Don Draper is Dead and so is his Ad Model

Does your company want new results? Be a part of the process.

Funworks is a creative agency built around extreme collaboration and design thinking. We invite the client into the writer's room, which gets to great ideas faster. We spend less time and money on meetings and presentation decks, and more on producing and distributing those great ideas.

 

How Funworks

We kick off every assignment by talking to our client’s entire team to understand their business, what they’ve done in the past and what keeps them up at night. We talk with their consumers to understand what motivates them. This helps us land on strategic territories to explore in our Funworkshops.

Our Funworkshops employ brainstorming exercises informed by the latest science around creativity. These include clients, brand experts, and comedian consumers who act as a neutral third party. Our exercises get to truths and strategies in a relaxed, positive environment, helping us get alignment from all decision makers on the best ideas. We cut out weeks of theoretical conversations by making sure clients, strategists and creatives are on the same page from the very beginning.

Immediately after the Funworkshop, we consult with our clients on which ideas and strategies feel interesting. We then develop strategies and creative territories for marketing and advertising our clients' current and new products.

From there, we make the work great. Collectively, we’ve created award winning work for over 40 years. We have relationships with many top production companies and the flexibility to create great work for a variety of budgets.

Working together, we discover truths and insights in record time, get your whole team aligned and make great work that reflects a cohesive vision. This is how Funworks.

 
$50,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2014
Show all +
Oakland, CA
headquarters
  • Funworks
    327 19th Street
    Oakland, CA 94612
    United States
other locations
  • Funworks San Francisco, CA 94016
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

ESPN, Google, Credit Karma, Pandora, Intel, SodaStream, MAC Cosmetics, Ubisoft, Uber, HP, Constellation Brands, Charles Schwab, Glu, thredUP

Reviews

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Brand Ideation for Outdoors Retail Company

“I valued how they were able to get people excited about problem-solving in ways that we couldn’t internally.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. - Mar. 2018
Project summary: 

Funworks facilitated an immersive, cross-divisional workshop to generate branding ideas, which involved creating activities, recording and analyzing notes, and providing a set of strategic recommendations.

The Reviewer
 
10,001 + Employees
 
New York, New York
Director of Brand Strategy, Outdoors Retail Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Funworks’ workshop fostered a united and enthusiastic ideation process, allowing internal stakeholders to easily disseminate and key takeaways within the company. Despite some ambiguities during the analysis phase, the team provided useful suggestions for future application.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of brand strategy for an outdoors retail company, selling outdoor gear, classes, and experiences targeting adventure/adventure travel. My job is to position our brands within our company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Funworks?

We wanted to reinvent one of our campaigns to get people more engaged with outdoor recreational activities. Although we’ve run this platform for years, we wanted to reinvent it to give the campaign more nuance and meaning in a way that would re-engage our audience. From an acquisition-platform stance, we also wanted to start a conversation with people who weren’t as familiar with life outdoors and bring them into our ecosystem.

While I might have a certain point of view due to my brand strategy background, I needed to make sure that we represented everyone’s perspective. As a result, we needed a third-party facilitation group to support our brand ideation, rethinking what our campaign meant internally and externally.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They offered us two services: Spark, which was a one-day facilitated workshop, and Spark Plus, which were their notes and generated ideas from the workshop. Working directly with our team, they conducted numerous meetings to prepare for the day and establish the day’s structure, activity types, questions, and overall objectives.

The cross-disciplinary workshop included 20 senior leadership members across various divisions, from merchandising to supply chain and business strategy. During the session, they helped us rapidly ideate against our original problem statement while also aligning our internal stakeholders. Their team recorded comprehensive notes and facilitated discussions and activities.

In the following few weeks, they synthesized their notes and generated a report about what we had discussed to share across our organization. They then analyzed our ideas to develop a creative package that redefined our platform both in terms of internal engagement as well as external memberships and acquisition audiences. Their strategic suggestions included taglines, the look and feel, and real-world activations.

What is the team composition?

We worked with a five-person core team, including the two founders, copywriters, and a strategist. They also brought a graphic recorder who illustrated and documented the different discussions we had throughout the day as well as an assistant who helped facilitate the workshop, giving directions and taking notes.

How did you come to work with Funworks?

I had previously worked with their founder and greatly respected his strategic and creative abilities. We brought him in for a quick overview, and he presented his ideas. Everyone quickly decided that Funworks seemed like our best bet. In particular, we liked the idea that we could quickly align people with nuanced objectives within a larger macro agenda, rather than one department developing an idea to sell across the organization. They were also most cost-efficient compared to other freelance teams.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent $40,000 for the full-day workshop, including all the preparations, and then an additional $12,000 for the Spark Plus bundle. In total, we spent $52,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Their work lasted from January–March 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our new platform hasn’t launched yet, so we currently don’t have any hard statistics for the work. However, from a qualitative standpoint, our senior leaders enjoyed the workshop, commending Funworks’ facilitation and outputs. Everything that we ideated, we did collectively through an independent third party, so it didn’t feel biased. As a result, we were able to move quickly once we generated concepts that we liked; leaders could go back to their different teams and easily describe the thought process and why we liked the ideas.

While their tactics helped accelerate our ideation process during the workshop, I didn’t feel like they were able to push us in the same way with their Sparks Plus component. Part of the reason was that we collaborated with them to shape the workshop brief, but we weren’t quite as aligned during the analysis phase. As such, I didn’t feel like their recommendations were all-encompassing. Although we appreciated their ideas and do plan to use some of their creative suggestions, we ultimately brought the work back in-house.

How did Funworks perform from a project management standpoint?

While I wasn’t sure if they had a formal project manager, they handled our account well. They checked in regularly, maintaining transparency so that we knew the project status and expectations. We were always a day or two ahead of schedule, so I never felt like we needed to catch up to meet deadlines.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They excel at blending strategy and creativity, which allows them to take dry, potentially contentious material and infuse it with energy. I valued how they were able to get people excited about problem-solving in ways that we couldn’t internally. Enjoying the workshop process rather than enduring it fostered a productive ideation environment for our team.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Toward the end of the engagement, we could have had more check-ins before they presented their final creative deck to our CMO. They wanted to show us their presentation once they fully polished it, but we would have preferred more transparency here. While I didn’t push for this, it might have helped shape their work a little bit more.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

The pre-work in the two weeks before the workshop is essential. Have a resource dedicated to reviewing and honing the session’s problem statement. The more time spent clarifying the issue, the better the quality of ideas generated in the work session. Furthermore, be open to their process because Funworks is there to bring a different perspective.

4.5
Overall Score I deeply appreciated what they brought to the table, including their thinking and process. They were excellent.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They met all deadlines and were clear about what they needed to do and what we needed to do for those deadlines.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    While $40,000 for a one-day workshop was a tough price, I think it was well worth it. Their services were crucial to bringing people together.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They delivered exactly what they said they would, producing high-quality output on time and efficiently.
  • 4.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I'd recommend them for sure.

Digital Campaign Creative Workshop for Tax Campaign

“We didn’t think strategic planning for a financial product could be so fun.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Oct. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Funworks bolstered the creation and marketing of a tax platform. They led an engaging workshop, strategized, created content for social media channels, and will ultimately apply their skills to other verticals.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Kaitlyn Tierney
Social Strategist, Credit Karma
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Engagement metrics for the campaign are well above brand averages and both internal and external reactions are strongly positive. Funworks was efficient and met tight deadlines. They exhibited flexibility and grace in the face of expansive requests and brought levity to the process.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work at Credit Karma as a social strategist. I run creative for social projects and work closely with outside agencies and our internal team.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Funworks?

We launched our tax product in 2017. In 2018, we wanted to brand it and develop a creative platform for that vertical. We wanted an outside team to help with the initiative.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They took a unique approach in our time together and started with a fun, half-day workshop. They brought our stakeholders, their team, and a group of improv comedians into a space together and built an open structure to allow us to talk about tax, its influences, and how we could make a difference. They got us to start telling a story and the creative outcome was our platform, Max Your Tax Karma.

We explored a few directions, came up with campaign strategy, and did some testing. We loved how their work aligned with our brand and our goals. They were really fast and efficient and came up with content for our social channels. We originally tasked them with creating posts for Facebook and Instagram, but they expanded into Twitter and Snapchat as well. We’re now considering pushing their concepts into our other channels.

What is the team composition?

We had two dedicated account managers and two creative strategists. In addition to the dedicated team, we also had producers and about three writers join us at different stages of the process.

How did you come to work with Funworks?

Our new vice president of brand joined us in October. She and Paul (Founder & CEO, Funworks) had worked together before and recommended them. We thought they’d be great for spurring ideas.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working on this most recent project in October 2017. We hope to do more work with them this year.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Internal and external reactions are incredible. This is the most successful social media campaign we’ve ever had. Our engagement metrics are way above our brand average and user feedback, shares, and comments were strong from the beginning. People are tagging their friends and mentioning how important the tool and the associated media are. They’re involved in ways we’ve never seen, which speaks volumes to the quality of the work.

Internally, we’ve shared it with the entire company. Our colleagues are proud of the direction we’re going and excited to see if the work will translate to other initiatives.

How did Funworks perform from a project management standpoint?

They did a wonderful job. Since this is new for us, we’re learning a lot as we go. Getting investors was challenging at the beginning. After our initial test, we saw how well it was performing and how we wanted to extend it to other channels. They’re efficient and hit tight deadlines. We had quick turnarounds to deliver before peak tax filing. They were always gracious in the face of huge requests. They’re very flexible, agile, and are incredible partners overall. I’m thoroughly impressed.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their workshop really set them apart from anyone else we’ve worked with. A day of exploration, team building, and fun was really different. We didn’t think strategic planning for a financial product could be so fun.

Their ability to get the right people involved was great. They made sure we had our designers and managers in the room. They included staff from inside the product to explain capabilities and researchers to discuss the scope.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I don’t have any critical feedback for them. They’re amazing and we’re really excited to do more work with them.

5.0
Overall Score I have to give them high marks. They are fantastic and we’ve become friends.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were on point with everything, especially with our tight deadline.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They are definitely worth what we spent.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They pushed our brand in a direction that we’re all really proud of.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would absolutely recommend them.

Creative Campaign Development for Sports Media Company

“Bringing in comedians to the workshops was a unique approach that proved to be hugely beneficial.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Oct. 2016 - Mar. 2018
Project summary: 

Funworks collaborated with internal teams and stakeholders by setting up workshops for three ad campaigns, including input from professional comedians. They also led creative development and production.

The Reviewer
 
10,001 + Employees
 
New York, New York
Vice President Marketing Solutions, Sports Media Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Funworks successfully aligned the creative direction of internal teams and stakeholders by taking a unique and fun approach to collaboration. In addition to delivering great results, their highly experienced and diverse team was great to work with and they continue to evolve to meet client needs.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the vice president of the internal creative and strategy agency at a large sports media and technology company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Funworks?

We needed to find a creative ad agency that could not only help produce marketing campaigns, but also align internal teams and stakeholders on creative direction.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We worked with them on three different occasions. The first project involved merging two creative teams within our company through a workshop that included their entire team and a group of comedians for the course of about five sessions.

For the second project, they helped us with a specific Christmas campaign for our network. They setup another workshop to align all stakeholders involved and led the creative development and production.

They also setup a third Sparks workshop for a new show we were launching, pulling our various marketing and creative teams together, along with the show producers. 

What is the team composition?

Our main point of contact was Paul (Founder and CEO, Funworks), but we've also worked with their whole team for each workshop, so I've probably worked with about 10 people.

How did you come to work with Funworks?

We reached out to them after one of my colleagues read about their work in the New York Times. We were very intrigued by the work they were doing and the enthusiasm they had around their mission.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in October 2016 and our most recent project wrapped up in March 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We came out with a clear creative direction following each of Funworks' workshops. Our campaigns were successful, which has helped elevate our events and shows.

How did Funworks perform from a project management standpoint?

They were very organized as they pulled many of our stakeholders together and were clear on scope and timelines. They provided great follow up and documentation of each workshop, which continues to provide value for our business.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They were committed to solving creative alignment challenges. They weren't set in their ways and understood that each challenge is different from the next, so they're constantly evolving their processes as a result.

They were also great to work with overall. Their team has an extensive, diverse background and knows the business inside and out. They're not only extremely strategic, but also a lot of fun. Bringing in comedians to the workshops was a unique approach that proved to be hugely beneficial.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. After each engagement, their team asks for feedback so they can continue to evolve and improve their services. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their workshops are reasonably priced and they're working on improving their productions costs.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They were very clear about what they were trying to accomplish throughout each project.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've already recommended them to others.