A New Kind of Agency, 22 Years in the Making

Author: Mike Hayward

After 16 years at Copacino Fujikado (CF), I officially became part of the agency’s ownership group on February 28th.

On February 29th, the U.S. reported its first COVID-19 death in our home state of Washington. Needless to say, we all know what came next. It wasn’t exactly how we expected to usher in an exciting new era for CF. 

Six months later, we’re still trying to run and grow our business from home. With expertise in both healthcare and financial services, along with a well-rounded client roster, we’ve been luckier than agencies that rely largely on major retail or travel brands.

But success going forward will have little to do with luck. This pandemic has laid bare the truth about this industry: talent, drive, and resilience can make or break an advertising agency. Yes, the Zoom light shines brightly on the quality of the actual work. There’s no falling back on charismatic presenters working the room or grand agency lobbies that scream “we’re creative!” to would-be clients as they step off the lift. Ideas, effort, and the ability to dig deeper than others determines your fate. 

We have built Copacino Fujikado for just such a time, investing heavily in research tools and people with big brains to crack tough codes. Both talented and diverse, our creative department brings fresh perspectives to each new challenge, and our account group consists of strategic thinkers, not client wranglers. 

Over the last five years, we’ve assembled a social, digital and media team that can compete with even the biggest of agencies, bringing strategy, planning, and buying across disciplines under one roof. Plus, our FreshCoat Studios can produce anything we cook up. In fact, we just produced the first virtual distributor’s conference for a division of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates completely in house. 

We work hard too. And not in the destructive, soul crushing, old school nights and weekends kind of way. We push each other. We demand more from ourselves, and we’re not afraid to toss a whole pile of work and go back to the drawing board if it’s not quite right. 

It’s not hyperbole to say we’ve done some of our best work these last six months. We took what was going to be an Olympics campaign pre-COVID-19 featuring Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird and turned it into a hit ESPYs campaign instead. And we created an original song for the Seattle Aquarium with the help of a famous artist’s family. All completely remote. 

Being an independent agency helps. No one tells us where to devote our resources or energy, or when to put our pencils down because we’re well past billable hours. That freedom has continued to energize the entire agency over the past six months, allowing us to carefully craft the work and dig deeper until we get to something great.