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Local ad agency launches with Google as first client

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Charles Hodges, center, and the Arts & Letters team in front of their Scott’s Addition space. (Arts & Letters)

RICHMOND, Va. — A collection of VCU Brandcenter alums and two Martin Agency vets have come together to start a new Richmond-based ad agency, with one of the world’s tech giants signed on as its initial client.

Arts & Letters Creative Co. launched last week, led by founder and 2009 Brandcenter grad Charles Hodges, who previously worked at the Google Creative Lab in New York between stints at TBWA and Wieden+Kennedy, reported 

The 17-person agency has set up in Scott’s Addition, where it is leasing an 8,000-square-foot space at 1805 Highpoint Ave., which its previous occupant, software design and development firm INM United, vacated when it was acquired by PR firm Padilla.

Joining Hodges at Arts & Letters are a number of fellow Wieden+Kennedy vets, including Rich Weinstein and Letitia Jacobs, most recently executives with The Martin Agency. Rounding out the leadership team is Katie Hoak, who worked with Hodges and Weinstein at Wieden+Kennedy in New York, and Ian Fairbrother and Andy Grayson, who were at Wieden+Kennedy’s Portland office.

The agency’s staff includes 10 Brandcenter grads, with Hodges, Fairbrother and Grayson among them. Hodges, 33, said he selected Richmond due in large part to the school that produced much of his staff.

“We owe a lot to that place,” Hodges said Wednesday. “It has a rich tradition of creating world-class thinkers and problem solvers, and that had a lot to do with our decision to start it in Richmond.”

Hodges said Arts & Letters will take an approach to advertising and communications that he likens to prototyping approaches used at tech companies.

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