Anna Cheshire-Levitan may be best known for her role as former Editor of Scene Magazine, Executive Editor, Fashion Editor-at-Large for Niche Media LLC, or for her tireless work as one of Boston’s most effective and beloved philanthropists, raising awareness and millions for the Boston Ballet, Friends of the Public Garden and Joslin Diabetes Center. Now Anna adds another title to her long line of impressive accomplishments, Founder and President of 5th Street East Production & Launch. A digital driven agency, 5th Street East is gaining recognition for its timely brand strategy, digital marketing and creative.
By Suzy Marden — Photographed by Hunter Levitan
Anna’s concept was to create a user-friendly, idea-driven agency, accessible to all business by providing a handpicked team of award-winning creatives to listen to a client’s story and deliver compelling brand strategy and messaging to compete in today’s digital economy. Anna’s vision is reinventing the way we think of advertising and branding, making it transparent, accessible, and inviting clients into play. The new branding architect with capability to tell a client’s story, 5th Street East delivers multi-tier presentations with recommendations that allow a client to realize growth and gain market share without being encumbered by the enormous fees and size of a traditional advertising agency.
Anna has a knack for moving obstacles and telling important stories, (not just stories important to her, but your stories). She is among the 1% that never hesitates to get involved, rally, create community, educate, raise awareness and impact the world around her in important ways. Now with 5th Street East, Anna has developed a platform where she can put her winning track record and intuitive expertise to your brand.
This is a woman who is ceaseless in redefining herself and with a gift for moving mountains, Anna Cheshire-Levitan has that enviable quality of being the center of attention in any room she enters, yet curiously she would not take the time to notice, because she’s too busy trying to listen to you.
Suzy: There’s probably nothing you would not hesitate to do if you believed in it – Where does your fearless nature come from?
Anna: When I was a little girl, my maternal grandmother used to whisper Go out and see the world, Anna and my mom’s favorite saying is Dare to be different. My dad’s pretty fearless, too. He’s the artist in the family so his passion for design often leads him down unchartered territory. You have to be fearless to be an artist! I’d say I am fearless thanks to my family…I also try to surround myself with fearless friends. It’s more fun that way.
Suzy: Is 5th Street East Production & Launch open to all clients, regardless of budget, or are you looking for a specific client niche?
Anna: 5th Street East is open to ANYONE with a passionate story to tell. Our clients span the spectrum from billion dollar companies to start-ups. Save the world, create super cool products for yoga, blog, or even paint, our client’s mission becomes our mission. We begin each creative session with a question: How can we help a client propel their unique message into the market, visually, digitally, and with integrity? And then we get to work.
Suzy: If you could say one thing to a potential client that would help them understand the power of branding what would you want them to know?
Anna: People have a basic desire to connect to something more powerful than their moment. Allow your brand to be that powerful “moment.” Every brand has a story. Believe in your story and be inspired to share it.
Suzy: Your extensive creative background has helped you understand the need for high quality, accessible production to companies. Would your company consider non-profit, public service accounts?
Anna: We are absolutely dedicated to helping make the world a better place. Last year we branded and created the Public Service Announcements for TextLess Live More, a national awareness campaign to end texting and driving in honor of my daughter Merritt Levitan who lost her life to a distracted driver. The PSAs have reached ¼ of a million people. This week we completed a digital project for a West Coast-based nonprofit acknowledged by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Clinton Global Initiative for work with children in Africa and India. That digital message will be used to promote a TED TALK.
Suzy: Can you provide a small example of a business that 5th Street East has provided solutions for growth?
Anna: Take a look at SaraCornell.com. Sara is the author of Life After Married, a fantastic blog and brand. We completed Life After Married’s rebrand from logo to website to digital messages to social media campaign. In one month, Life After Married increased its fan base by 1,400%. Crazy numbers and they keep growing!
Suzy: Can you explain how online advertising has evolved and how it is different from traditional advertising agencies? What are the advantages/disadvantages if any?
Anna: Traditional advertising agencies usually have to outsource capabilities. Lot’s of overhead with lots of mouths to feed. It’s rare that a true production company lives within the walls of a large ad agency and can deliver all aspects of a brand in today’s digital world: Design, Digital, and Strategy. The beauty of 5th Street East is that we bring creative and digital talents to today’s virtual table and can deliver the goods. One stop shopping, good for the client’s bottom line, and that’s a definite advantage for our clients, no matter the size.