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Agency Review: T3
By: Luke Willoughby
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T3 is a full-service, independent shop that was founded in Austin in 1989 by Gay Gaddis. This was not only before SXSW was cool, but also before female leadership was familiar in the industry. Today, Gay runs a successful agency of 190 people across three offices (including SF and NY) that pulled $23 million in revenue in 2013, according to the Austin Business Journal.
T3, standing for "The Think Tank," claims it's the “Technology-Fueled Creative Agency.” This is represented through several case studies of comprehensive branding campaigns built around mobile experiences and social communities. For Sprite, aiming to build a social presence, T3 creatively juxtaposed the brand into urban landscapes — think of a Sprite can as an NYC water tower, or a two-liter bottle as a fire extinguisher. This generated easily shareable content, and encouraged brand advocacy from within the urban culture of the target audience.
The “technology-fueled” focus appears in reference to building brand platforms, websites, and apps. These interactive brand experiences combine content, creative concepts, and planning strategy just like any :30 spot. But the creative specialty at T3 must build an audience of contributors, whereas many agencies try only to "engage." Earning an audience's interaction, in addition to their attention, is a powerful capability that will be increasingly coveted in modern newsroom media.
The challenge now lies in adopting success in "creative-technology" into large media billings and budgets. Can innovators like T3 compete with the legacy foundation of networks and media agencies? With technology fueling the future of advertising distribution, including on TV, there is certainly the opportunity for disruption.

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About the Author
Luke Willoughby works in the digital media landscape of New York across varying agencies and brands. He also has a background in video and content production, and is invested in the resurgence of the full-service advertising agency and the associated opportunities for the marketing industry. Originally from Denver, Colorado, he's a fan of most outdoor activities and otherwise enjoys reading and film.
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