POV: Strategy/Planning, Holly Aguirre

In a few words, can you tell us who you are and what your job title is?

Holly Fortune Tucker-Aguirre. President of New Honor Society Agency. Titles aside, I co-lead the agency with my creative partner of 18 years, Heidi Singleton, Chief Creative Officer.


What are you most proud of in your professional life?

That I’ve helped others realize their potential within the profession. That I’ve always had terrific, productive relationships with everyone, be they account services, creatives, CEOs or the cleaning crew. And that when there are tough problems or really challenging situations, people want me involved.


What work is New Honor Society most known for?

I’d like to say everyone knows us for our Less Sell, More Soul approach to marketing but we are young and still spreading the word. So, at this moment most people know us for humorous content about the FC2 female condom that just won gold in the London International Awards.  It’s been praised for taking an authentic, thoughtful and funny approach to a sensitive topic.  We are proud that we were able to thread the needle in terms of being raw without being offensive.


We know ‘Brands as People’ is the philosophy at New Honor Society, can you tell us a little more about that point of view?

Social media was the catalyst for brands presenting themselves as “people.” This meant that brands had to learn to express more human, engaging qualities in order to have a vital social media presence. They had to express points-of-view and principles and “give” rather than just “show” and “tell.”

This expectation is no longer confined to social media. It is pervasive to every facet of a brand, the company, the people that work at the company and behaviors outside of marketing efforts are as important as marketing messages. Just like people, if we’re all talk, trust diminishes.


What is it like running an agency in the Midwest? Does that present challenges or benefits to clients?

Our location benefits our clients greatly in terms of cost and work ethic. In fact, the majority of our clients are on the west or east coasts and some of our work is global.

We have an unexpected edge, without ego, and without the overhead costs of the coasts.


GQ Recently ran a story on Colin Kaepernick, from a Brands as People POV would brands as people apply to Colin and guide his choices in choosing brands, and from the opposite brands choosing Colin?

Colin is indeed a brand, and one with well-defined values and principles that cost him his job. He challenged the sanctity of what it means to be patriotic to make a point. Some people were offended, others supportive.  Either way it’s fair to say he moved people to choose a side or nudged them out of apathy. I imagine that there are brand owners who share Colin’s principles who are also willing to take as significant a stand and partner with him. If and when they do, they might find they lose a few customers, but also gain new ones with more loyalty than ever.


If there was one aspect of the industry you would change what would it be?

Agency compensation models. Ideally, the industry moves from paying for hours to compensating agencies for the value they bring. It would be a win-win for both.

Going into 2018, what do you think brands will seek in terms of marketing support?

“Data, data, data” has been the buzz as marketers try to take all of the risk out of marketing efforts. But they’re starting to realize how powerful having a brand purpose can be in terms of long term growth and data can’t necessarily help brands find their purpose.