A Revolution on Madison Avenue

Collaborative model for creativity gains traction in Memphis

March 12, 2005
Originally built in 1900 as an apartment house, 1460 Madison Avenue was once a clinic for the region’s foremost plastic surgeon, who boasted clients among the elite of society (and rock ‘n roll). Now, the building is where companies go to give their brand image a facelift – with a collaborative business model that is rocking the traditional advertising world.
The anchor of this ‘creative mall,’ if you will, is Tactical Magic, a small five-person branding/advertising/design firm that has in just four years established itself as a creative force to be reckoned among the larger, established agencies in town.
Other 1460-ites include Redmond Design, Trey Clark Photography, fine artist Deborah Brown and the Memphis Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA).
This month, 1460 Madison announced the launch of its new Web site (1460madison.com) and the addition of two new tenants: Karla Woods of Life Events event marketing and planning, and the Memphis Advertising Federation.
“We’re excited to have our headquarters located in the same building with some of our most active and creative members,” says Howard Cobbs, Executive Director of the Memphis Advertising Federation. “It’s a great environment in which to conduct the business of the Advertising Federation.”
Adds Ben Johnson, President of AIGA’s Memphis chapter, "Having AIGA Memphis, the professional association for design, and the Memphis Advertising Federation under the same roof is a great testament to our organizations' goals of promoting excellence and awareness for the communication arts. It shows the collaborative spirit of our community.”
“Both our creativity and our clients benefit when we are inspired and challenged by talented people from other disciplines,” says Johnson, also Design Director of Tactical Magic. “This eclectic group of tenants makes 1460 Madison a powerful collaborative environment.”
Indeed, collaboration has been the heart of the endeavor since its inception. Trace Hallowell, principal of Tactical Magic and founder of 1460 Madison says, “The business world is ready for a more fluid, more efficient method for creative branding and advertising solutions. 1460 is both a tool to achieve that goal and – with its format and its occupants – a metaphor for collaboration. Here, you can get something as simple as a smart business card design, or as complex as a national multimedia branding campaign.” (Tactical Magic was the only local agency to win the gold award for regional/national multimedia campaigns in the recent Addy awards show.)
Recent 1460 Madison Highlights:
• Redmond Design founder Jerry Redmond is also an instructor at Southwest Community College. A Tennessee Board of Regents Maxine Smith Fellow, Redmond was recently awarded two Pyramid Awards by the Memphis Advertising Federation (The Communications Educator of the Year and Ad Man of the Year).
• 1460 Madison was chosen as the site and Trace Hallowell chosen as the presenter for the “Creative Process” session, as Russian ad agency executives were touring Memphis firms to learn best practices from their American Counterparts.
• Artist Debbie Brown has a successful show, recently opened at the Jay Etkins Gallery on South Main.
• Redmond Design Web Designer, Satoru Takayama, holds a degree in Industrial Design from the University of Japan.
• A collaboration between Tactical Magic and Lunar Productions resulted in the world’s first animated name badge – an iPod running a video loop with an animated logo for Memphis Car Audio for use at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This piece was awarded the Judges Special Award for Interactive in the recent Memphis Addy Awards.
• A collaboration between Tactical Magic, Lunar Productions and 1049 Productions yielded a award-winning television commercial for Wonders: The Art of the Motorcycle. It was, in fact, the only television commercial to be recognized with a gold Addy at the recent awards show.
• Redmond Design Art Director Antone Wade also writes, illustrates and publishes a bi-annual comic book, Jetta.
• 1460 Madison is quite possibly the most culturally-diverse workplace in the Memphis advertising community.
• Photographer Trey Clark has enjoyed a surge in national assignments, including commissions for BusinessWeek, FedEx, Konica-Minolta, Lincoln-Mercury, and the independent feature film, Lovely by Surprise.  Incidentally, his new logo, designed by Tactical Magic, was the only logo to receive a gold at the recent Memphis Addy Awards.

• Tactical Magic collaborated with Niko Lyras of Cotton Row Records and award-winning local rap artist Al Kapone to create the soundtrack for Memphis Car Audio’s new DVD demo (“True 2 tha Street’). Kapone and Lyras were, of course, featured on the soundtrack for the feature film, Hustle & Flow.
• Cotton Row Records, Lunar Productions and Tactical Magic (and, of course, all the tenants of 1460 Madison) are all located within a few blocks of each other in the emerging Madison Heights section of Madison Avenue, Memphis.
 • Over the past several months, Tactical Magic has engaged in a variety of projects well outside the traditional realm of advertising and graphic design, including: an interior design project (in collaboration with John Griffin), a promotional hip-hop mixtape (in collaboration with 2-Shay Parkinson), a site signage system, apparel design and graphics for several motorcycle helmets

"A house of brands is like a family, each needs a role and a relationship to others."
- Jeffrey Sinclair