Recent missions include engagements within companies like Meta, Google, and Amazon, and projects for clients like Johnson & Johnson, Stellantis, Owens Corning, Travelocity, The UPS Store, OTC Markets Group, and CueHealth.

Modus Operandi

Special Ops offers project based, mission-specific, end-to-end creative product — from strategic insight to finished production — executed by a super-elite team of highly experienced and decorated creative leaders, including two agency founders; a swashbuckling strategist; a revered business/marketing director; and an Oscar-nominated movie director. Each a master of their respective craft – each directly responsible for some of the best and most effective advertising ever produced. 

By stripping away everything that adds nothing to the creative process, our clients get to work directly and exclusively with some of the best and most accomplished minds in the business. No juniors. No peripheral services. No dizzying overheads. No fancy offices. No catered lunches. 

Rules of Engagement

We have zero interest in becoming an agency, behaving like an agency, or billing like an agency.   

Our relationships with our clients are strictly the working kind. Brief. Intense. Finite. 

“Project based, mission specific” means exactly that: We swoop in, we honor the parameters of the assignment, we kill it, and we get the hell out. No collateral damage. No one hurt. No one left behind. 

Due to the extraordinary degree of focus that our model demands and our clients expect, we never embark upon more than two concurrently active assignments.

All missions, outputs, outcomes, related data, and client identities both personal and corporate are assumed strictly confidential unless otherwise agreed.

Joint Command

Nick Cohen

Creative Direction

After striking gold with a bunch of fancy industry prizes in London, Nick moved to New York, did several major creative director stints at celebrated agencies like TBWA/Chiat and Ogilvy before launching notorious creative shop Mad Dogs & Englishmen. 15 years later he was kidnapped by Wieden + Kennedy to launch their China office. More recently Nick has spent time at Facebook and other tech joints all over the Bay Area. His mind is as playful as it’s fast. His lack of hair reveals a major brain for creating all kinds of provocative, exciting ideas. Don’t be fooled by his long silences and delayed speech.

Graham Turner

Creative Direction

Graham was a precocious rising star in London when he was snatched up and imported to New York by TBWA. Before he unpacked, he did a pitch for an obscure Swedish vodka called Absolut. He won it with the campaign that would become a cultural icon and the longest running, most prolific idea in advertising history. Graham has since deployed his creative weaponry for agencies like Chiat/Day and Ogilvy, branding firm Siegel and Gale, and pioneering integrated shop BrandBuzz, for clients that range from American Express to Z-100. 

More recently, Graham has worked as a consultant for  entities in health-care, the stock market, state government, and cannabis. He is also an advisor to a small number of start-up ventures. A thoughtful sort of chap, Graham is humble and self-effacing. And he possesses a preternatural intuition that is positively unnerving.

Jane Goodman


Jane came to NYC from Alabama with a nickel in her pocket and one pair of decent shoes. Over the next 20ish years she managed to work her way up and down Madison Avenue more than a couple of times, accumulating a much better shoe collection along the way. She spent her formative years at TBWA/Chiat/Day and then worked for nearly every shop you can think of as long as the brand was a good one (Samsung, Jeep, KFC, Bombay Sapphire) or the assignment a tough one (Liberty Mutual Insurance, Verizon, Tylenol). When not operating as C.S.O., many of Jane’s more recent years have been spent as an independent operator. She’s a market research innovator and she won’t let a client spend money on focus groups without a really good fight. (She knows much better ways to learn.)  Other than that, she’s generally quite agreeable, piercingly insightful, and armed with the loudest laugh in the business.

Beth Waxman-Arteta

Business Lead

If it’s really hard, hasn’t been done, or can’t be done, Beth is either asked to do it, is already doing it, or has already done it. She is revered for her deft business leadership of strategic and creative teams that have innovated for some of the world’s biggest companies, like Microsoft, Intel, Ford, Volvo, Macy’s and Walmart. We don’t know anyone who can dig-in deeper, carry it further, and lift it higher than Beth. Named an Advertising Age Women to Watch, Beth is deceptively low-key, refreshingly direct, and frighteningly incisive.

Gary “Gazz” McKendry


Originally from Ballyclare, Northern Ireland, Gary came to New York via London and Sydney. Obviously a much better art director than navigator, Gary worked for Chiat/Day and later, Ogilvy. Eventually dropping “art” from his title, he has since directed award winning spots for clients including Porsche, Ikea, Heineken, Nasdaq and Budweiser. Adding “Screenwriter” to his title, Gary directed and co-wrote the screenplay for “Everything in This Country Must”, which then earned him the additional title “Academy Award Nominee”.  For his follow up feature, he directed and co-wrote the 1980s themed action thriller, “Killer Elite”, starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert De Niro. His latest film, “As If There Were Trees”, is currently screening on the festival circuit. Gary also  carries the title  ”occasional guest lecturer” at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and “super-nice guy” wherever he goes. But no matter how many honors or titles he’s given, the only one he answers to is “Gazz”.

Neilan Tyree

Head of Development

As one of the few people to have done so, Neilan has devoted his entire professional career (35+ years) to matching great clients with some of the best creative agencies in the country/world – to the tune of over $7 billion in campaign initiatives. Over his years with the world’s best bosses and co-workers, he’s crafted a very solid best-in-class suite of processes and tools that he continues to enjoy leading on behalf of today’s best marketers, especially as part of the power team at Special Ops. 

While the identities and reputations of the Special Ops leaders are certainly no secret, the identities of the specialist reinforcements we may call into service are never revealed. Industry luminaries who occasionally stop by to hang-out and pitch-in remain forever anonymous.


The hand-over of ideas from agency to director/production company is an awkward leap of faith that doesn’t always land well.  And it is one of the key reasons why a film and commercials director is integral to our model and core to our entire creative process. With a director’s hand and eye in everything we conceive, there are no differing visions, agendas, or production estimates. No missed opportunities or misinterpretations. No dropped balls. No messy stains. 

Instead, just a better, more fully considered creative product; better, more seamless executions; and faster, more efficient productions. All holistically conceived to work within budget — without sacrifice. 

Establishing Contact

If you have a marketing communications problem you’d like to talk to us about, or you want to know more about how we operate, fill-out the form below or contact Beth directly at

Whatever your problem, we’d be delighted to overkill it for you. 

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