Six college graduates are redefining the advertising space
By Caden Sullivan
This year’s college graduates entered the workforce during one of the most challenging times in history. Across the country, employers are rejecting and laying off new hires, leaving recent graduates with few options. Some of these students, however, are viewing this as an opportunity to create their own work.
Among the student businesses popping up right now is NinetyEight, a marketing agency founded by six graduates from Loyola Marymount University. Bryant Lin, Celine Chai, Eduardo Rafael Pablin, Fran Magsalin, Gia Lee and Sammy Lent were encouraged by professors Andy Rohm, Eric Johnson and Matt Stefl to form their own agency rather than seek jobs at one.
“Most of us had an inkling that we wanted to work in the advertising space, but that meant going into a traditional agency,” Chai says. “But when COVID hit, none of them were hiring and we still really wanted to be in this space, so we kind of created it on our own.”
The name NinetyEight comes from the year that the founding members were born: 1998. They just launched in June, but they’ve already seen success in digital marketing with several companies. Not even a year in, NinetyEight has collaborated and worked with companies like KAA Design Group, Hardy Capital Investments and HUZZAH! “Fresh out of college, pitching to a CEO—that was huge for us,” Lee says.
NinetyEight markets to Generation Z, so they know their market very well. They’ve also partnered with organizations, built campaigns for public service and included numerous social issues in their work. Currently, they’re working on Hygiene U Give (H.U.G.), a campaign they created to help tackle the injustice around the distribution of feminine hygiene products.
“Gen Z just cares,” Lent shares. “They care about what companies are doing and they care about their impact on the world. Everything we do, we keep that in mind. We’re always thinking about our impact on the community and that carries over into who we work with.”
Marketing to a younger audience is never simple, but NinetyEight cuts out all of the generational differences seen in other agencies. Because of their age, situation and values, NinetyEight prides themselves on working faster, creating better content and costing less than their competition.
Whether they’re posting themed playlists to their Instagram or pulling all-nighters for pitch meetings, NinetyEight is constantly thinking up new ways to market and reach an audience. They’ve also worked with local companies in Culver City and Playa Vista, so be sure to keep an eye out for these rising stars.
For more information, visit ninetyeightla.com.