Is success in the eye of the beholder? How some define it runs the gamut but amassing 300 awards honoring your work and a feature in The New York Times is a decent start. Recently adding 13 Hermes Creative Awards to their long list of achievements, Lynn Blumenfeld and Jill Fleming are celebrating 15 years with their eponymous integrated marketing firm in Montauk. Having escaped the confines of Madison Avenue to bring their Manhattan business mindset to the beach, the partners and founders of Blumenfeld + Fleming discuss the evolution of their boutique agency and themselves.
Having grown up in Vancouver, Fleming was drawn to Montauk for its surf culture and it was the closest she could get to a west coast lifestyle. For Blumenfeld, the move came out of a connection she felt with friends she had made in the summer, and a simple desire to see the stars at night, something New York City can’t offer. But business was always on the brain, and they each learned to fit in and help define the local landscape.
The initial challenge was demonstrating to these local businesses that working with an agency could help them. The women were often met with rebuttals like “I already tried advertising and it didn’t work” followed by “I wrote the ad myself.” Blumenfeld and Fleming had a cheeky response… “Uh huh, do you cut your own hair?” They began doing inexpensive ad campaigns to get their work out there. These became the case studies that won them 14 Best of Long Island awards and a resulting article in The New York Times in 2004. This is when they knew they had something real.
Fleming started as a junior art director and worked her way up in her field in Manhattan before going out on her own in marketing and public relations, starting fresh as many of her clients did. “When we started out almost no East End businesses had websites,” says Fleming who serves as the creative director for Blumenfeld + Fleming’s website services. “Now creating websites is 40 to 50 percent of our business.”
Blumenfeld, who began as a junior copywriter and is now also a creative director, continues, “The marketing skills we learned at Ogilvy and Mather and Young and Rubicam and working directly with clients as varied as American Express, Kraft, Jaguar, Clairol, and AT&T helped us become creatively strategic. We solve marketing problems with creative intelligence.”
The pair tailor their work to various Hamptons, Long Island, and New York City clients, including big name brands like Hamptons outposts of Audi, and Porsche and local nonprofits, restaurants, insurance agencies, contractors, and everything in between. Blumenfeld and Fleming note that clients like Jay Decker of BMW Southampton, Adam Miller of Adam Miller Group, and Michael Derrig of Landscape Details are experts in their fields, just as the women are experts in theirs. Imaginative and strategic thinking allow them to achieve their clients’ marketing goals whether it be increasing sales, offering a fresh take on their image, or launching a brand.
Services include print and broad advertising, web design and development, graphic design, local public relations, social media consulting, marketing consulting and brand strategy, and digital advertising. They have filled many of these roles together, writing ads, art directing, and developing taglines. A commercial Blumenfeld wrote is part of the permanent collection at MoMA and one of Fleming’s television spots made it on air during the Super Bowl. Their recent Hermes accolades included awards for websites, newspaper and magazine ads, public relations, videos, and logos.
“We discuss and debate all of the work and we have graphic designers here and in New York City who help us do award-winning work,” Blumenfeld and Fleming say. “Generally, as a rule, the best ads need both the headline and the visual to tell the whole story. That’s how our skill sets complement each other.”
For more information on blumenfeld + fleming, visit bplusf.com.