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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Code and Theory

Finalist in Large Agency


Design is at the root of everything we do here at Code and Theory.

Whether we're creating a campaign or building a digital experience—everything we design is thoughtful, intuitive, and in service of our clients' business goals.

In fact, the social-first campaigns we've designed have helped Burger King win back millennials, made Maybelline New York one of the most talked-about brands during New York Fashion Week, and turned Dr Pepper fans into higher-value consumers.

We were founded in 2001 in New York City by two forward-thinking designers, and have grown to over 300 people in four offices across the globe. Within our synchronized ecosystem of disciplines—including Brand Design, Product Design, and Industrial Design—we help clients innovate and recalibrate in a digital-first world.

For 13 years, we've pushed the boundaries of what a creative agency can be. We are craftsmen, storytellers, builders, doers and makers in every sense of the word. In fact, over 30% of our staff are engineers, so we don't just think it, we build it.

We don't think in terms of "digital" or "social." We think in terms of experiences across platforms. To us, the idea is everything and we only ever want to be limited by our own creativity.

In the last few years, we've been recognized as one of the "World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Design" by Fast Company, an "Agency to Watch" by Advertising Age, and one of the "10 Best Agencies in New York City" by

Strategy and Execution

– We believe that the idea is everything: When Burger King challenged us to help them re-connect with millennials, we unearthed an idea from a data-point that came straight from its social feeds: their fans badly missed a product that was taken off the menu nearly two years prior: Chicken Fries. Our social-first campaign to announce their return ignited an Internet frenzy, got more millennials in the door, and helped sales jump in the U.S. and Canada by the biggest amount in two years.

We help set a new standard for how brands tell stories: When Maybelline New York asked us to launch its new NUDES Palette product in digital, we turned to 13 beauty vloggers to help inspire women everywhere to "Dare to Go Nude." The video-first campaign racked up more than 9 million views in the first month.

We are relentless in discovering how a target audience thinks, feels and behaves: After studying activity on the new inspiration-focused social network WeHeartIt, we learned that teen girls often used images of branded products to establish their identity (e.g., a Starbucks coffee cup, a pair of Converse shoes, etc.). In early 2014, we saw a massive uptick of Maybelline-related activity on WeHeartIt – hundreds of users were creating, "hearting" and re-posting images of Maybelline products everyday. So we convinced the brand to join, and hatched a content strategy that would make it easier than ever for WeHeartIt users to use Maybelline images to express who they are, and what they love. Today, the brand has more than 85K followers.

We put creativity at the center of every challenge: When Maybelline was looking for a big idea that would help them become a credible, year-round authority on fashion and beauty, we turned to our deep roots in publishing. We created CITY, a monthly digital fashion & beauty magazine from Maybelline's point of view. In addition to the content we produce in-house, we partner with media brands like Refinery29 and StyleHaul, who bring their own unique voice to the CITY brand. We "atomize" every piece of content and recirculate it through all of Maybelline's social platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr. Today, CITY has become the master brand voice for Maybelline and has helped transform the way they communicate with customers year-round.

Our design innovations have helped brands and organizations better facilitate social sharing: When the LA Times challenged Code and Theory to redesign its digital experience to better engage readers, one of the questions we asked ourselves was: How can we encourage readers to share more content on social? Our solution was "sharelines," or 3 ready-to-share lines at the top of each story. These simple summary tidbits, which are perfectly crafted for social, significantly reduce the social sharing barrier for many readers. It's just one of the digital design innovations that has made LA Times more widely read than at any time in its 133-year history.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Code and Theory


Entry Credits