The Escape Pod celebrates 10 year anniversary, buying a stake in experiential agency, OutCold, and forming The Escape Pod Group

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#advertisingagencyThe
Escape Pod
, an independent advertising agency in Chicago, is
celebrating 10 years in business. The agency, co-founded by ad industry
veterans Norm Bilow and Vinny Warren, has earned a reputation for bold,
attention-getting work over the years for Wheat Thins, Toy”R”Us, Can-Am
Spyder, Southeastern Grocers, EGO Power+ and KIND Snacks. Positioning
for future growth, The Escape Pod announced today that it has bought a
stake in experiential marketing agency, OutCold,
and formed The
Escape Pod Group
together with digital agency partner ORA
to provide full-service capabilities for fast-growing

“We’re incredibly proud to reach this milestone,” said Norm Bilow,
Managing Director and Co-founder of The Escape Pod. “When we founded the
agency 10 years ago, our vision was to help clients navigate the
unprecedented upheaval in the media and technology landscape. Little did
we know then how much—and how fast—the industry would change. Yet our
business has continued to thrive because no matter what, we have stayed
true to our core belief in the power of original ideas to break through
the sea of sameness that is so pervasive in advertising today. We’ve
never believed in playing it safe, and that philosophy has helped us
reenergize established brands and exponentially grow new brands like EGO
Power+,” Bilow added.

After a decade of success, The Escape Pod is expanding its full-service
offerings, buying a stake in Chicago-based independent experiential
marketing agency, OutCold
and forming a new entity, The
Escape Pod Group
. Known for creating unique, immersive brand
experiences, OutCold has created everything from pop up retail shops in
Airstreams, to beauty bars in shipping containers, and off-road truck
driving experiences. The agency serves an A-list client roster that
includes Nordstrom, Amazon, Topshop and Toyota. OutCold’s experiential
capabilities span mobile tours, event production and design,
buzz-generating stunts, guerilla marketing, product sampling and
sponsorship negotiation.

“The Escape Pod and OutCold share a passion for great storytelling.
While they are experts at conveying brand narratives through traditional
channels, OutCold specializes in telling brand stories through
authentic, in-person experiences. Joining forces with The Escape Pod is
a natural fit and an incredible opportunity to amplify our creative
firepower and add dimension and tangible excitement to the brand stories
we tell,” said Fritz Heffinger, CEO, OutCold.

The OutCold acquisition is the latest in a period of growth for The
Escape Pod, who also acquired a minority stake in digital studio ORA
Interactive last August.

Together, the three agencies have to come together to form The
Escape Pod Group
, a nimble collective of specialty agencies,
purpose-built to deliver breakthrough ideas with speed, agility and
cost-savings for clients.

“It has always been our intent to start a new kind of advertising
holding company that brought multiple companies together from different
disciplines to focus exclusively on the growth of our clients without
any politics, money grabs or siloed thinking. Through this partnership,
we are able to bring the full force of our ideas to life across every
channel. It’s a holistic model that provides creative speed and
flexibility based on our clients’ unique needs,” said Norm Bilow,
Managing Director and Co-Founder of The Escape Pod.

The strategic partnership between The Escape Pod, ORA Interactive and
OutCold is based on the agencies’ shared values, culture and vision. “We
are all entrepreneurs with a strong independent streak and a desire to
do things differently. We’re thrilled to partner with these amazing
companies who share our commitment to fresh thinking, a direct, hands-on
approach that isn’t mired in layers of process or inefficiency, and
flawless execution,” said Fritz Heffinger, CEO, OutCold.

The Escape Pod has grown from a two-person start-up to 74 people across
the three agencies that comprise The Escape Pod Group.

About The Escape Pod Group

The Escape Pod Group is a collective of specialty agencies,
purpose-built to deliver breakthrough ideas with speed, agility and
cost-savings for clients. We combine creative firepower with
full-service capabilities across creative, digital, social and
experiential marketing. Our mission: amplifying brands across all
channels to drive growth. Learn more at


The Escape Pod
Celia Jones
Brand Director