Newly merged Mod Op agency helps Microsoft realize creative vision for flagship store

Microsoft flagship store 'culture wall'

A recent merger of digital marketing agency Modus Operandi with creative branding and motion graphics company Eyeball has resulted in its first major project as the merged agency, Mod Op: a ‘Culture Wall’ for the Microsoft flagship store in New York City.

Microsoft tasked Mod Op with helping the company utilize its street-facing wall at the NYC flagship store to create an artistic reflection of what technology can bring to the community in an artistic sense. They are collaborating with local artists to bring architecture to life in a digital and dynamic format. Digital artist Tabor Robak was the first to land his work on the wall and more local New York-area artists' work will be featured in the coming weeks.

“The idea of the culture wall, which is what they call this giant 40-foot LED display that’s on the façade of the store, is really to serve as a connection between Microsoft and the community,” said TJ McCormick, partner and executive creative director at Mod Op. “The bigger objective they have with it is for people to start to view Microsoft less as a maker of hardware and software and more of a company and brand whose focus is on empowering people. Bringing in local artists and showing their creativity is a great representation of that mission.”

Modus Operandi and Eyeball have been working in collaboration with Microsoft for nearly two years, but the newly merged Mod Op allows the company to combine its efforts on both the digital and creative side.

“The synergy of those two companies, having Eyeball coming from a creative, brand and motion graphics history, which has been in business for twenty years, and the Modus Operandi side, having very good digital capabilities and technology capabilities – we combine those two things, it makes it so that we are able to work with clients in a way that either company wasn’t able to before bringing those two skill sets together,” said Eric Bertrand, chief executive officer at Mod Op.

TJ McCormick (l) and Eric Bertrand of Mod Op

For the Microsoft project, that lets them serve as a collaborator between the artists and Microsoft to help bring their visions to life on a massive digital canvas that often is a fairly new medium for some of these artists. While Robak is a digital artist, some of the artists moving forward will likely be more fine artists, painters and illustrators.

“One thing I think that we had a big role in with Tabor and anyone going forward is that the Microsoft creative guys really view the screen as not a screen and more of a digital space. Anything that goes up there, anything that these artists are creating have to have a sense of depth and space, so it’s really more of a living façade that’s kind of a digital extension of the architecture. They never want it to feel like it’s a flat screen, like you might see in Times Square. There was really meant to be more depth and volume to it,” said McCormick.

Mod Op and Microsoft eventually want to add a virtual reality [VR] component to the project when the technology improves, so that it is generative and responsive to people on the street.

A merger to expand the reach

The Microsoft project is one of many to be tackled by the newly merged Mod Op. With offices in LA, New York, Miami, Portland and Panama City, Mod Op is officially relaunching today (April 21) as a multi-purpose creative shop which integrates a deep history in branding networks with UX/UI design, social media strategy and digital campaigns. Mod Op will continue to focus on branding strategy with the addition of helping brands better connect with consumers in an increasingly multi-platform environment.

“Modus Operandi has always been a leader in digital strategy and design, but with the addition of Eyeball we now bring their leadership in branding campaigns and motion graphics to the forefront,” said Modus Operandi president, Jeff Suhy, in a press release. Suhy will remain president of the newly formed Mod Op. “As the advertising and marketing industry continues to struggle with consumer behavior evolution, we knew combining our strengths and talents with Eyeball would elevate our firm into our own category.”

Added chief creative officer and partner, Limore Shur: “Merging with Modus Operandi has helped grow our talent pool and improve the quality and variety of work we are able to offer to our clients. We collaborate closely on current and new projects, leveraging each other’s strengths to create compelling work that achieves our clients’ goals.”

The combined portfolio of clients includes NBCUniversal, Fender Musical Instruments, Ubisoft, Nike, Warner Brothers’ Lego Dimensions, Sony Pictures, TVOne and Polaroid, among others.

“We’ve got some great relationships with existing clients – Microsoft is a great example of that – I’m just hoping that those relationships continue to expand and the work continues to be as great as it’s been,” said McCormick.

Added Bertrand: “As the world has changed and become more digital it gives us a chance to use that creative and brand strategy that we’ve had for a long time and translate it into the digital world, and that’s a continuing trend that’s not going to slow down anytime soon. The opportunity for these two companies to come together with these particular skillsets allows us to accelerate that ability.”

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

All by Kyle