brains + heart = redpepper

  • Written by Julie Turner

Six-time going on seven-time CreateAthoners redpepper are an ad agency by day and an invention lab by night. With offices in Nashville and Atlanta, this place absolutely rocks with creativity. Want proof? Check out Qreo and Beeri  But behind those big brains is also a lot of heart. But we’ll let them tell you about that.

At redpepper, we’ve participated in CreateAthon for the last six years. Over that time, it has become one of our favorite times of the year and has been a bonding experience for our team that reaches far beyond any kind of “team-building” retreat.

There’s something about spending more than 24 hours with people that breaks through the socially acceptable mask most people wear at work and reveals people’s most vulnerable sides. Yeah, that no-sleep thing wears you down and things get “real” really quick.

That’s part of the beauty of CreateAthon. We see the good, the bad and the ugly – and still accept and appreciate each other.

Oh yeah, we start off the day bright-eyed and full of optimism. Who wouldn’t? We’ve selected non-profit clients who are more than deserving of a little help. Who wouldn’t get pumped up about helping people who are out there everyday on the front lines helping some of the neediest in our community?

And we have an opportunity to help those worthy non-profits by doing what we do best, by doing what we love. How often do we have that chance?

But it’s that opportunity to give our best that often leads to frustration around midnight when we realize we’re halfway through our allotted time but not nearly halfway done with the work. That’s when frustration – and sometimes outright panic – sets in. Often, some of us, especially the first-timers, will reach a point where they think we’re on Mission Impossible. But we never give up.

That’s when we come together to support each other. We push through the pain to create something to serve the greater good. And then, there’s the flurry of preparation in the last hour or so to finish our work, do mock-ups and get ready for our non-profit client presentations. It’s those client presentations that remind us that the last 24-hours of craziness is more than worth it.

There’s nothing like seeing someone’s eyes well up with tears when they watch a video that tells the story of the non-profit they’ve founded, or read a brochure that shares the stories of people who are grateful for the help they’ve received from that organization. Those non-profits are so used to giving their all, giving everything to the community they serve that they’re not used to receiving. They’re not used to getting anything back in return.

And seeing how our small contribution to their cause can make such a big difference for them and those that they serve reminds us all that there is power in working together and using our talents for the greater good. It reminds us that our work is meaningful, and shows us how much we care – about the quality of our work, about giving back to our community, about helping others. Most of all, it shows us how much we care about each other. And that’s what builds the best teams. That’s why CreateAthon is not only valuable to the non-profit community, but to our own company culture. Because we care.

We at the CreateAthon mothership Riggs Partners could not be more delighted to work all night alongside so many kind and creative peeps like those at redpepper. Maybe next year you can, too. Get the deets at