Adweek — The Beginnings of Hook

Press feat. Michael Watts, Co-founder & CEO

Becoming an agency was never Hook’s original goal. But here we are 15 years later, 100+ people strong, and being interviewed by Adweek about our founders story. Recently Hook’s Co-founder and CEO, Michael Watts, chatted with the Adweek Talent Pool team about Hook’s history and where we’re headed.

How Hook got its start

For Michael, founding Hook began as a self-taught adventure. As a teenager, he started by helping his parents run their music production company, then, when asked to create their website, taught himself the ropes. “I bought a book and figured it out myself,” he shared with Talent Pool.

After creating a handful of websites and a short stint at the University of Michigan, Michael realized he didn’t need a college degree to do what he loved most: create.

Partnering with Hook’s co-founder Aaron Schwartz, the duo created a business with no prior agency experience—but being newbies was their secret sauce. There were no rules to follow, so they made them up as they went along. To generate traction, Michael and Aaron sent emails to dozens of companies and grabbed the attention of agency giant Crispin Porter Bogusky. The team landed a partnership with Coke Zero, creating a Flash game that catapulted Hook to the top of many agencies' preferred partner lists.

Looking ahead

Fast forward through thousands of brand partnerships and campaign launches; Hook is 100+ employees strong and continues to shine as both a creative and production partner for innovative startups and FORTUNE 500 brands. Hook is making bold strides in recruiting by hiring candidates with non-traditional backgrounds and nurturing the next generation of creatives through the Sandbox and SandboxU mentorship programs. Pro bono efforts and a “people first” approach to work have created an environment where diverse perspectives are celebrated, new ideas are consistently encouraged, and there’s always room—and support—to grow. In response to the comprehensive approach to agency culture, Michael said, “Our vision is to be everyone’s favorite agency. We look at that from the standpoint of our clients, the people who work here, and the communities in which we reside and identify with.”

For more on how Hook got its start, see the full article here.