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Liz Eswein

@NewYorkCity, Executive Director of Cycle Media

AT A TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING AGENCY, the kind portrayed in Mad Menpeople have distinct roles. Account folks work with clients; media buys airtime; creatives build campaigns. And talent — whether actresses, athletes or social media stars — aren’t brought in until the end. Until production. This really bothered 26-year-old Liz Eswein (Instagram’s @NewYorkCity).

“That system is totally antiquated,” Eswein explains. “Because so many of today’s celebrities are influencers — influencers are content creators. And they know their audiences better than anyone else, so, why wouldn’t they participate in strategy?”

Eswein’s issue is that advertising agencies and talent agencies remain separate. So, while an ad agency may hire talent to star in a commercial or post a product on their page, they don’t offer control over content. (Ex: post this purse with this hashtag.) To tear down these walls, Eswein partnered with Jason Stein, founder of Laundry Service, to build the world’s first advertising-meets-talent media network: Cycle. They manage 1,500 social personalities for a combined 300M followers.

Cycle is a media company for the social age

Liz Eswein - @NewYorkCity, Executive Director of Cycle Media

MOST LARGE AGENCIES work with influencers, but not in a way that’s efficient. They don’t even think about talent until a campaign’s strategy is defined.

“But young people today are so inundated with ads that we’ve become hypersensitive to inorganic content,” Eswein says. “We can tell when someone posts something they didn’t create — it usually feels inauthentic to their individual brand.”

Eswein believes bringing talent in to collaborate during the creative process results in better content.

“Take someone like Ryan Sheckler, a skateboarder with more than 1.7M followers,” she explains. “He’s extremely influential, and agencies want to work with him all the time. But who could have better insight into Ryan’s audience than Ryan himself? He can help create content that doesn’t feel overly produced and is attainable to his audience.”

Bringing Scheckler in earlier, while strategy is still being determined, is good for the community, the talent and the brand.

The Issue: Ad Agencies Don't Bring In Talent

But who could have better insight into Ryan's audience than Ryan himself?”
Liz Eswein - @NewYorkCity, Executive Director of Cycle Media
Young people today are so inundated with ads that we've become hypersensitive to inorganic content.”

An early adopter of Instagram, Eswein joined the photo posting platform within weeks of launch. (That’s how she snagged @NewYorkCity.) And when she realized how much paid content didn’t jibe with her, it dawned to do something differently.

“Cycle is a one stop shop for creative and talent,” she continues. “We’re a global media network that represents more than 1,500 photographers and influencers… but that also designs, produces and implements content on behalf of brands.”

So, when clients like Nike and LG ask for a proposal, the first thing Cycle does is brainstorm who on their roster is the best fit.

“The process is incredibly streamlined,” Eswein adds. “Because the same people responsible for posting the content are also starring in and creating it. It’s a business that’s never existed before — definitely not on such a large scale.”

The Solution: Merge Talent Agencies And Ad Agencies

We're a global media network that represents more than 1,500 photographers and influencers... but that also designs, produces and implements content on behalf of brands.”

Cycle’s talent community has a combined 300M followers, offering brands more than 4B content views per month. But the best thing? Their disruptive approach also gives brands more bang for their buck.

“Our network is global,” she explains. “So, when a traditional agency would charge their client to send an entire crew to shoot a commercial in Taiwan, we already have creators and influencers on the ground.”

In fact, Cycle estimates they can film 10 international campaigns for the price of an agency’s one.

“But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that our content is beautiful,” Eswein concludes. “If it isn’t, no one will care. I, however, inherently trust our talent. Their ability to create good content is the reason they gained traction in the first place.”

Visit Cycle or Eswein’s Instagram feed for some seriously stunning, totally organic content.

IN CONCLUSION: Content is king


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