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This brand changed a lot of lives including mine.

Dr. Neil Clark Warren’s vision for helping singles find healthy, enduring long term relationships by matching on broad-based compatibility fundamentally influenced how we find love in the modern age. Over a ten year period we helped eHarmony rise from a start up to become the most trusted brand in the category. By the time we parted ways, 5% of US marriages started on eHarmony. And most importantly to the founders and to me, those marriages are healthier, happier marriages, with a 50% lower divorce rate.

During that time I had the privilege of directing scores of happy eHarmony couples for the commercials we made. At first it was hard to find them because eHarmony was still so small. In the tenth year, we literally had thousands of submissions for our commercials. Many of the couples would be holding up their beautiful, laughing children. Children that were growing up in happy households with loving parents. I know that’s what Neil always wanted. It felt pretty amazing to be part of that. It also showed me the...

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When the founders of LegalZoom first spoke with me they said they needed to bring emotion to the cold business of legal documents.

They had just launched a TV campaign that helped them pass the proof-of-life threshold, but it wasn’t building an emotional connection with consumers. Brain Lee, Brian Liu, Ed Hartman, and John Suh. Four of the smartest people you will ever meet. Lawyers. Debaters. Entrepreneurs. Opinionated humans to a man. But what impressed me in our first meeting is that as smart and opinionated as they were, they listened. To each other and everyone else in the room, no matter their station. That was very on-brand for them, because what we ended up helping them see is that they were democratizing legal solutions and making them available to all people regardless of economic status or geography. And legal documents, in particular, do something that is highly emotional. They protect us. A will protects the ones we love. A patent protects an idea. A corporation protects a dream. The campaign that followed helped them take LegalZoom to the next level. 7 years...

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On any given night, roughly 50% of hotel rooms are sitting vacant. Good ones too. 4 and 5 star hotel rooms. Crazy right?

That spelled opportunity for the founders of Hotwire. Aggregate unsold hotel inventory and make it available at deep discounts. The only problem, hotels don’t want to diminish their brands by advertising 50% discounts. So Hotwire developed the first opaque model in online travel. ”When hotels have unsold rooms, they give them to Hotwire. So you get 4 star hotels. At two star prices.” That tagline served us across dozens of campaigns created for Hotwire over the course of our relationship with this wonderful brand. We helped them rise from #7 in the hotly contested online travel category to #3 over the course of ten years.

But my favorite Hotwire story was when we were developing their jingle. We were having a heck of a time. Multiple jingle houses had failed to satisfy our client. We were down to the wire. We had a jingle presentation the next day and nothing was floating our boats. So I went in with the composer and pulled an all nighter. The...

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It’s not often that you run into people that just feel like kindred spirits.

If I were smarter, able to play at the White House level, work for huge multi national companies and still have a heart of gold I would be Jeff Dunn, Todd Puttman, or Suzanne Ginestro. The CEO, President, and CMO respectively, they run Bolthouse Farms. We share a similar passion: to change the way people think about food. Bolthouse has a head start on me. They grow almost half of all the carrots consumed in North America. They are also the largest premium juice company and have a line of organic products under their 1915 brand.

I started working with them when they awarded us their wonderful brand as AOR. We helped them spiff up their already great positioning. Crispen had done wonderful work for them. It was a joy working with the Bolthouse crew. The work was very passionate. I schlepped Suzanne and Jeff down to South Los Angeles to talk with Ron Finley about food deserts. We were flanked by his incendiary sidewalk garden and he and Jeff got on like clams. I spoke at a conference with...

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There is no force more powerful than transparency to improve the quality of how we do business on planet earth.

TrueCar launched with a mission to prove that truth and transparency can be a more profitable way of doing business. Disruption is a bloody process and TrueCar was no exception. Led by its brilliant and visionary founder, Scott Painter, TrueCar caused an uproar in the automotive industry and became a lightening rod for the changing times that transparency was forcing. The truth is that transparency creates conditions where all parties in an economic transaction can thrive. But the first expression of the brand missed the mark. It was biased toward consumer, and rightfully angered dealers. I had worked with Scott over the years and when he reached out to me, the TrueCar brands was facing significant headwinds. In an unorthodox move, Scott removed his marketing team and assigned me the task of re-engineering his brand and running marketing while I was still the CEO of the agency. Owing to the incredible team at the agency, Jennifer Park, Tyler Bell, Nick...

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In 2014 the hard working and incredibly talented team at the agency received a much-deserved recognition, we won Ad Age’s National Small Agency Award for shops under 75 employees. I’d always been somewhat agnostic about awards. My mentor, William Ball, founder of the American Conservatory Theatre, took the position that when artists chase awards they often become risk averse and compromise their creative integrity. The Ad Age Award recognized the hard works (plural) of a collective. I was very proud to be honored in that context. The work they specifically acknowledged consisted of two campaigns, one was Bolthouse, the other was TrueCar. Both have been very near and dear to my heart. The award was as much recognition of these two fine companies as it was every single person at the agency.

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About

Over the last 20 years Lucas has been helping game changing companies change the world. As the CEO of Tiny Rebellion, he has presided over the advertising success of disruptive companies like eHarmony, LegalZoom, Hotwire, and TrueCar. In 2014, his agency won Ad Age’s Small Agency of the year. That same year Lucas held a joint position as CEO of the agency and CMO of TrueCar and is now full time as the Chief Brand Officer for TrueCar. He resides in Malibu with his wife of 33 years and their 18 year old daughter.

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© Copyright 2016 Lucas Donat. All rights reserved.