Big –

With an open heart and the desire to leave the world a better place than she found it, Robin of in North Salem, New York, takes us on an amazing journey through her own personal marketing experiences. A one-woman band who assembles her orchestra of rebels and caretakers, Robin describes herself and her teams as people who are ready to rock and roll. It is their willingness to have their client’s backs to catch them before they fall that truly makes their mission and agency unique.


Owners: Robin Albin

Year Started: 2017

Employees: 1 – 10

In the latest episode of “An Agency Story” titled “Big,” listeners are transported into the world of marketing mavericks and branding brilliance through the journey of Robin Albin, the force behind Insurgents, a trailblazing brand agency out of New York. This episode, nestled within a series that celebrates the highs and lows of marketing agency ownership, shines a spotlight on the audacity, creativity, and resilience that define the sector’s best.

Robin Albin’s narrative is a testament to the unconventional path to success. With a career that zagged from aspiring art critic to a luminary in the advertising and branding world, Robin’s story is rich with insights on how to turn passion and serendipity into a successful agency model. The discussion delves deep into the “Hollywood model” of Insurgents, showcasing a flexible, project-based approach that curates specialized teams for each client, ensuring that creativity and innovation are not just buzzwords, but the foundation of their work.

Listeners will be riveted by tales of transforming major brands like CoverGirl and Coke, with Robin’s recounting of the foundational story of Origins, a brand that rewrote the rules of beauty branding, being particularly compelling. Through anecdotes of fearless creativity and strategic risks, the episode paints a vivid picture of what it means to be truly insurgent in the marketing world.

The episode also explores Robin’s personal philosophy and the ethos of Insurgents, underlining the importance of working on passion projects that not only challenge the status quo but also contribute positively to the world. From tales of navigating corporate giants to launching her own ventures like Everlusting, a brand aimed at redefining aging for women, Robin’s journey is an inspiring call to action for current and aspiring agency owners alike.

Listeners are left contemplating the importance of risk-taking, the power of empathy in leadership, and the endless possibilities that arise from staying true to one’s vision and values. It’s an invitation to dive into the world of Insurgents and discover the boundless creativity and innovation that lies in challenging the norms.

This episode of “An Agency Story” is not just a podcast; it’s a beacon for anyone looking to make their mark in the marketing world. Tune in to be inspired, to learn, and to see how big ideas can transform the landscape of branding and advertising.


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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. From the excitement of starting up the first big sale, passion, doubt, fear, freedom, and the emotional rollercoaster of growth. Hear it all on An Agency Story podcast. An Agency Story podcast is hosted by Russel Dubree, successful agency owner with an eight figure exit turned business coach. Enjoy the next agency story.

[00:00:39] Russel: Hello, welcome to another episode of an agency story podcast. I’m your host Russel. Today’s guest on the show is Robin Albin with Insurgents, a unique brand agency based out of New York. There’s a good chance you’ve seen or experienced Robin’s work and not even know it. Robin has worked with some of the largest brands you can think of, especially in the beauty industry.

[00:00:59] From [00:01:00] Covergirl to Coke, you’ll get to hear how Robin has transformed household name brands into the new age. Robin’s story is proof that there is no one way an agency needs to look to be successful.

[00:01:10] This is a good one folks.

[00:01:12] Enjoy the story.

[00:01:16] Welcome to the show today everyone. Our guest today is Robin Albin with Insurgents. Welcome to the show, Robin.

[00:01:23] Robin: Thank you, Russel. I’m excited to do this.

[00:01:25] Russel: As always, start us off with a quick overview. What does Insurgents do and who do you do it for?

[00:01:30] Robin: Insurgents is a branding and innovation agency. We work off of a Hollywood model, which means that we don’t have a formal staff.

[00:01:40] We put together teams based upon the client, the category, and the actual assignment. We work end-to-end, meaning that you can come to us with a few scribbles on a napkin and we will make you a brand, all the way through to digital, social, web design. You need a formula? We have formulators. You need [00:02:00] package design? We have package designers and engineers.

[00:02:03] Whatever you need, we can do. We put together those kind of teams, and what’s great about it is the teams are curated for each client. You’re not getting someone who’s been sitting in the bullpen waiting to be called up. They’re people who are out there in the market and are ready to rock and roll.

[00:02:21] Russel: Quick question for you, and I feel like the answer is gonna really set the tone for this podcast, in a previous conversation you’d mentioned helping brands refine to one word. What is that one word for your business?

[00:02:33] Robin: Being insurgent. We’re insurgent, we are out there looking to change the rules, to break the rules, to find new ways of looking at things. We’re insurgent.

[00:02:44] Russel: Insurgents definitely isn’t where you started your career. If you don’t mind taking us back to the beginning, even before you had your first agency. What was young Robin thinking and doing back then?

[00:02:54] Robin: Young Robin was not thinking she was going to be in the advertising business. I started my [00:03:00] college career as a painting major, wanting to be an art critic. I studied art history. When I got out in the real world, I had a friend who said to me, you need to be in advertising.

[00:03:11] I said, I can’t do advertising. It’s a prostitution of the arts. He convinced me, I got a job working at an advertising agency as the juniorest of copywriters and fell in love with the ad biz. By the time I actually did get a job working for ARTnews as a junior copywriter, I said, I’m not an art fart.

[00:03:34] I’m an advertising person. I randomly fell into it and fell in love with it. I started my career as an advertising copywriter, became an advertising creative director and then left the traditional agency world to form my first agency, which was called Brash.

[00:03:53] Russel: More specifically to that, what series of events led you to start that first agency and what were you focused [00:04:00] on at that time?

[00:04:00] Robin: When I started my career as a copywriter, I worked at a very large agency called SC&B. I worked on CoverGirl, Johnson, and Lipton Tea. I left that agency to become a creative director on the Maybelline account at a mid-size agency.

[00:04:16] The day I started, they lost the account. I sat in this big, beautiful windowed office all day waiting for someone to come around and say, “would you like a cup of coffee? Do you need a pencil?” No one came around. It was the strangest first day. At the end of the day, the head creative director told me that they lost the account, but they decided to keep me anyway.

[00:04:37] I became head of all of the women’s business working on Cody Fragrances, Coppertone. They had Seagrams as an account. I worked on the women’s liquor business. Whenever they would go out and pitch something, fashion, beauty they would schlep me along and I would do the women’s spiel.

[00:04:57] But the eventual creative director that [00:05:00] came in was very chauvinistic. He and I butt heads constantly. It was a clash of opinions. Finally my husband said to me, you know what? You are miserable. I was there for two years. You’re miserable. Quit. I said, quit? What would I possibly do?

[00:05:15] I haven’t been looking for a job. I don’t have my portfolio in order. He said, quit. Eventually I did quit and two weeks later, my former CoverGirl client called up and said, we heard you quit. Would you think about forming a skunkworks for us? They matched me up with a creative director who I had worked with from SC&B.

[00:05:37] We put together this skunk works. Our job was to come down to Baltimore once a month with ideas. Those ideas could be absolutely anything and everything. We did products, we did brands, we did retail concepts, we did promotions. We brought them tons of ideas, and that was the genesis of the agency that became [00:06:00] Brash.

[00:06:00] Russel: Fascinating. I’m very sorry to hear an unfortunate event like that happened to you, but it sounds like it worked out all for the better.

[00:06:07] Robin: My career has totally been serendipity and being these occasions where you had to think outside the box because the box evaporated.

[00:06:17] I never had a five year plan that said, I’m gonna travel up this corporate ladder and eventually I’m gonna become executive creative director of a major agency. I just always went where the wind blew me.

[00:06:29] Russel: One of the things that’s already stood out pretty quickly here is that you’ve worked with so many large brands and it sounds like you were even able to carry that forward in starting your own agency with Brash.

[00:06:39] How were you able to find and work with all those large brands?

[00:06:42] Robin: What happened was we worked for CoverGirl for the skunkworks and the formation of Brash for three years. At the end of the period of time, P&G bought CoverGirl. The suits came down and said, what’s your process?

[00:06:57] We said, our process? I don’t know. We go out on the streets, we [00:07:00] talk to people, we go to the museums, we go to the movies. We just trend hunt and get an idea. They were looking for McKenzie. McKenzie, we were not. We lost the gig, very sadly, but it was a great start for Brash. Many of our marketing partners at CoverGirl didn’t want to move to Cincinnati and didn’t want to work for a big corporation.

[00:07:24] Wherever they went, they called us. They went to Coca-Cola, we worked for Coke. They went to Hallmark Cards, they went to Playtex. Some of them, in fact, decided to start their own brands. Two guys wanted to start a brand targeted towards teenagers. We developed the brand for them and eventually that brand was bought by Estee Lauder.

[00:07:45] We just wound up working across a variety of big accounts, but simultaneous with that, because we had developed a reputation as being good skunkworks people, someone said[00:08:00] Estee Lauder has a skunkworks going, and we think you should meet the head of the team there.

[00:08:06] They made an introduction and I was absorbed into the team of seven people at the time. The brand was Origins. I was one of the founders of the Origins brand, and that gave me an entree into the Estee Lauder Corporation. I was parallel pathing for many years working on Brash with my partner Susan, and then also working on developing Origins.

[00:08:31] I was primarily dedicated to Origins, but I was drafted throughout the Lauder Corporation as a troubleshooter. I wound up working on a lot of the brands at the corporate portfolio.

[00:08:44] Russel: No short amount of time. If I remember correctly, you were running Brash for 26 years, is that right?

[00:08:49] Robin: Yeah, for about 26 years. We worked for everybody. It just became, by word of mouth our reputation for being brash. They used to call us the Brash Sisters. [00:09:00] We had the same Hollywood model at that time. We worked for everyone from Calvin Klein to Unilever to Playtex, you name it. Revlon. We worked on a lot of different categories and a lot of big clients.

[00:09:14] Russel: 26 years is Awesome. But eventually you did have to sunset that agency. What was behind that, and where did you go to next?

[00:09:21] Robin: As I said, I was parallel pathing working for Estee Lauder. What happened with Brash was Susan decided she didn’t wanna do it anymore. She was sick of the hustle. She was sick of the problems. She wanted to go paint and travel. I spoke to the team up at Estee Lauder, particularly William Lauder, and he said, come work for us. They created a position for me that was on paper, just absolutely my dream job, which was basically to start a skunkworks for the Estee Lauder brand and to come up with ideas that would be new opportunities [00:10:00] outside of the traditional, selling at Neiman Marcus, selling at Sephora, selling online. Where else can beauty play?

[00:10:07] I did that for three years. Worked on way out ideas, different places that beauty could put a foothold in.

[00:10:15] Russel: One of the things that stood out to me in our previous conversation was that you mentioned a project working on Estee Lauder, you used the word perfect, which is not often a term used in a lot of agencies and in terms of client work and all that. As I understand, that was the Origins project you mentioned earlier. Why was in fact that the perfect project in your mind?

[00:10:33] Robin: First of all, our mandate, Leonard Lauder, who was absolutely brilliant and an amazing inspiration.

[00:10:41] Our charge was, forget everything you know about the beauty business, and tell me what’s next. He was very serious about it. He also said to us, we’re not here to put a toe in the water. We’re here to make waves. With that as your mandate, you go, okay, what do we do? We [00:11:00] went out and we didn’t just go to the beauty counter and say, what’s the next mascara moisturizer that women might need?

[00:11:08] We listened to everything that was happening at the time. There was a lot of unsettled uncertainty. It was the beginning of the computer age. This was in the late eighties, and people were feeling like Big Brother is out there. It was a time of Reaganomics. It was a time of American exceptionalism, my way or the highway, and there was a lot of rules and regulations.

[00:11:33] It was also a time when women were wearing big shoulder pads and really trying to assert themselves. We felt that our audience was feeling very marginalized. They were feeling like things were not in their control, that they didn’t have the wherewithal to feel comfortable in their own skin.

[00:11:54] What was happening at the beauty counter is if you went to Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf, some [00:12:00] overly made up beauty advisor would lean in and say, my dear, you don’t look so good today. I could fix you. There was that feeling of disrespect, and we decided that we wanted to build a brand based on that one word. Our one word was respect, and we used that to touch every single point within the brand ethos. Everything from our selling strategy to our packaging strategy, to our communication strategy, to our actual environmental stewardship.

[00:12:33] It was all about building respect. We said that we believe that the consumer was intelligent, capable of making a decision. A thoughtful decision that was right for him or her with the right information. We said, we’re gonna give lots of information, but if you’re gonna give information, you have to give it in a way that the consumer wants to hear it.

[00:12:56] We created our own language and our own [00:13:00] style of naming products. That was fun and lighthearted because we said, when are you most receptive to new ideas? It’s when you’re smiling. That was something that was very revolutionary at the time because, prior to that, in the beauty business, you wanted to be very authoritative.

[00:13:17] You wanted to be a little bit highfalutin. You wanted to try and strut your creds. We said, we wanna welcome you in. We wanna make you happy because if you’re happy then you’re beautiful. Because the brand was all about inner and outer wellness and not about appearances, that was all part of this respect.

[00:13:39] Russel: Wow. What an amazing journey. I feel like one of the other things you’d said previously was how that set the tone for the entire beauty industry going forward.

[00:13:47] Robin: To this day, Origins is probably the most widely copied beauty brand in the world. We changed the language, we changed the naming system, we changed the service model from the beauty advisor [00:14:00] standing behind the counter to being in front of the counter. We did all of that before anyone else.

[00:14:05] Russel: I imagine that probably hadn’t even transitioned to other components. When you say shoulder pads, I feel like that’s some of what that’s exuding. I imagine that had to play out in so many different parts too, that kind of revolution.

[00:14:16] Robin: We had plain white packaging as opposed to all these big setup boxes, because we said if we’re gonna respect the environment, we’re gonna put our money into great products, not into over-packaging. That was all part of the philosophy of the brand.

[00:14:31] That one word guided us to every decision that we made. That’s when the one word strategy becomes so effective.

[00:14:43] Russel: Eventually Insurgents was to be born. How did that happen and taking all your previous experience, how did that play into how you were getting started and gonna focus on there?

[00:14:53] Robin: I was up at Lauder in this role of SVP of conceptual innovation for about three years.

[00:14:59] [00:15:00] The job, like many entrepreneurial positions, didn’t materialize to be quite what either one of us wanted. I left, I was trying to figure out what it is that I wanted to do, and I thought maybe I’ll just be a gun for hire. Found myself competing for projects with other agencies. It became very obvious I needed backup singers.

[00:15:25] Having done the Hollywood model with Brash before, I said it’s a great model. Clients really love it, and it gives you the agility, the flexibility, the creativity to do it the way you wanna do it with the people you wanna do it with. That’s how Insurgents got started.

[00:15:45] Insurgents is essentially Brash 2.0 without Susan, who I miss dearly and I speak to all the time. I keep saying, don’t you wanna come back? She keeps saying no. I have a great network of [00:16:00] extremely talented people who I can call on and they’re happy to play.

[00:16:05] Russel: Great segue into the next question. You’ve definitely had a lot of success as this one woman band that puts together the orchestra and each client you touch. What made you decide for this particular strategy as your approach?

[00:16:17] Robin: It suited me. When I left Lauder, I said, I’ve done it in a very serious way. Being up at Lauder, no joke. I wanted to do an agency my way. I wanted to work on the kind of projects that I wanted to work on. I don’t work on anything frivolous or silly nonsense.

[00:16:35] It has to be a passion project that someone really believes in and that’s good for the world, makes a difference as much as it can. I wanted to work with and for nice people. Those are my rules of the road. It has to be fun. It has to be a not combative, adversarial relationship.

[00:16:55] That’s one of the reasons why frequently a client will have an agency [00:17:00] for this, an agency for that, an agency for PR, or a social media agency, and everybody’s vying for who’s the smartest and who’s got the best ideas. By putting together the teams, including resource partners, like a PR agency or a social media agency, we all come together in a very cohesive, happy, collegial way.

[00:17:24] The project gets a lot of great points of view, but it doesn’t get that combative nonsense that can happen.

[00:17:32] Russel: Another line of success that’s obviously worked very well for you is being fearless and a risk taker. Is that something you think all agencies should be striving for in how they market and approach their clients?

[00:17:43] Robin: I always say is a little bit of an acquired taste. We’re not for everybody. If you need a specific amount of structure as a client, if you need to have account executives and research teams and all of those things, we’re not right for you.[00:18:00] In answer to the first part of your question, do I think that fearlessness and risk taking is for everyone?

[00:18:06] No, I don’t. I think that there’s so many different great agencies with terrific personalities and styles of their own. You have to form an approach that works for you and the temperament of the people you’re working with.

[00:18:21] Russel: For those that maybe are wanting to become more risk takers, any sage words of wisdom for those folks?

[00:18:27] Robin: Open your heart.

[00:18:28] I love when people come and they say, I wanna do something different. I want to be a challenger brand. We work with a lot of challenger brands and lighthouse brands that have a belief system. They have something. They’re not looking to be market leaders.

[00:18:44] They’re looking to be thought leaders. They’re looking to do something that is different and good for the world, even if it’s a beauty product or a skincare product that has something that is meaningful. We [00:19:00] worked on a project two years ago for an Australian skincare brand called Alpha-H. A woman had created the brand based upon some skincare issues that she had, and alpha hydroxy acids are very good for skincare. Alpha-H became a cosmeceutical brand, but the world when she created it was very different than it is now. When we came in, we said, we are going to establish you as a leadership brand.

[00:19:29] That word, alpha, means something in addition to an ingredient. We created alpha females which are different than alpha males, believe it or not, in that they are thought leaders. They’re open-minded, they’re kind, they’re not assholes. The founder of Alpha-H was a leader who started the brand, started this ingredient pathway long before anybody else.

[00:19:58] It was a 25 year old brand [00:20:00] when we got to it, but we added this extra layer of femaleness to it, and female leadership and it’s worked really great for them. It’s distinguished them, it’s given them an extra dimension than just being a cosmeceutical brand. That’s what I mean by doing something that’s above and beyond. It became a role model and they have extended it out even to the point where they created an encoreship program coming out of Covid, where a lot of women left the workforce to stay home and take care of their kids or caretakers or whatever, this encoreship program was to get women back into the workforce, to give them the skills and also mentorship programs to help them get back into a viable working situation.

[00:20:52] That’s what I mean by, needs to have something that’s more meaningful than I’m just transactionally selling you a product.[00:21:00]

[00:21:00] Russel: What a great thing to be a part of. Another reference point to our previous conversation and kind of aligns with my own agency experience in that, I think we were somewhere in the middle of risk takers in terms of pushing our clients, or we did a more of a crawl, walk, run approach.

[00:21:13] Strong word that I think plays out a lot in really good agencies is the word empathy. You described your archetype as the rebel and the caretaker and it really resonates how important that if you’re gonna push the boundaries for folks, if you’re gonna make them uncomfortable, that you have that caretaker aspect.

[00:21:27] Robin: I’m a big believer in leading from behind. My role is to put you out in front. It’s to liberate your idea. It’s not my idea, it’s your idea, but I’m out there. If you are taking a risk, I’m gonna put you out in front, but I’m always gonna have your back and I’m gonna catch you before you fall.

[00:21:44] That’s the role of, being a rebel and a caretaker at the same time.

[00:21:49] Russel: Sometimes the downside of taking risk is a recent experience you had mentioned where a client had canceled a project for that very reason. I’m pushing the boundaries too much.

[00:21:57] Any take aways from that experience or is [00:22:00] that just the cost of doing business in the way you play?

[00:22:02] Robin: He was a doctor. This was not his bailiwick. He, like a lot of early stage founders was searching for a lot of opinions. He was shopping opinions. The problem with that is you often get confused if you don’t stay your course. He got confused. He got uncomfortable and he got scared. It happens.

[00:22:25] Russel: Is that how you chalk it up, just happens? Or is there anything that you would approach differently?

[00:22:29] Robin: We tried our best to give him the comfort, security and the confidence he needed to go forward, but in the end, he just didn’t have it. I’ve had a couple of incidents like that where, people have big eyes and they say, we wanna do this, we wanna do that. Then they either see the cost of doing it from an emotional point of view, or from a financial point of view and they say, maybe not, but you gotta stick your neck out.

[00:22:57] I’m a big believer in Eleanor Roosevelt’s [00:23:00] saying, do one thing every day that scares you. It’s like a muscle. You just get stronger and stronger by taking risks.

[00:23:07] Russel: I liken it to, skydiving sounds really great until you’re sitting at the edge of the door to the plane and then I can certainly see some second thoughts there. One of the things I noticed, and I don’t know if you call this a side hustle or how you approach this, but there’s another project you’ve worked on called Everlusting. What’s the who, what, why behind that and how’s that going for you?

[00:23:24] Robin: After making brands for lots of people, one of my former cohorts and partners at Estee Lauder and on Origins and I said, why aren’t we making a brand for ourselves? Why aren’t we doing our own brand?

[00:23:38] That was the genesis of Everlusting. It is a brand targeted towards women of a certain age. Our tagline is, I may be older, but I will never be old. What we are trying to do is introduce the idea that our senses are vital to our health, [00:24:00] wellness, and longevity. It’s something that people don’t think about.

[00:24:03] If you go and Google healthy aging, you’ll get the same litany, long list of to-dos and tips and techniques. Go for a walk, go for a run, retire, don’t retire, get some more sleep, learn a language. There’s nothing about our senses and particularly what’s called the Cinderella senses, which are taste and smell, followed up with touch.

[00:24:25] What we are trying to do is to enlighten and ignite the senses so that people become more aware of how critical these senses are to again, health, wellness, and longevity. We’re writing a book, it’s called “The Sensual Revolution”, and we are working with some really fabulous thought leaders and scientists to create experiences that will ignite the senses.

[00:24:53] For example, I’ll give you one quick fact that surprises everybody. The most [00:25:00] early predicater of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease is a loss of sense of smell, and no one knows that. I had funny experience of my own where my mom about five years ago, we would go out to dinner and she would say, has no taste, nothing has a taste.

[00:25:18] I don’t taste anything anymore. We would sit there and go what are you talking about? This food is delicious, and she said, I can’t taste it. I can’t taste it. Lo and behold, she developed Alzheimer’s. Had people recognized that as such an early warning sign, not that you can avoid Alzheimer’s, but perhaps we could have gotten her some medicine to delay the progression of it a little earlier.

[00:25:46] We feel it’s a very important and underappreciated aspect of aging. We start to lose our sense of smell and taste as early as age 40. But because it is a slow decline, [00:26:00] by the time you’ve lost it, it’s too late. We’ve created all of these smell trainings along with the research groups that we’re working with to ignite the senses.

[00:26:10] Russel: I’m very fascinated and I certainly appreciate all the work and sounds like a tremendous amount of work that’s going into that book. For the folks at home, are you at the point where you have an anticipated release date for that?

[00:26:20] Robin: It’ll be sometime end of 2023.

[00:26:23] Russel: All right. I certainly look forward to that. As you look down the road for your career, what does the crystal ball say? Or should I say, what do you want it to say?

[00:26:32] Robin: I just wanna keep doing what I’m doing. I’m having a great time, I’m meeting fabulous people like yourself. I don’t have a career path. I don’t have a goal. I keep moving forward. I’m a big believer in serendipity. The gods will smile down on me and something wonderful will happen or something won’t, I’ll lose another piece of business.

[00:26:53] I try and always keep myself open for possibilities, what’s next and what I can [00:27:00] do. No crystal ball.

[00:27:02] Russel: What do they say? If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. It’s worked this far, keep on keeping on. Last real big question for you. Are entrepreneurs born or are they made?

[00:27:09] Robin: I think they’re born. I honestly do, because you need to have the heart. I’ve seen, a lot of people who say, I wanna start a company. If you don’t have the passion for it, you don’t have the commitment for it and you don’t have the courage for it, you’re not gonna succeed. Being an entrepreneur is not something you can dabble in.

[00:27:35] You have to be all in. I think they’re born.

[00:27:38] Russel: I think you might be the first that kind of fully committed to the born. Most end up in the mix or would actually lean towards the made. I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong answer to it by any means, that’s why I love the question. If people wanna know more about Insurgents, where can they go?

[00:27:52] Robin: Obviously to our website, which is [00:28:00] Then they can find me LinkedIn.

[00:28:03] Russel: Wonderful. Robin, thank you so much for being on the show today. So many fascinating take aways, great to hear your story. I really appreciate your time.

[00:28:12] Robin: Thank you. It was really great fun.

[00:28:15] We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. Are you interested in being a guest on the show? Send an email to An Agency Story is brought to you by Performance Faction.

[00:28:39] Performance Faction offers services to help agency owners grow their business to 5 million and more in revenue. To learn more, visit


[00:28:53] Robin: We had lasted for three years as a skunkworks, which became the foundation of the Brash [00:29:00] agency. This relationship was with CoverGirl. Susan and I had worked for CoverGirl in an agency capacity up at SC&B and these guys were our friends. It was a wonderful relationship up at SC&B.

[00:29:14] We used to go out to lunch. We used to go out for drinks. We would go down to Baltimore and when we would develop the skunkworks project, our job was to come down to Baltimore once a month with any ideas we wanted, and we did everything from products to brands, to retail stores, to promotions.

[00:29:33] This was pre computers, pre PDFs, and we would be schlepping these ginormous mood boards, they weighed a ton and we would take them down to Baltimore and put ’em up on the wall. They would applaud them and they loved them to pieces, they were really excited about the ideas. And then they never did anything with them.

[00:29:54] We gave them tons and tons of ideas. It was an annual contract and every year they would [00:30:00] renew and re-up our retainer. They were thrilled to have us come down. Every year, every month we’d come down with these giant boards and whatever. After P&G bought CoverGirl, and we were told that the contract would come to a conclusion, we came down with 30 ginormous boards.

[00:30:21] We were very good friends with these guys and we had lots of fun. We always went out to dinner, we went to drinks, we went to Christmas parties, we put the boards up on the wall, all 30 of them, and at the end of the meeting, we took them one at a time down. We had wheeled in a giant trash can. We threw them one at a time into the trash and they were hysterical, laughing, because that was exactly what happened to whatever. We said, we’re saving you the trouble, we’re just gonna throw ’em out right now.

[00:30:52] Russel: It’s funny, and then it’s a part sad, right?

[00:30:54] Robin: We did a teen line of cosmetics for CoverGirl, [00:31:00] and they took the teen line of cosmetics out to focus groups and in the focus groups were women, 15 to 49. The name of the brand was called Jeita Q and it was as fabulous as French fries and French kissing at the time.

[00:31:16] It died and it was so adorable. These two guys, when they left CoverGirl and they went to form a brand, they called us and they said we would love to do something like Buri to Q and we said we’re not gonna do Buri to Q. We created a line of teen cosmetics for them called Jane.

[00:31:35] And it was, there’s no such thing as a plain Jane and everything great about being a girl. We launched that brand was inspired by Buri. Except she was not French, this time. She was very all American. We created the brand. We launched it within nine months, and at the 12 month point, Estee Lauder bought it.

[00:31:57] Russel: They finally took one of your ideas is where [00:32:00] that all went. Kudos to for keeping showing up in all that and throughout that process and yeah glad to hear one of ’em made it.

[00:32:05] Robin: If all you have is one idea, you’re in big trouble. You gotta have lots of ideas and you can’t be afraid of them.