This January Sunbutt

The short story of This January

We grew up in the world of big, holding-company-owned advertising agencies. Places with offices in most time zones. Shops where a twenty-five-person meeting was most meetings.

From the outside, there was a lot to admire about those agencies. The offices looked like you would imagine. There were grand, imposing conference rooms. There were encouraging murals on every floor.

On the inside, though, the toll of the last three decades was unmistakable. By the time we arrived, every big three or four letter agency was owned by something still bigger — something far, far away. CPAs wandered the halls with grim expressions.

Those holding-company-owned agencies were a fascinating paradox: they were enormous and always under resourced. They were obscenely expensive and forever broke. They were supposed to be shapers of culture and yet they felt fixed in amber in 1990-something.

We saw what we did not want to be.

Headquarters at 14th & S St NW

THIS JANUARY is a modern advertising agency. We were founded on a simple conviction, firmly held: an independent, senior team makes better work. At our agency, the creative partners that founded the company work on projects — not pitches.

We are firmly rooted in the modern world. That means that we shoot for :15 pre-roll as often as we write outdoor. It also requires that design lives at the very center of our work — whether it’s advertising or experiential. A visual, feed-first world demands design excellence as much as a big idea.

We are obsessed with craft. It animates us, inspires us and keeps us up at night. We’re equally fixated on delivering the highest level of execution without outsourcing every frame to a London-based VFX shop or a Hollywood director between movies. We can do more with modest budgets.

We think that excellent creative isn’t mystical or ineffable. It’s usually a combination of open-minded iteration paired with decades of practice. We have a t-shirt that sums it up. It reads: “It’s not magic. It’s the 53rd try.”

Despite our titles, we hope we’re not writers or art directors or media buyers or strategists. We aim to be problem solvers who stew in a business or brand challenge long enough — turning over a dozen possible and defensible solutions — until divergent answers emerge. We want to think, not decorate.   

Above all else: we want to make creative that earns your attention. The world is full of the bland, boring and forgettable. We’re certain that interesting has better ROI. And we want to make it together.

2024 Reel

THIS JANUARY is building the creative agency for next year. This is what we believe:

THIS JANUARY in photos

Joyce wearing new THIS JANUARY swag

It’s true that we used to have a different name. Our company was born January Third in early 2020. But after a very bad day on January 6th, we decided a rebrand was in order. The film below tells the story of our founding — and our strange, unlikely overlap with history — that led to the name THIS JANUARY.

The Story of Our Name

Things that are often, though not always, true.

We seek ambitious clients.

Our best relationships are with clients who are ambitious, interested in high-touch creative and regularly run advertising. We’ve found that these businesses are often $50 million ARR and up in size. But we’ve also had wonderful, fruitful relationships with smaller, VC-funded startups. In the case of mature businesses, after a briefing, we typically write and produce campaign work that runs over the course of a quarter or year. For foundational brand work, we will often play a roll in naming, brand story, brand identity, website and launch campaign.

Ongoing relationships lead to great work.

Our favorite work has come from longstanding relationships. The golden era of advertising wasn’t perfect but we admire a lot about the AOR structure that used to be so common. We want to be a true extension of our client’s teams, taking real ownership for business outcomes over the course of years, not projects. When we know our clients and their business deeply — and have developed trust that comes from years of collaboration — exceptional things emerge.

Great work requires some resources.

Our engagements typically start at $100,000. For a campaign that involves producing live-action footage, budgets often begin at $250,000. With that said, we’re creatively opportunistic and hungry for new challenges. If there is a chance to make something unlikely, bold or press worthy, we’re always game to talk.

THIS JANUARY is a modern creative agency building next year’s biggest brands.