Agency 225


Agency Two Two Five

Rap Sheets - Gary Halpin  

Late in Gary’s senior year of high school in Chicago, the windy city cranked out two consecutive weekends of 65 degrees below zero (that’s below zero) in January.  That was it and he immediately made friends with his counselor, applying to any school that had sand and palm trees.  Much to the delight of his parents, Florida State University accepted him.  While he discovered there were no sandy beaches in Tallahassee, they were closer.

He also quickly discovered that hanging with students with pocket pals in the engineering school wasn’t his thing, and made the switch to the Florida State Film School. His first teacher held his office hours at the local bar -- finally, a match made in heaven.  He rapidly moved up the ranks and within a year was producing the campus television program, and it was here he met his future business and creative partner, Chris Mosera.  Although the memory is fuzzy, he’s quite sure that they met at the same bar, waiting to have a teacher-student meeting, wink wink.  Chris and Gary produced some of the most memorable productions for the fledging film school, while some of their bar meetings are also still legendary.

After graduation, Gary’s blood continued to thin so he headed even farther south, to Ft Lauderdale, where he worked as a production assistant/grip in the South Florida film world.  Again, it didn’t take him long to realize his skills were more in line with producing and writing than lugging gear around in 95 degree weather.  In 1991, he took a risk with a a startup called Blockbuster.  Perhaps you’ve heard of them? As a member of the marketing department who was helping build the video giant, his boss decided to use his film-school skills with a problem the then 800-store chain was having.  Apparently, managers were playing movies such as The Exorcist at 4 in the afternoon, much to the delight of mothers and their horrified kids in the ‘family-friendly’ store.

So it was here that he was put into the position of building Blockbuster TV, which turned out to be one of the most successful in-store networks ever in what is now a booming Digital Signage industry.  At this point, there was no DS industry, but that didn’t stop Gary from turning the network into a marketing powerhouse and becoming a pioneer in the industry.  By 1995, Blockbuster TV was playing in more than 6,000+ stores in the US as well as 1,500 internationally, which Gary also helped set up.  But most importantly, with some creative tweaks on the programming to fit the in-store environment, it was generating sales and rental lifts of a whopping 15.5% on average.  Capitalizing on this internal research as well as striking a deal to co-produce the show with Paramount Studios’ hugely popular Entertainment Tonight, it started to generate more than $6M annually in ad sales.

Gary also produced award-winning national ads for Blockbuster to promote their Entertainment Awards, helping make it the largest publicly-voted entertainment awards program in history.  These spots featured Vanessa Williams and Shannon Elizabeth, and were directed by Gary’s ole film-school buddy, Chris Mosera.  It was here, over some beers of course, that they brainstormed the idea of creating their own agency/production company, one that would be different, much different. And hence, it’s where we are today.

Gary has consulted on numerous in-store networks and currently is on the Advisory Board for the Digital Signage Association, helping develop measurement metrics as well as a consistent message within the industry.

Married with two children, he resides in the foothills of the Rockies (apparently his blood has thickened), where he enjoys golfing, economics & writing.  Accepted twice to the prestigious Maui Writer’s Retreat for screenwriting, he continues to write in his spare time and somehow found some time to earn has an MBA in Marketing.