There's a new monster in town. Three industry veterans have joined forces to open 3Headed Monster, a Dallas-based agency with an emphasis on integrating brand storytelling, design and technology.
The agency is led by founder and creative chairman Shon Rathbone, creative director Mark Ford and creative director Rey Nungaray.
Rathbone was most recently executive vice president/executive creative director at Publicis in Dallas. Before that, he worked at Leo Burnett, Carmichael-Lynch and Hal Riney.
Ford is a designer who spent 15 years at various West Coast design boutiques, working on brands like Nike and Coca-Cola. Nungaray is a digital specialist who recently left SapientNitro in New York, where he worked on Diesel and Godiva. Before that, he spent time at Publicis, the digital agency MEplusYOU and NBC Universal.
As part of its emphasis on innovation, the agency specifically rented office space at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, a shared-space incubator full of start-ups and venture capital activity. “The Texas economy is a juggernaut with a healthy tech and start-up community, yet there are no creative-led, digitally savvy agency start-ups in Dallas, which is its economic epicenter. The opportunity is ripe," says Rathbone. "The people we bump into at the coffee machine every morning are fighting their way to the cover of Fast Company. It’s refreshing, and it’s great for our agency’s DNA.”
This partnership is a result of changing industry trends, say the founders. Its model underscores the importance of fusing brand narratives with design and a full understanding of new media and communications technologies. At the same time, it serves as another example of the ongoing migration of seasoned agency vets leaving big, holding company-owned shops to move to small, entrepreneurial companies where they have more control over their work and an equity stake.
"The hardest part was assembling the right team because we have such a specific vision of what a modern agency should look like," says Rathbone. "We didn’t just grab a buddy and walk down the street like the old days -- 3Headed Monster was engineered to a purpose."
Clients include Nike Golf and fashion start-up Bhana, where 3Headed Monster has been tasked with creating a "soup-to-nuts" launch effort that includes branding, Web site design and social media. The agency is also working with Dallas-based ReelFX, the studio responsible for the CG-animated feature films “Free Birds” and “Open Season," to develop content for the upcoming launch of Oculus Rift.
At launch, 3Headed Monster will have four full-timers and variety of freelancers, depending on the scale of projects.