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10 Questions with Ed Catto and Steve Rotterdam of Bonfire Agency


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Bonfire_logoEd Catto and Steve Rotterdam have recently launched Bonfire Agency, LLC.  The company helps brands reach the highly sought after pop culture demographic and the influentials that can make or break what the next big thing is.

We’ve had a few articles about our thoughts on marketing in the comic book industry and the two men have agreed to subject themselves to our 10 Questions.

Graphic Policy: First let me say thank you very much for the interview and congratulations on the new venture.  For people who don’t know, tell us about Bonfire Agency, LLC which you started along with Steve Rotterdam.

Ed Catto and Steve Rotterdam: Thank you for the opportunity. We’re really excited and the first few weeks have been a whirlwind. Bonfire Agency was created to help companies connect directly with highly passionate, intensely loyal and incredibly challenging to reach consumers of pop culture – and to do so with relevance and authenticity, encouraging these influentials to embrace their message and help spread it outwards. As a full-service marketing agency, we’re able to develop strategies and fully integrated campaigns that tap into the heart of what these consumers care about.  And because this is a marketplace that hungers for the “new” and respects risk-takers, it’s an environment within which brands can play and experiment; to do some of their edgiest work in trying to engage and enlist these consumers.

In addition, we’re developing three discrete service offerings – a comics media ad network, our Fan-Pan research panel and a retailer-based promotional event network.   We’re establishing great partnerships already, but one relationship in particular has been especially important in enabling us to hit the ground running.   We’ve created Bonfire Agency as an agency within an agency.   So while we’re independent, we’re also aligned with EastWest Marketing Group. This gives us access to offices in New York, LA and Chicago, as well as an established infrastructure, top talent and services.  That being said, we’ll also be reaching out to specialists and top creatives as specific projects demand specific skills and sensibilities.

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New NYC Marketing Firm to Help Brands Target Geek Culture Demo

Official Press Release

NEW YORK, Jan. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Two veteran New York marketing executives are joining forces to open a new full-service advertising and marketing firm, Bonfire Agency, LLC, specializing in helping brands target highly influential but difficult to engage pop culture consumers.  This demo, labeled by some as geek or comic culture, is comprised of incredibly passionate and highly influential fans of everything from comic books, video games and action films to underground music, sci-fi inspired television and cutting edge adult comedy, spending $400 million annually on pop culture and collectibles.

“We’re calling them ‘firestarters,'” said Steve Rotterdam, former Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for TimeWarner’s DC Comics and co-founder of Bonfire.  “These are hyper-networked consumers that film studios strive to connect with through events like the San Diego Comic-Con because their endorsement of a project, especially in its early stages, can generate serious heat that can propel a film to box office success or green light a second season for a TV series on the bubble.”

“They’re evangelists for everything ‘awesome,'” said co-founder Ed Catto, former Senior Vice President at Reed Exhibitions and a specialist in uniting brands with pop culture icons.  “They’re the first in line and the first to pass judgment as to whether something is authentic or not.”

Rotterdam and Catto, fellow alumni of Cornell University, have crossed paths before, most recently at Eastwest Marketing Group, where Rotterdam was Chief Creative Officer and Catto was VP-account director.  Eastwest has taken an equity stake in new agency, furnishing offices, as well as administrative and professional support.

Rotterdam, known as a creative brand strategist, led the development and execution of marketing strategies at DC Comics and Catto, a self-styled “retropreneur,” recently engineered with a partner, the rebirth of the first superhero action figure, Caption Action, via comics, collectibles and a national toy line.

Bonfire is also developing an integrated ad network with independent comic publishers, comic shops and comic specialty stores to participate in brand sponsored events and promotions and a core consumer research panel.

Bonfire Agency, located at 401 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, N.Y., 10016 in the offices of Eastwest Marketing Group, and, through its alignment with Eastwest, will also have offices in Chicago and Los Angeles.  For more information, call 917.595.4106 or visit www.BonfireAgency.com.