We use data, strategy, and design to creatively solve problems that transform brands and improve lives.
Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Chief Creative Officer
We were founded in 1995 by a publicity savant with a flare for the dramatic.
And that spirit — of making something great and attention-grabbing from a whole lot of nothing — is deeply woven into our DNA.
John Montgomery foraged Alabama for clients until 2007, when he partnered up with Ford Wiles, who brought creative credibility and experience to John’s penchant for PR. A few accounts and good talent investments later, Big has become an upstart Alabama agency with a firm chip on its shoulder. Then in 2013, we had the distinct honor of winning Small Agency of the Year, Gold, Southeast.
Getting us on that national scale was huge for biz dev. It landed us a slot in Valvoline’s national RFP, that we successfully snagged from a WPP agency. And that one move completely changed our future. But as we began to grow, it also caused us to take a deeper look at the company we were building and the culture we wanted to foster. The drive and spirit that got us here is what will keep us innovative. So we’ve fought like hell to keep it.
In an era of ballooning project work, we’ve been able to stave off that trend with just over 50% of our fees coming from retainers. That means we can better budget for staffing needs and keep the amazing collection of talent we’ve assembled.
2020: $8.5M+ projected
We’ve been AOR since 2015 and have an amazing relationship with this American icon. Our work has been both extremely effective and highly regarded, winning recognition from the likes of the Clios and the One Show.
Our state is kind of a darling in the economic develop community. Google, Mercedes, Boeing, Honda, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. All of them operate in Alabama. This campaign and content engine have been powerfully telling the world this story since 2013.
We’ve been their go-to agency for their special projects and initiatives for a decade now, working on everything from green tech startups and minority business initiatives to smart city innovations and rural fiber projects.
What drives us is more than just profits or paychecks — it’s heart.
Marketing is meant to solve business problems—the hard, unwieldy kind that must be broken down, isolated, and crystalized through insight. The problems we face now will never yield to the solutions we devised yesterday. We are creative communicators with a single-minded dedication to simplifying the complicated for our clients, and we match it with restless discontent toward how things have always been done.
What drives us is more than just profits or paychecks — it’s heart. We actively seek partnerships with clients who, like us, strive to make a positive impact on those around them. This means we like to find the good in the stuff we work on—to know how doing our job well positively affects our community, our neighbors, and our region.
We also look for things that give us a chance to flex our creative muscle, leveraging the accounts we have to garner greater influence nationally. And that’s exactly how we got to do a commercial in the Super Bowl this year for the Daytona 500. And as a proud, local independent, it was awesome to have the first spot ever in the game created by an Alabama agency.
"What makes your work special is that the strategy is so deeply embedded within the creative. That’s your special sauce."
Our Media Director is fond of saying, "We’re good at creating content and amplifying it." So simple. So smart. Because truly everything is content. And if you stop viewing everything through the lens of ad units and start seeing it as content opportunities, it amazingly opens your eyes to greater efficiency for your clients.
We also have the distinct advantage of being in Birmingham, Alabama — an amazingly affordable city with a growing creative community. This allows our overhead to be significantly lower than most agencies in most cities across the U.S., giving us a distinct advantage when pricing and competing for business.
But most importantly, one of our favorite clients ever said this about us: "What makes your work special is that the strategy is so deeply embedded within the creative. That’s your special sauce." We’ve worked diligently over the last 10 years to embed strategic thinking into every person that works here. To us, strategy is both a discipline and a service line. But the more we see it as a core function of everyone’s daily tasks, the more it impacts the work.
Our yeoman mentality is also a core principle of our talent philosophy. Not only do we know that pedigree is not the primary indicator of success, but we believe that talent is universally distributed around the world, regardless of income, ethnicity, gender, or access to education. We also believe this truth is self-evident but is largely rejected by the larger advertising community. That’s why our goal remains to change the perception of our city and state, both by the local, Birmingham-enamored clients we choose to lift up and the fact that we produce wildly strategic work that just so happens to be from Alabama for brands across the U.S. (and a few internationally, too).
Being in a second-tier (if we’re being kind) market makes it extremely challenging to recruit talent. So when we find them, we have to work like crazy to retain them. We choose to pursue their growth by connecting them deeper to one another. Sure, we do the blocking and tackling of good HR practices, like routine staff meetings, growth plans, etc., but we made some bold commitments to the team in recent years to make our feelings toward our team known. From our cross-departmental mentorship program (piloted last year) to our pledge to invest in every. single. employee’s professional development, we practice what we preach so that our team has no doubt about how we value their contribution to our efforts.