“Creative is the one area where a single person can defeat an army.”
— Late Founder Chick McKinney
Since 1969, we have consistently outpunched our weight, helping clients achieve extraordinary results through the power of creativity.
Our purpose is to discover and unleash the untapped potential in our world. And it’s not just about the untapped potential in our clients’ brands. It’s also about the untapped potential in our people and the broader community around us.
Four values bring our purpose to life:
with resultsWe’re not precious about our ideas, we’re precious about the outcome.
drivenAll of us are about the work, because it’s the work that gets the job done.
in it together
in it togetherWe care enough about each other and our clients to be candid and persistent about what matters.
Always looking for
a better way
Always looking for
a better wayWe respect what’s universal and timeless while constantly seeking new ways to bring brands to life.
One agency, two doors
Being headquartered in Durham gives McKinney a compelling perspective on and connection to the “real world.” Being in New York lets us see emerging trends before they cross the Hudson.
No matter which door, we’re united by the same purpose, mission, values, and a single P&L.
Pound for pound, McKinney is the most effective agency in America
The Effie Awards are our industry’s benchmark for marketing effectiveness. In 2003, we decided to see how we measured up. Since then, we rank 10th of 300+ winning agencies. No other agency comes close to offering our odds of helping clients achieve Effie-worthy business performance. We’ve helped 25 brands across 24 categories earn recognition 99 times, including:
Our mission is to help our clients achieve extraordinary results through creativity. Here are the stories behind some of that Effie-celebrated work.
Extraordinary results is what we are about. Creativity is how we do it. And we have plenty of creative awards to prove that the two go hand in hand.
There’s a simple philosophy behind all that unleashed potential.
What isn’t so simple is what we do with it.
People care more about themselves than they care about brands.
And they tend to pick categories before they choose brands.
So for a brand to reach its full potential, it has to connect with what brings people to the category in the first place.
When we create a brand experience that exceeds category expectations, you win.
DefinitionYou want as many customers as
you can profitably serve. But some
people are more likely than others
to drive your business.
InsightThe most powerful brands own the
real reasons why people come to
your category in the first place.
Our job is to divine those truths.
StrategyKnowing how people feel about
you now and what you can credibly
deliver, we seek a path to
connecting your brand to what
people seek from your category.
StrategyGiven your business objectives,
what’s the real challenge that
communications can address?
Starting there increases the odds
of extraordinary results.
DesignWe examine every lever from
product performance to cultural
context to design a brand
experience that exceeds category
DevelopmentWe start from ideas, not
executions. And use each
touch point to deliver its role in the
ProductionOur production team, one of the
most respected in the business, is
structured to achieve efficiency
and effectiveness across media.
MarketingWe are the rare creative agency
with the ability to deliver physical
brand experience, such as
Samsung’s entire annual presence
Buying & Optimization
Buying & OptimizationWhen media unbundled from
creative, we held on. In a world
where the medium is so often the
message, media remains central to our creative thinking.
& AnalyticsOur qualitative inquiry is
supplemented by primary
quantitative research. We also
optimize our clients’ digital efforts
through performance analytics.