The Brooklyn Brothers are expanding to the West Coast, linking up with eight writers and producers whose credits range from The Office to Jimmy Kimmel Live, to launch a new company called Brooklyn Brothers Hollywood.
"This new venture is not so much about branded entertainment but building audiences for clients," says Guy Barnett, one of the founders of the Brooklyn Brothers, an advertising agency that isn’t actually based in Brooklyn as its name would imply but rather Manhattan, with offices in London and Curitiba, Brazil, too. "We want to combine our advertising expertise with our Hollywood screenwriters’ storytelling skills to put the brand at the heart of the story—not on the periphery—and build an audience that grows and is sustained over time."
The Brooklyn Brothers Hollywood roster of talent includes Ned Rice, who has written for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Politically Incorrect and Jimmy Kimmel Live; Mark Goffman, executive producer of White Collar; Lester Lewis, who has written for The Larry Sanders Show and The Office; Rob Long, who wrote Cheers; Adam Kulakow, a screenwriter whose credits include Les Miserables and Race to Witch Mountain; and Danielle Uhlarik, a Second City alum and writer on the upcoming ABC series The Family Tools.
The inspiration for the new venture came out of a series of New Era commercials the Brooklyn Brothers created last year that had baseball rivals Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski—Baldwin is a New York Yankees fan, Krasinski supports the Boston Red Sox—trading all sorts of trash talk. "We collaborated with Charlie Grandee [a writer and director for The Office] and [Parks and Recreation showrunner] Mike Schur, and it showed just what can be achieved if you do something that has a story, fun characters and great writing," Barnett says. "We did eight mini episodes, and we collected over two million hits and about a billion media impressions—seriously, a billion."
The Brooklyn Brothers repeated the New Era campaign this year, this time collaborating with Funny or Die to create a series of spots that had The Office’s Craig Robinson, a fan of the Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Cubs fan Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation sitting in a bar trading quips.
While Brooklyn Brothers Hollywood has yet to find office space (and it is looking like they will settle in Venice, not Hollywood), the company is already at work on a project and has gotten Tinseltown’s attention via a splash page on its website that finds the letters "BB" placed just to the left of the iconic Hollywood sign, making it appear as though it reads BB Hollywood.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which owns the trademark to the Hollywood sign, wasn’t too pleased to see its sign altered, even digitally. In fact, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Leron Gubler told The Hollywood Reporter that it was an infringement of their trademark, and there was talk of a cease-and-desist letter being sent to the Brooklyn Brothers.
No harm was meant, insists Burnett, noting, "We will be issuing a groveling apology shortly and taking it off our website as soon as [Hurricane] Sandy blows through."
[Hollywood Sign: Flickr user Francis Orante]