GERTRUDE the agency comes to light

After running a thriving ad agency in stealth mode for nearly five years, founder Otis Gibson felt it was time to introduce GERTRUDE to the community.

Why the silence, not even a public murmur in all these years? “We’ve been busy,” he says, “and it was important that the company had a stable foundation before we talked about ourselves.”

GERTRUDE is headquartered in Chicago, with operational offices in New York and London and a total staff of 37, headed by Gibson, the agency’s chief creative officer and art director by trade.

GERTRUDE mostly works on a per project basis for such youth-oriented products such as Coca-Cola’s Fuze beverages and Fox sports and TV shows.

Some of those projects have been a recent Telly-winning viral video for Lava Light; a print assignment for Predicta TV, a Wisconsin-based maker of vintage TV sets; a brand overhaul of a Dr. Fresh oral hygiene product, and the relaunch of a classic brand for ACI, an international shoe conglomerate, both headquartered in California.

A project-in-progress is for a hush-hush new Fox TV reality show.

Why Gibson chose the name GERTRUDE for his business is “a long story,” he sighs, and one he promises to share one of these days. However, “the idea was to create a strong, nurturing name, a name you can trust, and I think GERTRUDE does that.”

The name Gertrude may evoke a loving, cookie-baking grandmother, but the agency’s speciality resides at the opposite end of the age spectrum: Creative communication specifically targeted to the highly coveted, young adult, 18-34-year old demographics.

“I have always focused on youth marketing my entire professional life. I didn’t open the agency to do that, I opened an agency doing what I know how to do,” Gibson states.

Reflecting those youthful demographics is GERTRUDE’S staff Of the Chicago staff of 15, of which only four are non-creatives. Five recent and new copy and art hires came directly from the Chicago Portfolio School.

The non-creatives with more advertising mileage are a managing director, en route from another agency, account executive Kate Paker, new business development Joe Cardosa and communications manager Marya fletcher.