Advertising veterans Luis Ramirez and J Barbush are partnering to launch Cast Iron LA, an agency specializing in digital, social and creative marketing. Notably, in an industry that often seems obsessed with youth, the agency is embracing the experience of its senior team--both founders and a number of other staffers at the new agency all proudly embrace their “over 50” status.
"We love the metaphor, especially that it gets 'better with age,' a nice reminder for an industry that tends to value youth over experience, “ says Barbush. "The new agency world doesn’t look like Newport Harbor, it looks like Spring Break in Havasu.”
“Experienced people hitching their small boats together to offer better services for less money. It is an attractive and efficient way for brands to stay afloat, as budgets get cut, workload increases and their agencies can’t figure a way to adapt."
Cast Iron LA clients include ThinOptics, Hilti Tools, erbaviva organic skincare, NDK Builders, and Tripp Burgers. Barbush adds there are "several others" currently in negotiations.
"We use our experience to simplify the relationship between brands and agencies by offering direct contact between the creatives and the client. Bloat is our enemy, silos are our battles, so we are building creative teams that can create the work, manage the work and pitch it all to the client."
Barbush was let go after 23 years from RPA during a restructure. Ramirez went through a similar transition a few years earlier. Both worked on the Honda account, creating Gil The Crab Honda Social Campaign in the early MySpace days, even winning MediaPost's OMMA award in 2006.
"We were both well along in our careers, and it was difficult to restart at 50," Barbush admits. "Many people are going through the same thing." The name Cast Iron, he adds, “represents the rebirth of old metal that’s been cast away. All those metal scraps were collected and melted together in a process that made them stronger than before."
This metaphor is also woven throughout the agency. For instance, they sought a printer providing recycled paper.
“That’s why Cast Iron is so versatile, and will outlive everything else in your pantry," he says. "As kitchen fads come and go, this one will remain. It is strong, resilient, easy to work with, and gets consistent results."