Black Rocket Founding Partner and Executive Creative Director, Steve Stone, announced the launch of a new company called “HEAT.” in the middle of superbowl-fever, february 7 2005. Joining Mr. Stone is former General Manager of Black Rocket, Bob Ellis, and six other Black Rocket alumni.
Laughing off the "hot company"-jokes, Stone says, "Heat is what we are. Heat is what we do. Heat is what we offer. There are clients out there who may have brands or products that have gone cold. They need new ideas, smart ideas. They need some heat. There are also clients out there launching new brands or products. You can only launch something once and it better be done right and with enough heat. We have a lot of experience launching new brands."
And do they ever. When Stone and partners started Black Rocket nine years ago, Yahoo! was a little known Internet company. “We helped take Yahoo! from a search engine start-up with fourteen employees to a multi-billion dollar brand, developing brand strategy and nearly all of Yahoo’s marketing communications, including the trademark yodel.” Says Ellis. In its past incarnation this team also successfully launched new brands and products for companies including Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Ben & Jerry’s, MTV, Pete’s Wicked Ale and Ace Hardware.
Stone is cautious about using the words “advertising agency” when describing the new company. “Yeah, at the end of the day that is what we are but we do so much more. Upon the launch of Heat we’ve named two products, designed a wine label and sold a book idea for one of our clients.” He continues, and dreams “I love the idea of taking this company beyond traditional advertising realms with ‘Design Heat’, ‘Product Heat’, ‘Book Heat’ and who knows what else.”
Heat is an incredibly flexible, nimble group of people with big ideas and big hearts. And unlike other small shops, they work on big brands. Heat was named “Agency of Record” for Condé Nast Publications, Publisher of The New Yorker, Vogue, and Vanity Fair magazines among others. Condé Nast joins with two new campaigns breaking in print, outdoor and online. In addition, Heat also has relationships with the Good for You division of PepsiCo and Disneyland/DisneyWorld, with projects set to launch in the next few months.
Stone often talks about the company like it’s a family. They eat lunch together everyday at their offices overlooking the San Francisco bay. “We all sit at the same table and actually talk during lunch. Talk about our current business and the industry. That just doesn’t happen anymore. We’ll typically make a big salad - everyone brings something different to the table, literally.” Stone sees that as a symbol for the way the new company will continue to work. “It’s incredibly collaborative. And that’s how we work with our clients. We like to think of ourselves as the creative marketing & strategic twin brother (or sister) of our clients.”
According to Gary Van Dis, Condé Nast Vice President and Corporate Creative Director, “ I look forward to every meeting we have with Heat. They always surprise and delight us with their intimate understanding of our brands and a passion for our business. The quality of their work mirrors the quality of our magazines. Together, we came up with an incredible creative solution that, I’m certain, will help grow all 26 of our brands. I’m very proud of the work.”
Heat is an independent full-service advertising agency located in sunny San Francisco with over $12-million in billings. The creative, account service and management teams are made up of people with agency experience from Black Rocket, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Hal Riney and Fallon; and client experience with Yahoo!, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, United Airlines, Holiday Inn, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Nikon and Ben & Jerry's. Collectively, all employees of Heat have been involved with advertising projects that have been recognized with major industry awards including Clios, Cannes Lions and Gold Pencils at the One Show. They are also extremely fun at cookouts.