Unearth, unfurl and unleash distinct identities.

A 2016 Ad Age Agency of the Year, DC works with ambitious companies wanting more and better for their brand and business. We help organizations unearth, unfurl and unleash truly distinct identities. Your brand will stand apart from the competition, recognize quantifiable enterprise value and grasp that holiest of grails: a unique spot in your targets’ gray matter.

 
Undisclosed
 
Undisclosed
 
50 - 249
 Founded
1990
Show all +
San Francisco, CA
Headquarters
  • Duncan Channon
    114 Sansom Street
    San Francisco, CA 94104
    United States
    415.306.9200

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Grubhub, So Delicious, Kona Brewing Co., California Tobacco Control Program, John Muir Health, DriveTime, Tahoe South

Reviews

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Traditional and Digital Advertising for Craft Brewing Company

"We haven’t conquered the mainland yet, but we’re headed in the right direction."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
1,000,000 - 9,999,999
 
Oct. 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Duncan Channon helped translate a local brand from Hawaii for the US mainland market by creating a brand idea and articulating it into TV, radio, out-of-home, and digital advertising.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
New York City, New York
Ken Kunze
Chief Marketing Officer, Craft Brew Alliance
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Testing showed that the TV ad was among the top commercials for the year, and reactions from wholesalers, retailers, and consumers were all positive. Duncan Channon has communicated well and collaborated throughout the engagement. Their creativity is stellar, closely followed by strategic planning.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

The company is Craft Brew Alliance. We are a holding company for several craft brewers around the U.S. and I’m the CMO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Duncan Channon?

We approached Duncan Channon primarily for the Kona Brewing Co brand. It’s a brand that has all the equities of Hawaii, where we have a very strong presence. The brand hadn’t been brought to life from a marketing or communication articulation standpoint. We engaged Duncan Channon to help us figure out how to articulate the brand for the mainland U.S. audience.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The scope was full service including strategy, creative, and media. Duncan Channon refined the brand idea and developed all the messaging around the idea. The packaging for this particular beer has a very iconic graphic to it, and they transferred that to other mediums.

They took a preexisting brand and marketed that for the mainland. A big part of it was TV, radio, out-of-home, and digital. We didn’t have Duncan Channon do much social, but a fair amount of digital. The core brand idea that translates into 360-degree marketing is the essence of that. Beer is highly marketed, advertised, and highly image-oriented. The power and the execution of Duncan Channon's ideas are world-class in terms of what’s going on across the beer industry.

How did you come to work with Duncan Channon?

We made a request for proposal that went out to several agencies, then narrowed the field down to four. Duncan Channon was selected due to their strategic thinking and their creative capabilities. They’re very strong from a strategy standpoint. They have the ability to get to the heart of the issue and articulate it succinctly. They really punch above their weight regarding the creative ideas they bring forward. The way they listened and responded to feedback in the pitch process was a very big part of what got them the final business.

How much have you invested with Duncan Channon?

We’ve spent in the range of $5 to $7 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working with Duncan Channon in October of 2013, and the engagement is ongoing. We used the full agency services on the initial brand. About 18 months ago, we also asked them to do some work on another brand.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

The TV spot was one of the top commercials for that year, according to the testing company we engaged. The upfront testing was very strong. We also did a paired market test about the impact it was having using Nielsen sales data. From that, we learned that it drove trend by +35% in a quantitative Nielsen study.

We’re in a three-tier system, and keeping share of mind of wholesalers, retailers, and the consumers is very important. Reactions to the campaign have been very positive across this spectrum. The original testing outscored another leading, iconic campaign in the industry, which shows how strong the idea and execution are behind the work. Our brand has continued to grow in the high teens, in an overall beer category that’s flat. It outpaces total beer, import beer, and craft beer.

I think the execution fulfills our goals in a strong way. We haven’t conquered the mainland yet, but we’re headed in the right direction. The idea definitely communicates and resonates with people in terms of relevancy.

How did Duncan Channon perform from a project management standpoint?

Duncan Channon's team has been on time and budget throughout the entire engagement. They provide good communication, and we work through issues together.

Our work is based on the objective and strategy, and we have good back-and-forth discussions. They’re a strong creative agency, so they have a lot of ideas and a strong point of view. I think our job is to help them understand the brand and tweak the ideas to fit the brand better. We have a good collaboration from that perspective. Our interaction is a healthy balance.

What did you find most impressive about Duncan Channon?

I would say creativity is their most impressive aspect, then strategic planning.

Are there any areas Duncan Channon could improve?

Duncan Channon does a good job on media, but I think sometimes they don’t have the scale in terms of buying power in the marketplace. That’s an area where they’re not as strong as a bigger media agency would be.

5.0
Overall Score Perfect score for all of the above reasons. They deliver a quality product, creativity, and strategic thinking. They help us have an impact on the consumers in our marketplace.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Duncan Channon is consistently on time and budget.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    That’s part of the benefit of working with a smaller shop. You get senior creative people without paying the cost of a bigger shop. We’ve gotten a lot for our money regarding high-quality executions.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Duncan Channon delivers really smart work, and it’s on the objective and strategy. It’s presented in a way that has a nice creative flair to it. Even the simple set-up presentations have a very nice look and feel. The work itself is strong as well.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’m very happy with Duncan Channon and would be proud to recommend them to almost any client.

Full-Service Advertising for Public Health Department

"Their level of strategic thinking and their creativity makes them stand out."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
10,000,000+
 
July 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Duncan Shannon has provided a full-range of advertising services for a state-wide anti-tobacco campaign. Their work, spanning strategy and creative, has included TV, digital videos, radio, out of home, social media, and media buying. 

The Reviewer
 
1001–5000 Employees
 
Sacramento, California
Media Campaign Director, California Department of Public Health
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Over 60% of the target population is able to recall the Wake Up campaign in tracking studies. After the campaign’s launch, over 100,000 people visited the campaign website in the first month. Duncan Channon’s creative work has received awards, and the team has performed extremely well in the social, political, and media landscape.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the Media Campaign Director for the California Tobacco Control Program, which is housed within the California Department of Public Health. Our job in the media campaign for the Tobacco Control Program is to draw attention to issues, make thought-provoking advertising, and get people to question cigarettes, tobacco use, and e-cigarettes in a way that helps to change social norms. Our advertising has been doing that since 1990 when we launched the first anti-smoking campaign. Through the years, we’ve worked with a number of different advertising agencies, but all with the same goal in mind.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Duncan Channon?

The challenge we were faced with at the time was that e-cigarettes came on the scene. E-cigarettes were just getting popular, and they were fitting through loopholes in the regulatory process. There are tight restrictions on how tobacco products can be marketed, but there were no regulations for e-cigarettes. They were running rampant, and our public health officer was very concerned that they were re-normalizing smoking behavior. Teens were very attracted to e-cigarettes, and the challenge was huge. We needed Duncan Channon to help us figure out how to get the public to pay attention to this product, and how to help shake things up.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Duncan Channon provided a full range of services, including strategic planning and thinking, qualitative research, including focus groups and online testing, creative production, concepts, and tracking the results. They came to us with ideas around media planning. They were strategic and smart in the different layers of exciting media planning. Both sides of their shop were incredibly creative. It was very well thought out and strategic, which impressed us.

They’ve done both digital and traditional media. We did traditional TV and unique digital videos. They got us involved in doing terrestrial radio spots as well as digital radio, which we hadn’t done for quite some time. We did malls, billboards, and tackled all different finite layers trying to reach our very distinctive target populations. They also take care of Facebook posts, dark posts, native articles, AdWords, and search engine optimization. For the broadcast advertising, they work with a vendor for TV placement. They also often work with media buying vendors.

How did you come to work with Duncan Channon?

In our state government system, we’re required to go out with bids every few years. We’re on a five-year contract term, and our contract with the last agency was ending. We went out with a request for proposal and got numerous responses. Duncan Channon was new to state government and this procurement process, so we were interested in them. We did site visits with a smaller subset of agencies that had submitted preliminary information. We were very excited by Duncan Channon’s creativity and passion. The way they look at the world is very much in line with our culture here at Tobacco Control. We were very intrigued by them. They ended up in the finalist round, and we selected them.

How much have you invested with Duncan Channon?

For the last year or two, it’s been around $14 to $15 million per year for the media campaign as a whole.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in July of 2014, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We do a tracking study as part of our assessment into how well the advertising is reaching our target population. Through this study, we found that over 60% of the target population were recalling our advertising. We also found that there were some important shifts in key metrics. We also watch click-through rates, video completion rates, and how many people visit the site.

When we first started the anti-e-cigarette campaign in California, we had well over 100,000 people come to the site that was created by the Duncan Channon team in the first month of the campaign. That was huge for us.

The quality of the creative work has been received very well. They’ve gotten a number of awards, and our department has really appreciated the way they pursued the different jobs they had to do. It’s been pretty exciting overall, in terms of how our department has embraced the edgier style that Duncan Channon has brought to our advertising campaign.

How did Duncan Channon perform from a project management standpoint?

They’ve performed well overall. During the height of a campaign, we have contact on a daily basis. We have standard weekly check-ins, both for digital and the overall campaign. We don’t use project management tools. They perform well on deadlines, and they’re good at reminding us when specific deadlines are coming up. They’ve gotten to know our parameters and our barriers, as well as where things work out well for us. They’ve done a good job of keeping us on task. We appreciate the collaborative approach.

What did you find most impressive about Duncan Channon?

Their level of strategic thinking and their creativity makes them stand out. They have a very good sensibility about how to maneuver through all the social and political dynamics that go with our campaign. I appreciate the way they’ve been very strategic in moving the campaign through the social, political, and media landscape.

They’ve brought some unique, creative ways of breaking through on a rather tight budget. They pushed us to use some break-through songs, and they found unique ways to grab people’s attention. They made things thought provoking. On the planning side, they’ve brought a unique and creative sensibility to the planning, the layers, and how it all works together to move the needle with our target population.

Are there any areas Duncan Channon could improve?

There’s nothing I could say. They’ve been a dynamo team.

5.0
Overall Score It has been really terrific.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    A few schedules caught up on us a little bit, especially with the digital work. There have been a few issues, but they’ve been very good in general.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’ve been very cost effective.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They’ve really come through.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve referred them already.

TV Creative for Automotive Company

"Duncan Channon is the agency I’ve worked closest with and has had the biggest impact on our organization."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
1,000,000 - 9,999,999
 
June 2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Duncan Channon provides creative work for three TV ads per year in order to increase brand awareness and website traffic. The team has developed continuous characters that have been implemented in dealerships.

The Reviewer
 
5,001-10,000
 
Phoenix, Arizona
Scott Worthington
Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy, DriveTime
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Over 5 years, the ads contributed to 20% annual growth in organic leads and sales have tripled since the start of the engagement. Duncan Channon works closely with an internal team, ensuring the work achieves goals and building trust. The team is able to speak about business and creative concepts.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the VP of marketing and brand strategy at DriveTime Automotive Group. We are a national used car dealership and finance company. We have 140 dealerships privately held under the DriveTime brand. We acquire people who are interested in purchasing a car, usually those who have less than perfect credit and offer them a vehicle and a financing solution.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Duncan Channon?

Our goal was to increase our organic customer conversions. So, even more than just brand awareness, we wanted to convert potential car buyers into leads or finance applications on our site. In general, the goal was to drive more customers to our site and ultimately to the dealerships.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The relationship has primarily been about TV creative. We have a pretty robust by on national cable and local broadcast. It’s our largest marketing channel in how we reach our customers by far. The scope of the project was to drive leads, understand our customers, how they think, what motivates them, and how we emotionally connect with them and then translate that into three new TV commercials a year. So, the traditional media side of our business has been their primary focus.

We were starting from scratch. We had a campaign that lasted about five years, and then we were two or three years into switching up the campaign but not having a lot of success. We were looking for Duncan Channon to come in and find our voice as we continue to evolve our product offering. We had some changes in the business, and we were able to unbundle our warranty from our vehicle price, so it gave us lower vehicle pricing, which is something we didn’t have before. We were trying to figure out how to position ourselves in the market with that change and to find our voice.

Duncan Channon is primarily the creative agency and everything that goes in with that, from the strategizing to producing the ad. We work with a separate agency on media placement. This was specifically about finding our brand voice. We’ve continually worked with Duncan Channon on this project for the last five years.

The voice continues beyond just the TV creative. We’ve augmented and continued that voice in-store. We weren’t able to use the characters in our commercials in print, but we did implement some images in a variety of ways. It has become something that our customers connect with when they come to our stores.

We do three TV ads per year with Duncan Channon. The creative process starts in March, and the TV ads usually go live in early October.

How did you come to work with Duncan Channon?

We were in a hectic place and trying different agencies. We decided to take a step back and look at how we could go about selecting an agency. For us, it was about connecting with the people that work there. We went to Pile and Company out of Boston [management consulting firm], and they aggregated about 50 agencies. We cut that down to 15, and then we met with the top three, including Duncan Channon. They were the agency that we connected with, so they won the business.

How much have you invested with Duncan Channon?

We’ve invested over $1 million to date with Duncan Channon.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in May or June of 2012, and the relationship is ongoing. We’re currently on our fifth campaign with Duncan Channon.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We measure our business with organic lead growth, which is a customer coming through our site and understanding the brand, and we do that on a same-store basis. We also look at our same-store leads during a specific period. Over the time we’ve worked with Duncan Channon, we’ve had a 20% annual growth rate every year in organic leads. We’ve more than tripled our sales since we’ve worked with them, going from about 50,000 sales to over 150,000 this year. We’ve had five very successful years, and a lot of that is attributed to the marketing efforts. 

Our work this year is connecting with the customer at a greater rate than any of the past work. We’re seeing upwards of 30–40% lead growth this year since we launched the new campaign.

How did Duncan Channon perform from a project management standpoint?

When we started working with Duncan Channon, we were upfront about our preference to be involved. We’re not going to throw a bunch of ideas over the wall to them, let them go off into their factory, and then come back with the ideas three months later, and not be on the same page. So, very early on, we started a process with them that we call ‘the sausage factory.' We get in and see how the creative is being made, ensuring it moves in a direction we both feel good about. From a project management standpoint, I think that’s unique compared to other agencies.

The openness is hard sometimes, specifically in creative. We’ve built an incredible amount of trust through that process. We can get in there and fight the battles together and come out with work of which we’re both extremely proud. It’s been a partnership throughout the years, and it continues to get better. We have full access to all the creatives that the team works on, and that’s been our recipe for success.

Duncan Channon's team meets all our expectations. We’ve had some unique and challenging things, dealing with music rights and big artists, very strict deadlines, and big egos. We’ve managed that together. We push when we need to, and everyone gets to the finish line. When we have time, we let it breathe. I can’t think of an event that hasn’t ultimately gone as planned. We’ve met every deadline we set for the team.

What did you find most impressive about Duncan Channon?

I would say it’s their ability for the creatives to speak to business people and business concepts and appreciate those, ingest them, and let that impact their work. That’s made a big difference. Their CMO works on our account, and I’m able to talk complex business issues with him as well as creative, then have that merge. They’re upfront and honest about what they do and don’t understand about the business. They take that information, go to our dealerships, and learn how it works. That has been special for me; being able to have meaningful conversations from a business perspective and then see that valued and wove into the solution that comes during the creative process.

Are there any areas Duncan Channon could improve?

I wish I had something to balance out the review, but Duncan Channon is the agency I’ve worked closest with and has had the biggest impact on our organization. We’re really excited every time we get to work with them.

5.0
Overall Score Duncan Channon is a business partner and strategic thought partner. They’re everything I could ask for in an agency. I’ve worked with a lot of agencies, but I’ve never felt the same way before.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We’ve never had an issue with deadline scheduling or expectation setting.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Duncan Channon is willing to work with us in ways that are less traditional. They don’t think in a rigid way about how they can help your organization or about the cost structure.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Duncan Channon met or exceeded every item over the course of our relationship.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    If I leave this company, I will continue working with Duncan Channon at the next organization.