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Inside Charts+Darts: Driving Success with Creative and Data

Photo Courtesy: Charts+Darts
Photo Courtesy: Charts+Darts

By: Charts+Darts

The advertising agencies tread a fine line between creativity and science, effortlessly blending ingenuity, design, data, execution, and impact. Charts+Darts, a trend-setting full-service agency, epitomizes this balance. In recent years, they’ve grown an impressive portfolio of partners that includes the rising chipmaker AMD, industry leader Yokohama Tire, and premium automaker Lexus by avoiding the bureaucratic hurdles of larger agencies to focus on better client relationships and business-driving work.

But what’s fueling the dynamic nature and client impact of Charts+Darts?

At its core, it is a talented team, each member contributing a unique blend of heart, hustle, and deep experience, namely, partner Brian Lerche and Creative Director Steven Stone. Before coming together nearly a decade ago, they worked alongside giants like Nike, Harley Davidson, American Express, Kia, and Mazda, as well as emerging brands like Nixon and Skullcandy. 

In 2017, the duo joined forces at MullenLowe to lead social and digital innovations for Acura, including launching the world’s first augmented reality race for the car maker. Since leaving big holding companies behind, they’ve helped launch and establish the edgy indie shop Charts+Darts as a go-to partner for companies seeking impactful advertising solutions.

Brian Lerche is the agency’s tech and data lead. His expertise in AI, data analytics, and digital platforms not only steers the agency’s strategic course but underscores Charts+Dart’s unwavering commitment to keeping brands ahead of the technological curve. 

“We’re at an inflection point in marketing where AI can create efficiencies in workflows never seen before. That’s why we’ve developed our own work stacks, are exploring new applications, and continually improve our offerings—so our current and future clients don’t miss out,” says Lerche. 

It’s further shown by his stewardship in developing, a proprietary Charts+Darts tool that offers data transparency to drive real-time decisions.

However, tech isn’t the only piece of the puzzle that drives success for the agency and client partners. 

Steven Stone leads creative and production for the Charts+Darts team. An ex-pro snowboarder, photographer, and writer, Stone cut his teeth running big-budget photoshoots and helming the camera for brands and popular publications like Playboard and Snowboarder magazines before putting his talents to work in the agency world. He strikes a much-needed counterweight with data and science, giving the agency and clients a superpower of art and grit that impacts both performance metrics as well as the emotional side of creative work.

“Results aren’t just in the numbers. They’re in emotion and passion—the kind that drives belief. We aim to remind people of that, including our marketing partners,” mentions Stone. “We want them to feel something; data informs where we start and confirms we’re venturing in the right direction.”

“Smart, data-driven creativity is no longer something only large agencies can do; we can do it better than them,” adds Lerche.

In the past year, the agency has succeeded in melding a nimble, data-driven approach to all of Yokohama’s motorsports work. The firm’s coverage of the famous off-road race King of the Hammers and 2023’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb, a 2024 Shorty Award finalist, was the successful out of the six years they’ve worked with the tire company.  

The agency has found its stride in the dance between math and emotion. From big, Fortune 500 brands launching massive content engines to even regional players with hyper-local needs, Charts+Darts is reimagining what an indie shop can do to drive real business results for partners of all shapes and sizes.

Published by: Martin De Juan

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