New Philly Startup Second Rodeo Is the Answer to Every Local Biz’s Advertising Rut

Next month, the company will launch an online marketplace for creative ad campaigns on demand. Small business owners can save time and money; creatives can finally get their ideas out into the world.

Screenshot Second Rodeo website. Courtesy photo.

It’s no secret that small business owners are juggling a lot. On any given day, they’re tackling a long list of duties from managing finances and overseeing employees to addressing customer needs and resolving whatever tech and legal issues arise.

And to top it all off, if small business owners want to reach more customers and grow their brand, they have to create compelling marketing and advertising campaigns, too. That’s where Second Rodeo comes in. The founders behind the new Philly startup are closing in on this major pain point for local SMBs. Next month they’ll launch an online marketplace where business owners can shop for creative, customizable ad campaigns on demand.

A Series of Ahas

Second Rodeo co-founders John Young (L) and Rich Caserta (R). Courtesy photos.

Second Rodeo co-founder John Young had his first aha moment for the startup when he’d drive around Philadelphia and see local ads that were completely lacking and uninspiring.

“The creative I’d see on billboards would be cluttered — too many messages crammed into one piece of communication,” he told me. And he noticed the same lack of focus in digital banner ads and print ads. “It’s a common challenge facing lots of businesses because they simply don’t have the budget or time to invest in creative,” he said.

Young’s second aha moment came when he realized just how much money SMBs spend on local media advertising. In 2015, SMBs spent $50.4 billion dollars on local advertising — about a third of all local media advertising spent that year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Local Buyers Guide. In 2019, they’re expected spend $59.6 billion on local media advertising. Comparatively, national advertisers will spend $59.7 billion in 2019, up from $50.5 billion 2015. Total local media advertising will hit $163.4 billion next year.

The media spending by SMBs means that, “For every Budweiser or Coca-Cola billboard you see, there’s one for a local company and often times they’re mom and pop,” Young says. While these local operations spend so much money on media they don’t have the resources to make this advertising count with creative investments.

Young interviewed media sales reps across various categories who have reported that after they’d sell an advertising package of TV, radio or outdoor, clients would then go about creating an advertising campaign. “Because these businesses are strapped for money time and creative expertise, they typically just try to fill space with their ads. Their creative ends up looking like an afterthought,” Young explained.

Creative Advertisers Get Another Chance

Courtesy photo.

While a major part of Second Rodeo’s mission is to help businesses access creative ad campaigns that they typically wouldn’t be able to access otherwise, the startup’s mission is much bigger than that. Second Rodeo’s also wants to give creative professionals a major boost.

Young spent 15 years in Comcast’s marketing and communications division, where he bolstered the corporation’s customer engagement marketing efforts and developed a team to promote the XFINITY brand on digital and mobile platforms.

“Because Comcast has great resources at its disposal, I got to work with some of the smartest creative agencies in the country,” Young said. Working with this talent pool firsthand allowed Young to see the difference a strong creative team makes on a campaign.

“I got to appreciate what a true craftsman can do to your advertising,” he said.

And Young’s Comcast tenure also allowed him to see just how much creative never even sees the light of day. Creative teams develop campaigns that never get presented or that clients don’t buy. Second Rodeo sees an opportunity to help the creative community monetize this stranded, unused intellectual property.

“When we talk to creatives about this they say, ‘You mean my idea, the one I fell in love with, can actually get out there?” said Young.

The platform’s mission is also already proving to be a motivator for the creative community.

“Often times, creatives lose control in the design process. By the time something gets to a client, it’s usually a watered down version of the creative’s original intent.”
Second Rodeo can give these advertisers room to control the final creative direction of their campaigns.

The Launch

Customizable Black Friday auto ad campaign. Courtesy photos.

After nine months of building out the alpha phase of Second Rodeo, the bootstrapped team of three co-founders is eyeing an April launch. Young co-founded the startup with Madison Avenue veteran Rich Caserta and wants to keep the team’s third co-founder unnamed.

Next month they’ll start with a focus on the auto dealer industry. This means that local auto dealerships will be able to shop Second Rodeo’s marketplace for on-demand ad campaigns that can be customized.

They’ll see existing ad templates across a variety of static media, including print, outdoor, and banner ads. They’ll also be able to shop by objective, seasonality and message, with ads in categories like “summer sale,” “back to school,” or “Black Friday.”

After shopping, auto dealers will walk away with a final customized ad that they can license for a 13-week media cycle. Second Rodeo is opting for a revenue share model, where business owners will distribute profits to the startup. Second Rodeo will split the profits evenly with the creative who developed the campaign.

In time, the startup says businesses in any industry will be able to use the platform to find campaigns. And they’ll eventually move into customizable video and even radio ads, too.

The Many Implications of a Second Rodeo

Second Rodeo logo.

Second Rodeo fits neatly into the rapidly growing business services marketplace. “Businesses expect to have good quality do-it-yourself options nowadays,” Young said, with platforms like Squarespace, Go Daddy, Wix, Legal Zoom and Zip Recruiter.

They have this expectation because “Business owners are experienced at running their businesses, and advertising isn’t necessarily their first rodeo,” said Young. And it shouldn’t have to be. They should be able to focus on their car dealership or furniture store. “We can help them handle advertising in a cost-effective way,” Young said.

Second Rodeo also implies that all those unearthed ideas have a second shot at making it out into the world. And this will require the creative community to overcome its behavioral inertia.

“They have to dig into their vault of campaign concepts and surface them. This is really new for them,” Young said. “But what gets us excited is opening up a new line of communication between business owners and creative talent.”