Written In Partnership With Dmitri Sharov
From lessons on creativity to stoicism in the face of hardship to adaptability & flexibility, understanding where one’s predecessors succeeded and failed is crucial to one’s own success. Creative entrepreneur Dylan Trussell’s story is one that anyone looking to make a name for themselves can learn from.
Ten years ago, up-and-coming film director Dylan Trussell landed a dream job in charge of production for a leading Hollywood marketing company. For him and his partner, David Dinetz, this dream job turned into a nightmare when it came to an abrupt end after just six months, leaving the duo with no savings and no prospects. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the friends wasted no time turning the apparent loss into a win. Why waste time on making content they would have never watched themselves? Trussell decided to take his talents into his own hands by founding creative agency, Culprit Creative.
Fueled by renewed enthusiasm and resolve, Trussell did his first several ads for cool streetwear brands entirely for free just so, as he puts it, “to prove the model.” When one of these initial projects went viral, garnering millions of views over just a few days, at last Trussell had his calling card. Sending the resulting press to bigger potential clients, the days of free work for ‘exposure’ were over. He moved from small-scale projects to more meaningful endeavors with a mind towards “making ads that would make my friends laugh.” True to Culprit Creative’s mission:’ “Saving the World from Boredom”, he vowed to never again make something he wouldn’t want to watch himself and focused solely on brands prepared to take risks. Trussell warns others in similar fields to “watch out for time-wasters.”
Culprit Creative managed to fast transition from small to bigger fish after making headlines thanks to their viral videos. The biggest billboard in North America for Beats by Dre, a global Starbucks campaign, and the launch video for Instagram Stories are among the major milestones in Culprits’ ascent to the ad industry’s hall of fame, along with inclusion in the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30. The pinnacle of their creation was a Mercedes Superbowl commercial.
While they enjoyed their commercial prosperity, Trussell and Dinetz valued their creative freedom even more and made a pact to never compromise their creativity for the sake of a brand. After frustrations working with a well-known fashion brand, Trussell decided to invest his talents and time in a brand of his own. Alas, Culprit Underwear was born.
With a unique combination of insanely soft & breathable fabric mixed with wildly outlandish and hilarious prints, Culprit Underwear has become America’s fastest growing underwear brand. Leveraging the skills they learned while ascending to the top of the marketing industry, Trussell and Dinetz put their know-how to use and created multiple viral video’s of their own like their launch ad featuring a woman mercilessly torching her man’s underwear with a flamethrower. Following the success of Culprit Underwear’s men’s boxers line — thanks in part to the clever marketing campaigns — Trussell and Dinetz created a new business opportunity in an uncanny market segment – women’s boxers. Last year, LadyBoxers was launched marking the brand’s expansion into the women’s underwear market. LadyBoxers are similar in spirit and branding to their Men’s counterpart, but without the fly and extra room in the front for the you-know-what.
Continuing to push the boundaries of creativity, Trussell is spearheading a new project called Exorians alongside Dinetz. The two have partnered with Ethernal Labs and top comic book writers to create a new narrative universe featuring 12,000 unique characters. The storylines for these characters will play out across the comics, a television series, as well as a video game. The video game dimension to the Exorians project is unique because fans will be able to purchase these characters as NFTs and play as them in the video game. We expect Exorians to disrupt multiple creative markets upon its drop.
Nothing seems to deter Trussell and the “Culprits”, as his transformational skills always help him stay ahead of trends and adapt, demonstrating the modern-day art of survival in a rapidly changing world.
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