What’s Their Gig?
On a foreboding block at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel in Manhattan lies World Domination Design Group. Two signs on the doors to their headquarters read: "Create" and "Destroy." Upon first impression, however, the brother and sister team that run WDDG don’t seem all that bent on conquering the world. Instead, they offer up a tray of biscotti.
So why the menacing name? "It was just a complete joke," says James Baker, President/Executive Creative Director. "For a long time I just called it WDDG and never told anybody what it meant."
Baker describes WDDG as an interactive advertising agency with a passion for games. "We specialize in all things Internet-centric," he says, sipping his can of Mountain Dew. "I was going to draw comic books for a living and I was a computer nerd, and then the Web came along, which was perfect timing for me."
Timing is everything. Baker was one of the first people who worked with Flash online; he started freelancing by building Web sites for fun. "I kind of misrepresented myself as a company," he grins. Then he got a call to work on the launch of the Cinnamon Altoids’ Webvsite. Calls from the NFL and Warner Brothers soon followed. He and two buddies soon started WDDG.
"We grew during the boom, then rode the crash down," he says. His two partners left. Eventually, the phone started rinnging again. He brought on his sister Courtney, who had an advertising background, and the two of them built the business back up.
The Cool Factor
For Wrigley’s, WDDG created Candystand.com, an immensely popular gaming site. There are dozens of free arcade games, sports games, puzzles, and then there’s Line Golfer, in which visitors create and draw their own course. Since the game launched in January, over 24,000 courses have been created. It gets played between 50,000-75,000 times a day.
But, lest you think that this entire operation is nothing but fun and games, there’s some savvy advertising going on here as well. For instance, the shop’s online campaign for the new Marc Jacobs fragrance for women, Daisy. WDDG’s solution to marketing a fragrance online (which presents some unique olfactory difficulties) is pretty inspired. When visitors enter the site, they can create their own daisy, with a unique personality, which can also communicate with other daisies through "daisymail." This community of flowers currently boasts over 100,000 members in the field.
The Geek Factor
So, WDDG’s weapons of mass destruction are…Dell PCs? Yep, they’ve got 27 Dell workstations. "We warn everyone when they interview here," Baker says, laughing. "The dirty little secret is that Flash runs 5 times faster on a PC than on a Mac."
On the way out Courtney points out WDDG’s shelves of awards: Clios, Webbys, and ANDYs. James has something that he’s much more proud of. Lining one wall of WDDG’s headquarters are 128 vintage video game systems: Pong, Atari, Nintendo- all in their original boxes. If WDDG ever does decide to take over the world, they’ve got the control panels to accomplish it.