Lightship Media: The small Wilton Manors creative agency with big clients

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In a city populated mostly by small businesses, which don’t do television or other advertising beyond social media or newspapers, one business in Wilton Manors helps companies think bigger.

Lightship Media, founded in 1999 by Andy Perrott, is a full-service creative agency with a client list that includes companies large and small, including Disney, The Singing Machine, R6 Cosmetics, Tri-Rail, Safety Harbor Resort and Spa in Clearwater, and New York Grilled Cheese here in Wilton Manors. And, added Perrott, more could soon be added to the list. “We are on our way with a couple big companies.”

The agency also has a host of non-profit clients, including Stonewall, Gay Men’s Chorus, and Our Fund. “I think we’re involved in all the gay non-profits in one way or another,” Perrott said.

Like the rest of Wilton Manors’ small business community, Lightship prides itself on its level of service. “We offer a certain level of customer service. We can just really take the rains and move forward. You dream it, want it, we do it,” said Denise Wissmann, who recently became a partner at Lightship.

Originally focused on multimedia, television, animation, real time video, and live events, the addition of Wissmann, said Perrott, brings a lot to the table: an enhanced capability to handle websites, social media, print, virtual reality, marketing, increased creative, and event planning. “We’re a small agency, but we deliver big ideas,” he said.

The two are particularly proud of the New York Grilled Cheese television commercials they and their team, which includes producer Louis Pedraza and social media director Andrew Low, have created.

The series of commercials features Brie Waffleton, a drag queen mother who dislikes New York Grilled Cheese at first because her son prefers their cooking to hers. But, she eventually becomes the restaurant’s biggest fan and champion. “It all came off their slogan: ‘It’s not your mother’s grilled cheese,’” Perrott said.

Leor Barak, owner of New York Grilled Cheese, is very pleased with the ads and the impact they had. “It’s not just me [who is a fan of the ads]. Our customers are big fans. They wound up following and walking through our doors. It was the right place, right time . . . You also have to push the envelope to have people remember you.”

Wissmann said she loves the opportunity to “let your inner sassy come out” with Waffleton. “Why do the norm? If you do the norm, you’re not going to cut through the noise. The character is great to work with. That’s what makes my job exciting. Being able to create on a daily basis.”

Asked, jokingly, if their creative ad agency is anything like “Mad Men,” the show about a 1960s Madison Avenue ad agency, Wissmann responds, “There might be a few moments like that. We certainly have fun.”


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