the CORE Creative Team is a “truly lethal force against mediocre creative,” boasting extensive experience in all areas of creative development, from national branding work, to retail or dealer initiatives and point-of-sale.

“What’s great about our business model is that we can work seamlessly as an overlay to any ad agency’s creative department, or we can work directly with clients to meet their creative/marketing needs,” said Ara Keoshkerian, the agency’s Creative Services Manager.

For more information, please visit www.covertagency.com

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RUMOR: Covert Agency Web Site set to launch soon.

Covert Agency Site Temporary Landing Page

After months of planning and several weeks of building, the Covert Agency web site is rumored to be almost ready to launch. “We have 90% of our assets and we’re just working out a few bugs,” said William Valencia (Managing Partner/Interactive Creative Director).

“I think William has done an amazing job. And this is exactly why we went out and recruited him for the Interactive Creative director position,” said Joe Bui (Managing Partner/Creative Director). “William has taken the concept of our business and built a hard-working, fun-reading site around it.”

Originally planned for launch in mid-January 2011, the site looks like it may be a week or two ahead of schedule.

“For a project of this scope and magnitude, this is a rare occurrence and is further evidence that we are operating at a very high level of efficiency,” said Jennifer Kang (Managing Partner, Business Services). “We can’t wait to roll this site out, and many of our prospective clients are looking forward to its unveiling, too.”

The site features a clean white look and some very well-crafted copy that describes the company, its offerings and several examples of previous creative work.

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Covert Agency Holiday Party 2010

Our 1st annual Holiday Invite.

On December 10th, 2010, the Covert Agency held it’s first official holiday party at the Fifth Bar & Lounge in Studio City, CA. About 70 of the agency’s closest friends and future allies showed up to share some holiday cheer, while celebrating the agency’s unofficial “pre-launch.”

The invitees ranged from independent creative professionals, current and future covert agents, industry vendors, friends and family. “I saw several award-winning creative types just laughing and hanging out,” one aspiring art director was overheard saying.

Some attendees were treated to a pre-screening of the agency’s web site, and were able to give positive feedback to the development team.

The Fifth Bar & Lounge had been the location of two previous holiday parties when the team had been working together on other projects. Hidden away in the back of a strip mall on the other side of the L.A. River, it is a surprisingly chic, divey lounge-style bar with a healthy dose of post-70’s modernism thrown in for good measure. It was originally named “Studio Suite” and was a true Valley dive bar in every sense of the word before being taken over by the Vintage Bar Group (The Well, The Woods, NoBar, Bar 21) in 2008. Interesting fun fact: The Fifth got its name because it was the fifth property purchased by VBG.

“There was a lot of positive energy at the event,” the agency’s business manager, Jennifer Kang said, “Everyone seems so excited and supportive.”

Covert Holiday Party 2010
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Covert Agency Recruits ICD William Valencia

ICD William Valencia

To round out their creative arsenal, the Covert Agency has recruited the talented and highly sought-after William Valencia (Interactive Guru and traditional agency Creative/Art Director) as the newest partner in the new business venture.

William joins Jennifer Kang (Business Manager), Ara Keoshkerian (Creative Manager) and Joe Bui (Creative Director) as the agency’s Interactive Creative Director. In addition to taking the lead on all of the Covert Agency’s interactive and web-based initiatives, William will also step in from time to time on more traditional creative/strategic media projects. (Thanks to his many years of experience working as a senior-level creative in traditional advertising.)

“It was only the right thing to do,” said Ara Keoshkerian of the decision to recruit William. “He’s one of the few digital media pioneers who also possesses an innate knowledge and appreciation for concept and design.”

“Not only that, he’s also one of the nicest people in the business, and he has really soft hands,” added the agency’s Creative Director, Joe Bui.

The Covert Agency’s business model will be that of a distributed “virtual” workforce.

It is a model that the Partners have had a high degree of success with in the past, while working together as part of an off-site creative team for DIRECTV Retail Marketing. “This model really gives us the most flexibility and allows us to provide maximum ROI for our clients, no matter what the media” concluded Mr. Valencia.

The agency has a projected launch date of January 1, 2011.

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Covert Agency: New Company, New Logo.

Version 1A

As soon as the words “Covert Agency” left his mouth, Joe Bui (Creative Director), Jennifer Kang (Business Manager) and Ara Keoshkerian (Creative Manager) knew they had something special to work with.

One of the first orders of business was to design a new logo for the start-up advertising, design and marketing company. Joe and Ara jumped in with both feet and within a few days they had several concepts strewn about their virtual studios.
What emerged was a parody of the official-looking governmental logo used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). But several steps had to be taken to alter the design and messaging so that it better reflected what the Covert Agency would eventually come to stand for.

Instead of the traditional olive branches flanking the center shield, a pen and pencil were added. The “scales of justice” were replaced with a graphic “all-seeing eye” to represent vision and clarity. The words “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” were replaced with “Courage, Creativity, Results.” (Not that the Covert Agency doesn’t encourage fidelity, bravery and integrity. But the agency just felt that courage, creativity and results would be much more appropriate for a design/marketing agency!)

Of course, the main text in the logo needed to be updated as well. So the words “Covert Agency” were added to the top hemisphere, and the new motto, “To design and to serve” were added to the bottom.

The last step was to rebuild the artwork from the ground up, with smoother gradations, some snazzy lighting effects and more legible typography. (After all, how bad would it be if a design company didn’t have an ass-kicking logo?)

With their new logo in hand, the team now needed to set it sights on the next order of business.

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