Name: Philip Khosid
Title: Partner & CCO at Battery
Years in ad industry: 18
First job in ad industry: Senior Art Director at BBDO/Proximity
Philip Khosid has a habit of creating unexpected activations on shoestring budgets. He shepherded teams from skepticism to success at agencies like Grey, Proximity/BBDO and Dare. In 2013, he co-founded Battery in Los Angeles.
Khosid says he creates for clients and consumers, not for his peers in the industry. "Sometimes that means lots of pyrotechnics and effects, and sometimes it calls for deafening silence," he says. "The stuff Battery has done -- all of that has been done on the love of the idea. We throw caution to the wind on everything we do."
Here are the 5 executions Khosid says have meant the most to him and his career.
Work: "The McDonald's Burger Debate"
This high-visibility idea was initially met with skepticism. "We called an engineer to hook up Burger Balloons to Facebook, and they looked at us like we were insane," Khosid says. "With the exception of my immediate team, no one thought it could be done."
The difficulty was compounded by a small budget, forcing the team to figure out how to make do with what they had. "Any great idea is born dying," Khosid says. "If you want to do something really different, you have to find a way."
The unexpected success of Burger Balloons drove home the importance of tenacity for Khosid, an asset that would eventually lead to projects like founding Battery.
Brand: Old El Paso
Client: General Mills
Work: "Mi Marido, Mi Angel"
Only one actor in this branded content telenovela was a native Spanish speaker, but "actors can learn to perform in Spanish if you try hard enough," Khosid says. As with Burger Balloons, the pitch raised eyebrows. "People thought we were nuts."
But not only did the campy show run on Facebook as initially intended, it also ran on Canadian broadcast station CTV. "When we shared the idea internally that we wanted these pieces to run and appear as real shows on a major network, most people wrote us off immediately," Khosid says. "If enough people are passionate about a project, you’ll find the money and a way."
Brand: Batman Arkham Knight
Work: "Be the Batman"
This campaign for Warner Bros. was the first work Khosid’s agency Battery created. At the time, the agency consisted of just three people. They had to prove themselves, and the pressure was on. "The whole thing was on the verge of collapse multiple times, and we often felt like not only was the campaign not going to happen, but Battery itself was in trouble."
A few Times Square billboards and a handful of awards later, and they knew the agency was on the right track. "Batman" showed both Warner Bros. and potential clients that Battery was worth working with. "It really opened up the floodgates for us as a company."
Brand: Lego Dimensions
Work: "Endless Awesome"
Creativity alone couldn’t bring this project together. With 20 different IP licenses to juggle and placate, the team at Battery had to learn to diplomacy, too. DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, Universal, FOX – all had specific boundaries the creative team had to work around. Homer Simpson, for example, pops out of a donut rather than delivering his signature "Doh" because Battery didn’t have the rights to use his voice.
At the same time, the toys-to-life video game segment was crowded. "People wrote us off as the fourth to market and gave us a less than positive outlook on our chances of success," Khosid says. But they focused on "doing what was right for the brand versus doing what conventional toy advertising said was right."
After the work aired, Battery began getting interest not just from other toy companies, but from brands like mobile phones, as well as brands that "couldn’t be further from the toy category," Khosid says. Like alcohol.
Brand: Mike’s Hard Lemonade
Client: Mike’s Harder Lemonade
Half of Battery’s peers loved this spot, and the other half hated it, Khosid says, and he loved that. "A lot of people talked about it as being juvenile -- and perhaps it was -- but for the target, it was magic."
Embracing a double entendre inherent to the brand gave male viewers "permission to be guys," he says, in a way that was polarizing but not politically incorrect. "Styles change, but at 21, men are men."