Founded in 2003 by Matti Leshem and headquartered in Los Angeles, Protagonist creates Brand Energy by using an array of skills in marketing, entertainment and strategy, with a critical focus on design. We begin where advertising agencies end. Because people have become immune to the messages of conventional advertising. Because it’s the 21st Century, and people are communicating in more and more sophisticated ways. With the idea always at the center — always informing the work — we employ our skills and passions in a handful of key categories: high-level brand strategy, conceptualization and execution of big ideas, social media campaigns, development of original IP, innovation in all its forms, and production of events for both consumer and stakeholder engagement.
We also develop and produce television, film and branded entertainment, often tapping into our deep and invaluable relationships in the entertainment community to collaborate with the most influential and accomplished creative talent in the world. Our brand management division seeks out and cultivates market opportunities in personalities with marketable brand potential, developing the concepts and relationships that generate revenue and brand value.
Protagonist also founded the USA Rock Paper Scissors League, a global brand platform with a focus on supporting higher education and nearly a decade of success activating consumers for brands like Bud Light and AMP Energy.
We work differently than advertising agencies do. We bring clients big ideas that often become the basis for the briefs that guide and drive creative and strategy. We challenge convention. We trust our instincts. We respect our clients enough to tell them the truth. This is unusual in the marketing world. We know it. We are also unique in that we almost always engage at the top of the organization, working directly with the C-suite to identify and solve the problems that are critical to the business, then stepping out into the rest of the organization to bring expertly reasoned strategies to life.
We believe that what we do is important. Through product innovation, breakthrough social initiatives, and ideas with long-term vision, we’re doing important, impactful work. We’re influencing the culture, and we consider it our responsibility to remind our clients how important their products are and how meaningful their work can be. We do that by treating what we do with well-deserved gravitas. We thrill to big ideas. And we never, ever phone it in.
It’s not rocket science. But it can be just as thrilling when launch time comes.
Protagonist has created immersive, culturally significant experiences on television, online and on-premise that connect with consumers and drive ROI for blue-chip brands, including Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Acxiom, Weight Watchers, Bud Light, MTV Networks, AOL and Living Proof. We have provided strategic consulting services to clients such as ABC News, News Corporation and Myspace.
In the past year, Protagonist has won a Gold Davey Award and been named an iMedia Connection “Campaign of the Year” finalist for their work for Living Proof. Additionally, CEO Matti Leshem was an invited presenter at the Digiday Innovation Summit and a panelist at Digital Hollywood. Matti is also frequently invited to discuss the topic of branding on various broadcast news programs.