If you’ve ever stepped foot in a creative agency—or watched Mad Men—you’ve witnessed the collaboration taking place in every corner: creatives bouncing ideas off of one another, production working closely with account managers to pull off pitch decks and designs, and at the end of it all, clients waiting to approve the end result. While the way agencies collaborate and communicate today has changed dramatically since the days when ad men in grey flannel suits ruled Madison Avenue, the same basic principles apply in today’s modern era of YouTube celebrities and live streaming video.

Then: Don Draper’s Letter to Lucky Strike

In a pivotal moment in Mad Men our beloved protagonist, Donald Draper, publishes a scathing break-up letter with Big Tobacco via a New York Times newspaper ad. While anyone who watches the show knows this was an effective tactic, allowing Don to make a big and far-reaching statement relatively quickly, there is no doubt that today this would not have nearly the same impact. In today’s digital age there are many more options that reduce both the cost and time required to disseminate such a message while reaching a larger audience than ever before.

Now: EAT24’s Facebook Break-Up Letter

Probably one of the best examples of this is a real-life brand break-up letter sent by on-demand food delivery startup EAT24. In this letter, originally posted on the EAT24 blog, EAT24 provided a mordacious review of their relationship with Facebook and the platform’s decision to shift towards a sponsored-centric news feed while suppressing organic posts. The post, (ironically) spread via an organic Facebook post, went madly viral, accumulating more than 17,000 likes in the 24 hours after going live -- an organic engagement rate of more than 25%, and by all counts a massive marketing success. Riding the coattails of this, EAT24 has since become the leader in on-demand food delivery and has been acquired by local marketing platform leader Yelp.

While the effect of Don’s letter was widely felt and carried over into future seasons, the impact of EAT24’s break-up letter was much more instantaneous and sent shockwaves throughout the online marketing community. With zero lag time between creative ideation and publication, EAT24’s letter took Facebook (and the rest of the web) by storm. The viral breakup letter was the center of conversation for the next several weeks, lingering on as a trending topic in Twitter and other social outlets. Thanks to the modern MarCom channels utilized, the campaign didn’t even cost the brand a single advertising dollar… Brilliant!

AKQA, an award-winning digital agency of the modern era, has a similar story: Their need for collaboration and communication has remained the same, but the way in which they do it has radically changed. AKQA has 1,500 employees working across 11 global offices, for clients such as Nike, Gap, and Volkswagen. Their plight will strike a chord with most agencies. Multiple tools, such as email, Basecamp, and an extranet were what they used in the past to share information across offices and with external organizations. Collaboration was creaky, slow, and prone to error.

Flash forward to today: AKQA uses Huddle to brainstorm project ideas, collaborate on pitch material, and share content with clients in a central, secure, branded environment. It means they have full visibility of project timelines, how a campaign is progressing, and what documents, artwork, and images require their approval.

Robert Burns, AKQA’s Executive Director of Information Technology, summed up how he views the value of Huddle succinctly. “We treat our employees as a global talent pool,” he says. “In one campaign, the creative team could be based in Washington D.C., and the technology team in London. Huddle enables us to keep track of projects in real time, view client feedback, and clearly identify final proofs.”

Get the full story in this AKQA case study.


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