Ridgeland — Last summer, Rob Bridges and Chip Sarver were sitting around a table discussing DaVinci, Aristotle, Poe, Mozart and Barnum and other men throughout history who were geniuses, and each in their own way, mad.
“This doesn’t mean they were crazy,” said Sarver. “Far from it in fact. A crazy person sits around in his underwear all day, flinging pudding at the walls and convinced that he’s captain of the Starship Enterprise. The Mad Genius, however, is an individual who is unafraid to explore the boundaries set by everyone else around him. One who knows the everyday rules of society, just not how they apply to him, exactly. One who achieves the impossible simply because he refuses to believe that there is such a thing as impossible in the first place.”
Even though the trio didn’t have an office full of DaVincis and Mozarts, they understood their mission: to open a simple, full-service advertising and creative agency based in Ridgeland.
“We don’t necessarily scoff at tradition, but we aren’t afraid to take a chance either,” said Sarver. “So when we say that we offer a wide range of marketing, advertising and creative services, realize that we offer them without limitation. We find a fresh way to deliver your message and make you feel comfortable about it. And if you’re feeling particularly bold, we welcome the challenge to shake things up as well.”
MadGENIUS Inc. opened its doors in July 2005 to appeal to accounts that were not on the radar of large advertising agencies but were in need of unique creative talents that “mom-and-pop” agencies could not offer.
“We knew that there was a niche for agency services offered to this business sector that would allow an agency with the MadGENIUS philosophy to percolate into a dominant player over time,” said Bridges. “We’ve been very fortunate to acquire accounts with this MadGENIUS attitude of looking at marketing through a different perspective.”
MadGENIUS provides services ranging from identity and branding, advertising and public relations, Web development and design, graphic design, film/video production and editing, to photography, media planning and placement and business and marketing consulting.
“We have an incredibly talented group of individuals who believe that better creativity leads the way into bigger projects based on the style we offer,” explained Sarver. “Most recently, we were recommended to a current client after they shopped around for advice on agencies through their vendors. The client was directed that they would receive more creative and hands-on personal service from our team. It’s flattering that our reputation has outgrown us at a faster clip than we have marketed ourselves.”
Bridges, a 13-year agency veteran, corralled a creative dream team that includes two artists from the Savannah College of Art and Design and two creative writers who worked at one of Florida’s largest advertising agencies. In only eight months, the firm has grown into a regional advertising agency, with accounts in Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
“We’re capable of fully realizing a campaign from start to finish, from campaign conception to execution to placement across the whole spectrum of media outlets,” said Sarver. “The fact that an agency is smaller, that it works with a more streamlined team, doesn’t mean that it offers fewer services.”
The name MadGENIUS seemed the ideal name for the creative company, Sarver pointed out.
“We knew that when we started, we wanted to test the boundaries of our creativity,” he said. “While we’re a young company, our individual team members have all paid their dues in the advertising world, and we knew which traditions we cared for and which ones we didn’t. The Mad Genius seems like a perfect icon for that sort of situation. The type of person who is perfectly aware of the rules of everyday society, just not how they apply specifically to him.
“The ‘Dr. Frankenstein’ image is one that’s the most fun to play with, but the real world has always been shaped by people who fit the moniker ‘mad genius.’ Leonardo DaVinci, Walt Disney, P.T. Barnum, Benjamin Franklin: people who achieved the seemingly impossible simply because they chose not to think of things in terms of ‘possibility.’ We have the opportunity to make our own rules here. We’re not necessarily going to re-discover electricity, but we’ll certainly make a few attention-getting campaigns along the way. We knew we had a good thing going in the name when we called Nielsen Media Research to receive ratings information for television and they said ‘That’s the coolest name for an agency we’ve heard in a long time.’”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at Lynne.Jeter@gmail.com.