Planning/Buying Award: Exile on 7th

The agency is staffed by experienced people who actually like planning, buying, and analyzing media. Established in the fall of 1996 in its founder’s basement on 7th avenue in San Francisco, Exile on 7th, then called McMahon & Partners, opened their doors with two clients: Bank of America and One was a 92-year-old “old economy” stalwart hoping to learn something about this potential new media called the web, and the other a “new economy” start-up little over a year old that grew to symbolize all the promises of a brave new world existing in cyberspace.

Michael McMahon, the founder, came from a direct marketing background and has always understood the primacy of data and analysis to inform decisions being made about a client’s creative and the media it runs on. They take data being generated by all of the activity involved with an ad campaign on the web and turn it into useful information. The planning group can then take that information and decide what combination of sites and creative yield the best results based on the objectives set from the beginning. Exile on 7th is not just an interactive agency, though. They’ve produced print and television for clients like Hotmail, pre-Microsoft, and OmniSky. Online efforts this year have been for the Microsoft XP launch and work for Wells Fargo. The XP launch included a kind of “takeover” of’s Money page, the first uninitiated audio on CNet, flash and audio within Skyscraper units, and full-page ads on MSN.

Though he couldn’t say exactly what the figures are, as complete research is still outstanding, “our XP launch is arguably one of the most successful online branding campaigns ever done on the web,” says Alan Burgis, President of Exile on 7th.

Burgis says there are three things that make them unique from other shops. “First, we separate from a ‘hiring’ point of view: media planning, media buying, and media analysis. That way, you get people who really like one of these things. If you like it, you tend to be good at it. Second, there is a collective experience here at Exile on 7th that is absent elsewhere, meaning you have staff who aren’t looking at an opportunity or a situation for the first time.”

“Third and most important is that all the people who hold senior positions here have all had lives before. They came from another world from outside just the online realm. They have the collective experience to draw on and apply to online. Many agencies have a great, intelligent staff, but they are too young to sit in a room with a client and talk about media integration or about being media agnostic.”

Burgis emphasizes that everything that distinguishes Exile on 7th is the staff. “We’re a great bunch of people. We have a great sense of teamwork and harmony here, and money can’t buy that. If it weren’t for them, when the times were tough, we wouldn’t have been here today.”

1 comment about "Planning/Buying Award: Exile on 7th".
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  1. Michael Mcmahon from ROI Factory / Quick Ops, February 19, 2009 at 3:01 p.m.

    Hey, why didn't I ever see this article before?! This makes us sound pretty damn good!

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