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Issue: July 1, 2013

Open House: Phoenix Media Group

NEW YORK — Chris Phoenix has a fortuitous last name. It brings to mind the fiery flash of reinvention for which his company’s work has become known since taking off in 2010. “We are responsible for making the old new again, reformulating a product, revitalizing a brand, and breathing new life into an idea,” says Phoenix, the CEO/executive producer of Phoenix Media Group (http://www.phoenixnyc.tv).

Equal parts creative agency, production company and post house, Phoenix Media Group offers creative services that range from fully produced original content, advertising and branded experiences to live events and integrated campaigns. 

According to Phoenix, the company’s branding philosophy involves focusing on each client’s individual needs and bringing their stories to life with emphasis on honing of the message as well as its delivery. “Few brands can rely on conventional platforms alone to tell their stories,” he says. “While traditional methods still have value, consumers like to be surprised by creative delivery methods or fun inclusive campaigns. When a consumer finds themselves interacting or engaged in brand content, you’ve probably connected with them in a new way.”

Phoenix’s work in broadcast branding, online publishing, rich media and video content development has scored some industry awards: an ADDY, Clio and Effie, in addition to Emmy and PromaxBDA noms. 

THE TEAM

All of this is built on Chris Phoenix’s 14-plus years of experience in digital content, including working on original programming for Bravo and ESPN’s first co-branded campaign with Unilever. 

With just five full-time employees, his staff is made up of a core group that employs a selective approach to which projects they take on. This fosters an all-hands-on experience, they say, as well as a 360-vision for each project. 



Phoenix explains that the key to keeping his team engaged is challenging them to explore ideas that might be outside the scope of a project: “We can promote pushing the limits and imaginative thinking because we are confident in one another and resolved to succeed together. We owe that kind of confidence to our clients who, have entrusted us to tackle their creative challenges with the same approach.”

The payoff? “Now and then, our creativity is rewarded and a client throws their hat into the wind, grabs our hand and takes the leap,” he says.

THE WORK

From awards shows to channel brands and original content, Phoenix’s portfolio of clients spans advertising, publishing, broadcast, Web and film: TLC, Comedy Central, ESPN and Bravo; American Express, Vaseline Men, Honda, Dove, Microsoft, Gatorade; and AKQA, Ogilvy and BBH.

For three years running, Phoenix has partnered with the Clios for their annual awards show. This year, Phoenix’s goal was to continue to fortify the Clios’ reputation as the “Oscars of Advertising,” and separate their brand from other industry award competitors. 

The 54th annual event was held in May, with Phoenix handling every aspect of production and visual branding, including the opening sequence design, show graphics, winning reels, and production of the video packages announcing each of the 2013 Award honorees and winners.

Phoenix also recently garnered a Silver ADDY for a promo for Central Chinese Television’s daily global business news program Biz Asia America. The challenge was to create an eye-catching promo that communicated the interconnected and international world of trade, business and investment.



Phoenix wanted to convey the emotional side of the financial dialogue between East and West, creating a clever, evocative animation using the inherent illustrations and designs of global currencies to bring the human side of money to life in a memorable way.

The project provided a unique experience for everyone at Phoenix — from the first client meeting in Washington, DC, conceiving the promo concept, winning the work, and then creating and delivering the project. 

“You really feel like a team when you actually go through the entire life cycle of the project together — you get to experience the entirety of the exhilaration from all of the little victories along the way,” says Phoenix.

Looking forward, Phoenix is in talks with Sony Entertainment to create an original series that would accompany the launch of the PlayStation 4, focusing on Sony’s key demo of young males.

THE GEAR

Being a well-rounded agency means employing established tools of the trade. All of the standard fare for digital agencies is in their wheelhouse: Apple’s Final Cut 7 and Color, along with Blackmagic’s DaVinci; Avid’s Pro Tools|HD; Adobe’s After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; and Maxon’s Cinema4D. 



“With the democratization of technology, it’s pretty rare that the tools are going to separate you; it’s what you do with those tools,” concludes Phoenix. “If everyone is using the same instruments and your work is still getting all the eyeballs, then you know the difference is your talent and experience.”