Late 2008 and much of 2009 were tough times for most ad agencies. But many of the smaller ones found alternative means of keeping busy. A few examples we like:
• Hello Viking has spun off two in-house technologies: Curation Station, which helps companies collect online content that they believe customers and other visitors will find interesting and place it in a central, easy-to-refresh location on their Web sites; and Extendr, which lets users gather all of their Web presences (blog, YouTube video, social media, Flickr account) onto one URL.
• Another Minneapolis agency, Gabriel deGrood Bendt, launched a couple of clothing businesses: GiGi, a designer of women’s swimsuits; and Hockey Mama, which sells garments targeting hockey moms.
• Pocket Hercules in Minneapolis has developed two tasty entries: Lakemaid beer, introduced a couple of years ago; and, in April, Tiny Footprint, a “carbon-negative” coffee.