About

Forty-five-plus years ago, when Gary and Pete started what is now Alchemy, they were mixing it up on the streets of LA – promoting musicians and artists by putting up posters around the city. They were first on the wildposting scene and fought every step of the way to become the leader in urban street media.

Today, with paper, paste, and cutting-edge tech integration, we turn blank walls into advertising gold for the world’s hottest brands. Alchemy is the only fully integrated urban street media provider that allows you to choose how, when, and where you want to advertise; nationwide and globally. Whether you’re looking for the reach and frequency of Traditional wildposting, highly-targeted large-format Dedicated signs or interactive experiential, all with mobile integration, our dynamic team of Alchemists can customize media buys that fit your needs and budget.

THE ALCHEMISTS

Mike Freedman

CEO

Who knew this Harvard grad would stake his career in the streets? Mike’s headed up multiple outdoor media companies and elevated each to market giant status. It seems everything he touches turns to gold – Alchemy is no different.

Gary Shafner

Cofounder

Gary didn’t just start the company – he started the modern wildposting movement. His love for music and art drove him into the promotions business and, for over forty years, he’s been going to lengths to make a name for our clients.

Pete Zackery

Cofounder

Originally Pete wanted to be a lawyer. Then this happened. But his analytical nature and legal savvy has proved valuable over the years. Together with Gary, he helped take Alchemy from a homegrown promotions company to the industry leader it is today.

Chris Zorigian

COO

Chris went from intern to COO in thirteen years and his hard work paid off big time. He helped lay the foundation that led to offices opening in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, and he’s the brain behind the systems and processes we still follow to this day.

Greta Gallas

CFO

Having previously worked with Mike, Greta was at the top of his CFO list. She has extensive accounting experience in the out-of-home business – especially in fashion, entertainment and lifestyle media. Given the scope of Alchemy clients, she was the perfect fit.

Bob Jansen

National Sales Manager, LA

Stunts, sponsorships, wallscapes – whatever medium you need to advertise, Bob can make it happen. With more than 20 years of out-of-home media sales experience, Bob leads an Alchemy team that brought in more than $500 million in revenue over the last ten years.

Brad Tenem

National Sales Manager, NY

Brad has put in ten years at Alchemy – going from National Sales Rep to National Sales Manager. With a career highlighted by massive re-branding campaigns for big names like Pepsi and Gatorade, Brad has shown he always goes big and probably never goes home.

Jim Taggart

VP of Real Estate

Jim got his start in urban advertising 45 years ago as a bill poster in the subways of New York. He worked his way up to executive positions at major industry players before landing at Alchemy. Jim’s been around the block and back – and can tell you the best spots to advertise.

A Brief History of Wildposting

The world’s first advertising medium has rightly earned the name wildposting. Its history goes back to the days of the traveling circus and Wild West shows, when crews would ride ahead posting flyers announcing the coming entertainment.

Cut to the 70’s – just when the medium was thought to be dead, it found its way back onto the streets of LA. Every night, under the glow of streetlights, competing crews would battle (literally) for prime ad space to promote the local artists and entertainers. It might not have been legal at the time, but it worked. It was innovative, in your face, and it transformed advertising.

Wildposting commands attention in the street, at eye level – and when done the way Alchemy does it, it’s fully entitled. Today, wildposting is a preferred medium for global ad agencies and media companies pushing consumer products and fashion, beverage, auto brands, and more.

The Alchemy of Alchemy

1969

Alchemy is born in 1969 at the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood, CA. Gary Shafner works a summer job passing out half-price student tickets on college campuses and asks his childhood friend Pete Zackery to help.

Pete and Gary expand by promoting local LA events such as The Boat Show, auto shows, and LA Convention Center shows – distributing posters and flyers, placing cards in store windows, and tacking ads on telephone polls.

Needing a name for their new business, they walk into a print shop called Creative Printing and walk out with business cards that read Creative Distributors (“CD”).

After completing a successful promotion for the Tony Award Winning Musical Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, CD gets a meeting at Warner Bros. Pictures, and walks out with a deal to promote Woodstock: The Movie, which would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

CD opens a pop-up store on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood to sell Woodstock posters, hats, and t shirts.

Gary gets a job with Bill Graham Presents, the rock concert promotion company out of San Francisco, CA. He uses the opportunity to infiltrate the world of record distribution, while also working with Pete on growing local LA accounts such as The Greek Theatre, The Universal Amphitheatre, and The Irvine Meadows.

1970-74

Creative Distributors breaks into the record label business with a contract from A&M Records.

Gary goes on tour with Bob Dylan in 1974 and is hired as his road manager. Meanwhile, Pete runs the growing promotions business and CD goes national via Shafner’s contacts with local promoters. By blanketing tour stops with posters a week prior to each show, CD quickly becomes the music industry’s source for using outdoor media to support tours.

1976

As the medium increases in popularity within the music industry, and catches the attention of the modern Hollywood film industry, the demand for inventory explodes and Creative Distributors starts wildposting in Los Angeles.

1977

CD lands its first major motion picture campaign with none other than the famed Star Wars.

1982

With major movies (Star Wars and Ghostbusters) and iconic musicians (Michael Jackson, Linda Ronstadt, REO Speedwagon, and Neil Young) under their belt, Pete and Gary decide to change the company name to National Promotions and Advertising (“NPA”).

1983

Pete and Gary realize they could increase business if they printed the posters, so they purchase a silk screen press and later a lithography machine to meet the demand.

MID-LATE 80'S

With the explosion of hip-hop in pop culture, wildposting became part of the city landscape, and labels such as Death Row Records, Priority Records, and Rap-A-Lot Records, engage NPA to promote their artists.

1989

Wildposting becomes more popular. Needing additional inventory in LA, NPA begins to rent walls and fences.

1990-94

Competition, in New York particularly, gets fierce. In LA, Gary leads NPA posting crews to cover up graffiti around NPA’s wildposting sites. Gary’s mission to present wildposting as beneficial to the community is widely accepted by groups ranging from local law enforcement to neighborhood street gangs.

NPA buys its first color press.

1995

Prior to 1995, wildposting services were almost exclusively sold to entertainment and media companies, but a number of advertising agencies became interested in the medium on behalf of their clients.

1997

A “poster war” ensues in New York to the point where walls are being covered by competition, and re-covered by NPA on a nightly basis. After a lengthy legal battle, the judge divides the city amongst the competing companies, granting permission to post, but only in defined and distinct areas.

1999

Pete and Gary see the potential strength and success of one national company with operations and sales hubs in LA and NY, so they merge with competing companies. NPA becomes the lone force in the wildposting business – taking ownership of all the national markets and 1/3 of the NYC market and establishing offices in LA, NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco.

2001-05

NPA creates a public/private partnership in LA. For the first time, wildposting goes up on a construction barricade on the corner of La Brea Ave. and Adams Blvd. as part of the pilot program.

NPA starts to clean graffiti off the barricades and sign agreements with construction companies to post on scaffolds. Despite initial fears, local vandalism is kept in check as the graffiti perpetrators respond to the ads and mostly leave the construction sites and barricades alone.

NPA’s wildposting becomes a more popular medium for mainstream brands in the technology, automobile, fashion, and food and beverage categories. Major companies such as Apple, GM, Nike, Scion, and Vans, sign up for business. In what is still considered today as the industry’s landmark campaign, NPA, OMG and Apple launch the highly successful Apple Ipod campaigns across the country.

LATE 2005

NPA moves into a new office space in West Los Angeles.

NPA executes its first 3D program with Nissan Maxima’s “Feel the Burn” ad campaign. It was the beginnings of what is now deemed the Experiential industry.

2007

The City of LA passed the Graffiti Abatement Ordinance, legalizing wildposting on barricades and creating what is now a major medium in LA.

2010

As wildposting falls into a legal grey area, NY and SF crack down on the legitimacy of the medium.

2014

Gary and Pete bring on Mike Freedman, a friend and former CEO of Fuel Outdoor, as Partner and CEO.

NPA begins to execute an aggressive growth strategy centering on gathering fully-entitled urban street level media in its various markets, integrating that media with mobile technologies, and expanding NPA’s reach internationally to go after a larger share of global buys.

2015

NPA implements its mobile technology strategy and becomes the first urban street level media company to use NFC and beacon technologies.

NPA partners with its doppelganger in London to expand inventory and add international coverage to its services.

2016

Heading towards its 50th anniversary year, NPA rebrands and continues on as the wildposting industry leader under its new moniker, ALCHEMY.