Agency Profile: Creaxion

Agency heads say it all the time -- they specifically tailor their services to meet the client's needs. The advertiser needs big; they're big. The buyer needs boutique; they're that too. While Atlanta-based Creaxion is as flexible as others, it has changed gears to focus on a few key areas that mirror the very make-up the agency.

A full one-third of the agency is gay or lesbian, and nearly the entire staff is under 40. So it has created two niche practices aimed at the youth and gay/lesbian markets. "Why not tap that knowledge and offer that to our clients,"says Creaxion founder and CEO Mark Pettit. "It makes us that much more credible when you're sitting in a client meeting and you can say your people know the products, and live the lifestyle. So far we're getting good response from clients."

The decision to target the 19 million openly gay and lesbian Americans, many of whom live in Atlanta, is a natural for the agency, says Pettit, since it connects to its existing luxury brand practice, which includes such clients as Porsche, Sullivan Birney Winery, and such Atlanta retailers such as Mark Edge Jewelry and Laslie-Williams Design. "We see a lot of crossover between gay and lesbian and luxury, as well as youth and luxury,"he explains. "I believe there is a huge market for it. Gays and lesbians are more apt to spend in a down economy because they have the extra cash to do it. Most don't have children at home, but they own their own homes, they like to travel, and they like to have what's considered to be cutting-edge."

In the few short months since launching the niche practices, Creaxion has been expanding its business with existing clients, as well as adding new names to its roster. Among them is Atlanta-based Dwellings Real Estate, which aims to reach gays and lesbians, as well as first-time home buyers, and the high-end office furnishings retailer, Corporate Environments. They've also walked through doors previously closed, such as pitching AOL Time Warner, which may use the agency, in targeting youth.

However, Creaxion is more than a niche agency. Among its largest advertising clients are Humana Insurance and Atlanta Gas and Light Company -- the public utility company which has looked to transition its image from a stodgy utility to a modern corporation. Creaxion's "Gas. It's A Natural"campaign "took a 'Got Milk?' approach across TV, print, outdoor, and online," says Pettit.

Creaxion which celebrates its fifth birthday this month. Started in May of 1998 by Pettit, it evolved from contacts he made during a five-year stint in public relations for the telephone giant MCI. After MCI was bought-out by a then-promising WorldCom, Pettit cashed out his stock options near the top and began a consultancy-turned agency right from his kitchen table. Today, Creaxion's 17 employees fill 6,500 square feet of office space along Peachtree Road in Buckhead, GA. Its combined advertising/public relations billings were $4.2 million in 2002, placing it among the top 75 agencies in Atlanta.

Having just completed its next five-year plan, Creaxion has continued growth as a key objective. Pettit wants it to become one of the top agencies in Atlanta. "I want people to say Creaxion was a survivor and a thriver in some of the toughest years we've seen since the Depression."

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