When Andy Nathan found himself in a rut in his life and job, he met with his leadership coach who said during their meeting, “Fortune favors the brave.” The next day, Andy wrote his business plan for what became Fortnight Collective—a full-service ad agency that will celebrate its five-year anniversary this November.
They work with both local and international brands like VRBO, Peet’s Coffee, Health-Ade Kombucha and Snooze. What differentiates Fortnight Collective is speed. They pride themselves on being a brand marketing accelerator, with methods like the brand hack process or brand spring process.
“What normally takes agencies to do in weeks, if not more likely months, we do in days or at the longest—two weeks,” Andy says. “It’s a very collaborative process with our clients, and they love being a part of it.”
For example, Fortnight began a brand sprint with Pure Elizabeth in June to develop a new marketing campaign. Over three weeks, they moved from brand strategy to creative development to creative refinement to production.
Andy, who has been in the advertising industry for 27 years, had a light bulb moment when a brand reached out after talking to almost 18 agencies with no success. They gave a two-week deadline for a pitch.
“That was a real lightbulb moment in my head which was—forced deadlines do make you better,” he says. “When you are locked in, and you have the right people and you are focused, you’re not distracted, and you sort of attack a problem. You’re fearless… You trust your instincts. You don’t over-pontificate and overthink.”
Another reason he wanted to pursue this idea was that sometimes brands were told no by big agencies if they didn’t meet a certain financial threshold.
“For me, who never wants to let people down, it always broke my heart,” he says. “The clients that probably need it the most are the ones who don’t get really good, sound marketing advice. Part of what this process does is it sort of right-sizes engagements so that if you’re a relatively smaller client, we can find a way to work with you.”
A challenge of this work, according to Andy, is having to be on performance consistently. Or as he expressed—there is no luxury of tomorrow.
“The reality is when you’re doing a three-day sprint or a two-week hack—there are no down days,” he says. “You have to be on, and you’ve gotta be focused. I’ve always had stressors in jobs throughout my life. I sort of half-joke, I coach my kids in lacrosse, and youth sports stresses me out. My job doesn’t stress me out. I love every minute of it. I just think it’s magic.”
Andy was nominated “most generous” in his high school yearbook, which connects to his passions today working in advertising.
“I like helping people,” he says. “I like collaborating with people, and that same concept extends to brands. I find it very interesting going from frozen pizza to beer to skiing. in some ways what I love about it is I’m just learning about all these different concepts in life.”
He continues: “I love the creativity of it, that you literally start with a kernel of a thought or a challenge or something objective and then three days later, or two weeks later, there’s this huge team of people that have come together to create this blank canvas of a brand, if you’re inventing a brand, or in the case of a brand that needs to reinvent themselves, you’re really finding different diagnostics to really tweak them and make them very different than they were.”
Ultimately, Andy fully embraces the pace of their process.
“I’m a big believer that whether you're a person or a brand, if you want to be the best version of yourself—why would you take your time? Why wouldn’t you do it as quickly as possible?” he says. “That’s a part of what we feel strongly about: brands and people should be in constant motion. When I work with clients, I get better. I learn things. We feed off each other’s energy.”
At Fortnight Collective, we live by our mantras to help motivate us and guide our thinking. Here’s what we believe are helpful tips for students getting into advertising.
Fortune favors the brave. Jump into the deep end of your job search. Be fearless. Straddle that line between arrogant and confident. Make people want to buy what you are selling.
Do interesting things, and interesting things will happen to you. Andy’s former boss used to say this, and we love it. Stepping away from work (or your job search) at times will help you become more marketable. Throw yourself in the deep end of the world. Seek to travel, lean into art, music and culture. Wander, explore and drink deeply of life.
The way we do anything is the way we do everything. Every detail matters. Every typo, every delayed response. Roll up your sleeves. And take pride in every interaction you have no matter how big or small.
Action conquers fear. Don’t let urgent get in the way of what’s important. It is easy to procrastinate or push things off. Everything is a fire drill. Prioritize, execute and be resilient.
Keep Moving. Whether a person or a brand, nothing good happens when you are stagnant. Seek to be in perpetual motion, improving and evolving every day.
Better Hustle. This is Fortnight Collective’s rallying cry. We believe in business serendipity. Everything happens for a reason. What’s your better version of hustle? Seize the moment. Bring a unique POV on the world. Ask interesting questions.
Bring your brand. People are hiring well beyond a skill set. They are hiring for attitude, personality, resilience, etc. Let your best self shine. There are lots of candidates to choose from. What makes you stand out from the rest? Your first assignment is to form the foundation of your personal brand.
The rest is up to you. Every moment led to this. You put in the work. You’ve invested in your personal development and education. Trust your gut and go out there confidently and tackle whatever comes your way. You got this.
Oh, and one more thing…make sure to thank your parents for everything.