Prior to Moon Rabbit’s first interview with MM+M for the Agency 100, managing partner, accounts John Tenaglia found himself on what appears to have been a slightly depressing Q&A session for one of the RFPs recently sent his way.

“We like to ask, ‘Is this a mission-oriented pitch or is it a granular one?’” he says. “When it’s granular, it always breaks my heart a little bit. We’re always like, ‘You can figure out the 65 tactics, we’ll find something else.’”

That combination of enthusiasm and ambition has served Moon Rabbit well in recent years. The company grew in most ways that matter during 2020, with healthcare revenue shooting up 90% (from $7.1 million to $13.5 million) and staff size nearly doubling (32 people at the start of 2020 and 58 at the end of it, with the sum “creeping up in the 70s” by mid-April, Tenaglia reports). Amid the year’s craziness, Moon Rabbit filled a host of important roles, including group creative director (BBH vet Joakim Saul); director, global strategy (Steve Walls, previously “disruption master” at TBWA); and head of digital strategies (Kielley Young, from Razorfish and Warner Music Group).

Moon Rabbit

The client story speaks to Moon Rabbit’s willingness to take on all comers … well, so long as they aren’t boring. Included in the 2020 growth was an expansion of the agency’s relationship with Roche via a global promotional AOR engagement around its personalized healthcare offering. The firm also works with Bristol Myers Squibb, Alcon and Allergan.

But Tenaglia seems equally enthused about the opportunity to work on Tarsus’ TP-03, a pipeline product designed to treat Demodex blepharitis. “It’s a product that gets rid of these mites that live on eyelashes and eyelids,” he explains. “You give us a disgusting little creature, we can absolutely come up with some interesting ways to get attention around it.”

That’s a long way of saying that Moon Rabbit is thrilled to accommodate big clients, small clients and everyone in between. “Personally, I’ve enjoyed the younger, scrappier types of companies who are getting their first or second product out into the world. Companies who need help punching above their weight tend to be pretty courageous,” Tenaglia continues. “But it’s also fun to go to a campus the size of Queens and hear about this incredible work that will change so many lives and eat in the many cafés.”

Indeed, Moon Rabbit’s ethos and approach have little in common with those of larger firms, network-owned or otherwise. “We sometimes look at ourselves as those happy and talented misfits who have found the right place to be. It’s basically: Come as you are, be yourself and we’ll do great work together,” Tenaglia says.

The question, then, becomes how much the agency will have to alter the way it goes about its business as it continues to grow. That’s a notion Tenaglia has clearly spent more than a few minutes pondering.

“We’re not for everyone,” he says. “Seriously, there are a million agencies out there, and I encourage everybody to find the one that’s right for them. But the people and clients who come and like us, they stick around.”

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The idea I wish I had…

The AA’s 2020 summer ad. While the world’s brands were telling us they were “there for us during these unprecedented times,” a vehicle breakdown service took it upon itself to give us a dose of what we really needed. The ad captured one simple thing: the joy of freedom. There was no argument or somber piano track, just a feeling — a dose of pure joy injected into living rooms at a time when it was needed. It provided a reminder of what we love about driving, not of the dire straits that we were in. — John Tenaglia