Tony Hawk is the latest celebrity to enter the advertising world, with the launch of hybrid brand consultancy and creative agency D/CAL.
Other founding partners include mcgarrybowen and Carhartt vet Adam Wilson, Leo Burnett, Arc and Trisect vet Ryan Maconochie and Jared Prindle, formerly of Tony Hawk, Inc. and 900 Films.
The agency launches with a team of agency execs, brand marketers, cultural entrepreneurs and a growing network of creators. Launch clients include Michigan-based Drought and HoMedics, Chicago-based CityBase and San Diego-based Tony Hawk Foundation.
“As the next generation continues to favor meaningful brands, the ones that can reconcile cultural relevance with commercial success will endure,” Wilson said in a statement. “We’re here to help make that happen.”
D/CAL launches with offices in Detroit and San Diego, providing clients a full range of brand consultancy and agency services. Hawk’s involvement as a co-founder hints at how D/CAL plans to set itself apart by enlisting creative and strategic individuals from outside the agency world.
“I’ve worked with many brands and their agencies over the years and even as a relative outsider looking in, I understand the challenges between clients and agencies,” Hawk added. “Our approach is unique, with an emphasis on authenticity.”
D/CAL provides four integrated services to clients.
Brand consultancy services include purpose-driven brand planning, product/service innovation, “brand as publisher” consultation and optimization of clients’ in-house capabilities.
“Let’s help clients figure out how to unlock belief in their brand. Then figure out what shape our agency services need to take to help activate it,” Wilson said in a statement. “It’s a subtle, yet big differentiator.”
D/CAL’s culture advisory board (CAB) features a range of cultural influencers from various backgrounds, overseen by directors Rick Williams (Burn Rubber) and Cathy Goodman (Skateistan, Tony Hawk Foundation). The advisory board includes pro sports photographer Atiba Jefferson, Lady Gaga producer Paul Blair (DJ White Shadow), adventure photographer Joe Gall, One Part Plant author Jessica Murnane and Ghetto Gastro founder Jon Gray.
Wilson described CAB as an “extension of our consultancy” providing “street-level, here and now insights” allowing clients to connect various elements of culture.
D/CAL’s creator network allows the agency to collaborate with creators from outside the industry through a reimagined briefing process, pairing them with a small group of experienced agency creatives.
D/CAL also offers a growing roster of specialized partners for clients to partner with, furthering its flexible approach. The roster currently includes Hawk’s production company, 900 Films and app development shop Detroit Labs.
“We can build a full-service offering, or complement a brand’s in-house agency without putting the burden of scale squarely on our clients,” director of client services Katherine Huber said in a statement. “Clients and agencies don’t want to feel boxed in anymore.”
Tony Hawk is, of course, not the first celebrity to venture into advertising. A little over a year ago Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson launched his own agency, Seven Bucks Creative. In 2016, Wild Turkey named Matthew McConaughey as the brand’s creative director.