Alchemy, founded in 1969, is an out-of-home media company that specializes in the strategic placement of posters, hand-painted murals, and traffic-stopping experiential. With our exclusive network of entitled real-estate locations, advertisers can tap into top markets across the world. Alchemy will also customize campaigns to hit advertisers’ target demographics and budgets, while fast-tracking street campaigns to meet tight deadlines. In fact, we move product from contract to the streets faster than any other non-digital outdoor-advertising company.
Our senior management has more than 250 years of collective experience in the out-of-home media industry. This yields a depth of insight other companies simply cannot provide.
Who knew this Harvard grad would become so street savvy? Previously, Mike was CEO of Fuel Outdoor Holdings (from its inception to its sale to Van Wagner Communications) and a founder at Pacific Media, Japan’s largest out-of-home media company.
Gary didn’t just create Alchemy, he jump-started the modern wildposting movement. His love of music and art inspired him to move into the promotions business. For more than 40 years, he’s innovated new experiences in the street-level media space.
Pete wanted to be a lawyer, but Gary convinced him to go into business with him. Pete has since pioneered developments in wildposting law and legislation, transforming Alchemy from a homegrown company into the industry leader it is today.
Chris is an out-of-home expert who’s worked at Alchemy all his professional career. As Alchemy’s business grew, he opened offices in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, while nurturing a number of other markets across the country.
Brad has worked on large street-advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies such as Pepsi and Gatorade for their rebranding efforts. Before Alchemy, he worked in sales at Massivemedia, an out-of-home and events-marketing company.
Jim began his 50-plus year background in advertising as a bill poster. He’s been a Senior VP of Operations at Fuel Outdoor and a Senior Executive VP at Gannett Outdoor, where he oversaw advertising for the New York City subway franchise.
Chris is a CFO’s CFO. He's held that position at a number of public and private companies such as Higher One Holdings, Inc., a publicly traded provider of technology-based refund disbursement, Acxiom Corporation, and Catalina Marketing Corporation.
Alchemy has pioneered wildposting and out-of-home advertising since 1969. We've done campaigns for Springsteen, 'Star Wars,' the original Apple iPod, and more.
Gary Shafner recruits childhood friend Pete Zackery to help him with his summer job: passing-out discounted tickets for Hollywood’s Ivar Theatre. The duo goes on to promote everything from convention-center shows to the legendary musical 'Hair' and the Oscar-winning 'Woodstock: The Movie.' They hand out flyers, stick them in store windows, place them on car windshields, and tack them onto telephone poles. They name their business Creative Distributors and land accounts with the Greek Theatre and Universal Amphitheatre, as Gary takes a job with Bill Graham, the famed rock-concert promoter out of San Francisco.
Creative Distributors breaks into the record-label business through a contract with A&M Records. In 1974, Gary becomes a road manager for a musician, so Pete runs the business, which is now national thanks to Shafner’s contacts with local promoters. The company becomes the industry’s out-of-home favorite, blanketing tour stops with posters a week prior to an act's performance in that city.
The company’s increased popularity in the music world grabs the attention of the film industry. As demand grows, Creative Distributors begins wild posting around Los Angeles. They are the first to use glue to affix posters onto walls.
Creative Distributors lands its first major motion-picture campaign, for 20th Century Fox’s seminal blockbuster 'Star Wars.'
With several major movie ('Ghostbusters,' 'Airplane!,' 'Raging Bull') and music (Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac) campaigns under their belts, Pete and Gary change the company name to National Promotions and Advertising, better known as NPA. This better represents the company’s growing cross-country reach.
Pete and Gary realize they can expand their business by also printing the posters they distribute. To meet demand, they purchase a silk-screen press and later, a lithograph machine.
With the explosion of hip hop, wildposting becomes part of city landscapes. Labels such as Death Row Records, Priority Records, and Rap-a-Lot Records recruit NPA to promote their artists first in L.A. and, after ticket sales surge, nationally.
NPA’s wildposting business explodes, and the company expands with it. This not only broadens NPA's inventory, but transforms the guerilla operation into a legal business, making NPA the first “legitimate” wildposting company.
NPA buys its first color press for added efficiency and ramps up its community efforts. In L.A., Gary leads NPA’s posting crews in efforts to clean up graffiti on public property around the company’s wildposting sites. Local law enforcement—and even neighborhood gangs—applaud these efforts.
Although entertainment and media companies are NPA’s predominant wildposting clientele, ad agencies begin to approach NPA to get in on the action after seeing its measurable impact on campaigns.
A wildposting turf war intensifies in New York City, between NPA and local outfits trying to get into the game. After a lengthy legal battle, a judge awards NPA an official territory, thus giving the company firm footing in the city.
Pete and Gary see growth potential in breaking bread with the competition. They merge NPA with a competing company in NYC. NPA then expands, establishing a consistent presence in major markets from Coast to Coast, with offices in L.A., NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Mainstream brands in the tech (Sony), auto (GM), fashion/lifestyle (Nike), and food/beverage (Anheuser-Busch) industries turn to NPA for out-of-home advertising. In a landmark move, NPA works with Apple and its ad agency on the legendary national campaign that debuted the iPod.
NPA executes its first experiential activations for Nissan Maxima’s 'Feel the Burn' campaign. Locations in NYC and L.A. feature a seemingly burned-out barricade—complete with faux-charred props around it, including meters and telephone poles—that reveals the new Nissan Maxima behind it.
After a successful public-private partnership with the City of Los Angeles, the latter officially passes the Graffiti Abatement Ordinance, which is supported by NPA. It legalizes wildposting on barricades around construction sites and vacant lots (with cooperation from property owners), expanding NPA’s street-media business in L.A.
Gary and Pete bring on Mike Freedman, a friend and former CEO of Fuel Outdoor, as Partner and CEO. An updated strategy focuses on forging deals for fully entitled street-level locations in dominant markets and integrating advertising media with mobile technology.
NPA partners with its counterpart in London to expand inventory and add European coverage to its services.
NPA overhauls its look, rebranding to Alchemy Media. The concept of alchemy nods to how the company has single-handedly transformed the wildposting space over the years—adding sound, texture, and visual features to street-level, out-of-home experiences.
Now 50 years old and still going strong, Alchemy has assets in 29 markets across the country and continues to be the largest street-level media company in the United States.