Advertising

Ad agency NDP rebrands as Two Tango

The Two Tango team in the former NDP headquarters space in Scott’s Addition. (Jonathan Spiers photos)

Following a second change in ownership since the company’s namesakes handed over the reins two years ago, a longtime Richmond ad agency is marking its next chapter with a new name and new creative lead.

NDP, formerly Neathawk, Dubuque and Packett, has rebranded as Two Tango Collaborative.

The name change is meant to emphasize the human-to-human collaboration between the nearly 40-year-old firm and its clients (a la “It takes two to tango”), and comes about 18 months into the tenure of its latest owner, Kalyan Pathuri, who acquired NDP in March 2022.

Pathuri, based in Fairfax, owns M&M Media Solutions, a media buying firm based in Sacramento, California, and until March was president of Futuris Co., a Rockville, Maryland-based executive search and staffing firm, according to a LinkedIn page.

Pathuri acquired NDP from Madhavi Doki, a McLean-based entrepreneur and investor who bought NDP in October 2021.

Agency president Amy Baril, who was named CEO a month before the sale to Pathuri, did not say what prompted the sale but described the relationship with Pathuri as “fantastic.”

“We have all of the control of what we do and we collaborate with him, and it’s perfect,” said Baril, who succeeds previous CEO Brent Morris.

Joining Baril at the agency’s helm is new executive creative director, Erin Sarro, who joined NDP in April after working freelance with the agency on campaigns for Richmond Region Tourism and Virginia ABC.

Sarro had previously spent over a decade freelancing locally and said she was ready to align herself with an agency when Baril made her an offer to be ECD, a role last filled at NDP by Jimmy Ashworth.

“Probably about five minutes after I met her, I said that’s who needs to lead the agency with me,” Baril said of Sarro.

TwoTango2

Erin Sarro, left, and CEO Amy Baril outside Two Tango’s offices. Sarro joined the firm as executive creative director in April.

“The chemistry was there,” Sarro added. “I’ve worked with a lot of agencies in 10 years, I’ve had a lot of diverse experiences seeing how every agency is different in how they run and they interact, and this was different. There’s a chemistry and I think a lot of people feel that when they walk in the door here. It’s just a different vibe.”

To better reflect that vibe, Sarro was tasked with leading the rebrand, which she said resulted from an extensive naming exercise that led to Two Tango.

“It was inspired by this very deep human connection between people who are in an actual tango dance,” Sarro said. “If you’ve ever watched or experienced it, it’s very intense and very deep, that relationship between the dancers and also between the dancers and the audience.”

That same thought process was applied to the decision to add the “collaborative” tag.

“We looked at the foundations of this company – our culture, how we worked with others, how we collaborate with each other – and we made this very strategic decision to call ourselves a collaborative, not an agency,” Sarro said. “We’re working with clients to solve big business challenges. We’re collaborating with them to do that.”

The rebrand coincides with the release of new work for client Virginia DMV. Called “You speed, you lose,” the video game-themed campaign launches today and includes a 30-second TV spot, billboard ads, and social media and website banner ads.

“Speed” :30 DMV from NDP.AGENCY on Vimeo.

Other clients now on Two Tango’s roster include Virginia Lottery, Chesapeake Bank, Virginia State Police, Wounded Warrior Project, Virginia Broadcast Solutions, MCV Foundation and Bliley’s Funeral Homes.

Two Tango’s staff count stands at 25. Rounding out its leadership team are vice presidents Taylor Miles and Wendy Wyne, media director Tammy Harris and account service VP Leigh Nance, who Baril recruited last year from the since-shuttered Yebo, formerly Barber Martin Agency.

Baril wouldn’t share the firm’s revenue numbers of late but said it is on track for a “record-breaking” year. The company reported $22 million in gross revenue in 2020.

Two Tango is headquartered in NDP’s previous space at 2912 W. Leigh St. in Scott’s Addition. It shares the building with commercial real estate brokerage JLL.

The rebrand marks the end of the NDP name, created as an an acronym for Neathawk, Dubuque and Roanoke-based Packett Group, which the agency acquired in 2004. The firm was founded in 1984 by Roger Neathawk, Susan Dubuque and Charles Miller.

Neathawk retired in 2021, while Dubuque remains involved with the firm as a strategist. The firm will celebrate its 40th year in business in 2024, making it one of the longest-running ad firms in Richmond.

Baril, who has been with the company for seven years, described the rebrand after four decades as a “mid-life awakening” for the firm.

“If you think of humans, of where they are in their 40s, you start to really step back and say, ‘What do I want to do now? What’s the next great opportunity?’” she said. “We really do feel like we’re ready to have a mid-life awakening and kind of flip the industry on its eight-pound head.”