I am a strong ally of the LGBTQ community, but I have to admit I wasn’t always so vocal about my stance. Once upon a time, I didn’t really think much about anyone else (which, to be fair, is an exceedingly common human quality). It wasn’t until my college roommate came out as gay that I began to understand the struggle that the LGBTQ community deals with. I watched him struggle on how best to tell his family, how to find his first boyfriend, and so many more questions that I had never thought about. For me, it was always, “This is who I am and I will live as I want.” When my roommate came out, I realized how little I understood about the world around me.
That story has a point, and an important one: I didn’t think about anything other than heterosexual (and, if we’re being completely honest, white) culture and values. A lot of this is because, growing up, there were few mainstream gay representatives. Unless you were already a part of the LGBTQ community, all you really knew as a straight person (and to be fair and specific, I was living in Texas at the time) was what was taught in school—if your school even taught about the history of LGBTQ rights.
Lately, mediums across the board have begun including more diverse stories, especially from the LGBTQ creatives. This is incredibly important. While gay rights may be improving in America, the normalization of LGBTQ individuals and their culture is still underway. Just last weekend, I was at a wedding in Milwaukee where a gay couple danced during the reception and straight men gathered to glare at them. This is just an anecdote, but it is one that is repeated throughout the country in communities where LGBTQ acceptance is anemic.
One of our favorite examples of better LGBTQ representation comes in the form of Steven Universe. While this show is definitely coded and not as explicit in its depictions of LGBTQ individuals, its creator, Rebecca Sugar, is not afraid to be vocal about her stance on LGBTQ themes. At Comic-Con in 2016, Rebecca came out publicly as bisexual when asked why Steven Universe had so many episodes that dealt with women’s empowerment and LGBTQ themes. Anyone who has watched the show can testify that it feels far more progressive than your run-of-the-mill children’s show.
Another LGBTQ creative telling her story? Gabby Rivera. The writer for “America,” Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero, Gabby shares a lot in common with the main character. Both grew up in the Bronx, both identify as Latina, and both are queer. Gabby created the titular America Chavez’s backstory of being raised by two mothers that gave their lives to save their home world. It’s clear that America stands for a lot more than just another superhero in the Marvel Comic universe.
I think that there are a lot of people in the world that have simply never really been immersed in gay culture. Sometimes due to bigotry, but sometimes simply due to an absence of mainstream LGBTQ characters and stories. We are given plenty of straight, white role models to follow, but until more stories are told, these minority cultures will never feel truly normal to the general public. Like I talked about in last week’s post, normalizing LGBTQ culture across mediums, including advertising, is an important way to move the country forward socially.
At 2930 Creative, we celebrate love and diversity all month long for Pride Month. We have strived to build a company that welcomes everyone and discriminates against no one, but it is easy to forget that just a few years ago, LGBTQ rights were severely limited in America and representation was abysmal. While there are still plenty of issues worth fighting for related to LGBTQ rights, things have gotten better in America and LGBTQ representation is on the rise.
Cameras have come a long way in the last few decades, and many of us take the insane HD capabilities of our smart phones and DSLR cameras for granted. The trade-off in this progression towards more and more beautiful pictures is that file sizes have gotten bigger. While this increased file size allows photographers to capture greater details, it can make websites slow down as they struggle to load image after image.
2930 Creative’s always looking for ways to innovate and grow, and since we just hit the 5-year mark as a company, now is a perfect time to introduce something new! We have put together our first eBook, titled Long Live Content. The book focuses on the myth that content is king and determines how accurate that statement is.
When I was a kid, I fell in love with Star Wars. Back then, those movies could do no wrong. Amazing action, intense dogfights, the most terrifying super weapon imaginable, memorable characters, family drama—Star Wars had it all. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized the one thing Star Wars lacked:
The history of 2930 Creative is both the same and completely different from other agencies. It’s the same in the fact that both Chris and Carly, when starting the company, believed they could do something better and that they had something unique to offer. It’s different because of the way they did it. From the get go, 2930 Creative was a place run by creatives to deliver innovative solutions in a digital world. To paraphrase Obi Wan, 2930 Creative was a creative solution for a more civilized age.
One of the things I most admired from 2930 Creative even before I had the privilege to join was how little they were interested in doing what was expected. For the longest time, we didn’t even have an office. Is that a badge of pride or an admission of where we were as a fledgling company? Why can’t it be both? We were proud that we were scrappy, clawing our way up out of a single bedroom apartment into a multi-room suite in downtown Dallas. As Chris would call it later, we were punk rock.
And we still are punk rock; however, maybe we’ve learned some lessons from the licks we’ve received over the years. We’re not the Sex Pistols anymore, kicking amps over and heckling the hecklers. Over the years, we’ve discovered the institutions that other agencies have can benefit us—as long as we do them our own way. For example, for the longest time, we didn’t want a dedicated account manager because we thought that would hamper the creativity. Creatives first! Anarchy in the UK! Then we discovered that we do need a buffer, as long as it’s the right buffer. We brought Holly on because she understood creatives. It was still punk rock, but closer to something like The Offspring circa 2010s. (Hopefully everyone knows their punk rock history)
The one thing that will never change is our dedication to creativity and our commitment to constantly innovating. That leads me to the whole thesis of the blog post (and hell yes my thesis is in the fourth paragraph! Rhetoric punk rock!). We are embracing the fact that we are the anti-agency. Whereas so many agencies in Dallas and beyond are chasing trends, we want to be the ones with the finger on the pulse. When a new social network rolls out, you better believe we’ll be one of the first adopters. We want to be fearless in our experimentation so when we approach clients we can create solutions for them with confidence.
The simple act of an agency putting out its own content makes us the anti-agency. Look around the creative agency space. Who is producing their own content? Our detractors might claim that we can make regular content for our own brand because we don’t have enough business. Jokes on them, though: we are able to do this because we hustle around the clock. 8 hour work days? We work until the job is done. There are an untold number of conversations in our Slack channel between me and Chris dated after 1 am. We do what we need to. We schlep our own gear.
We have a number of surprises going forward as an agency. Internally, we are restructuring and evaluating what works and what we can do better. We did this last year and realized we needed to put a greater focus on videos and it worked wonders for us. We’re doing the same thing this year, and we’ll do this again and again into the future. Like punk rock itself, we might lose some of our rough edges, but we’re never going to lose the basic DNA that makes us who we are. We might play with sound levels but you better believe we’re going to be rocking power chords.
Yes, life might be easier for us if we conform. We could fall in line with everyone else. But that’s not the history of punk rock. That’s not the crazy creatives that started a business in their apartment, a business that has grown year after year by double digits. That’s not who we are. We’re the anti-agency. We’re 2930 Creative—and we’re not going anywhere.
Josh Duke is the director of content for 2930 Creative and believes that smash is the way you deal with your life.
Hello, Chris. I’m writing to you from the future. 2017 to be exact. The weather is nice here. Also Siri still doesn’t work that well.
Each Wednesday we’ll be posting a new playlist for you to enjoy.
We have been celebrating our 5-year anniversary as a company all month long, and it wouldn’t be a celebration without hearing from our founders. Carly Reeves started 2930 Creative in a small apartment because she knew she had a different vision of what a Dallas agency should look like. I sat down with Carly recently and picked her brain on a variety of topics, from whom she considers her role models to what it was like starting a successful small business.