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Alejandro Corpus, the Genius Behind Keithcity Group, Talks About the Art of Going Viral and More

Alejandro Corpus Keithcity Group BELatina Latinx

We all know Bill Nye, right? You may know him as “the science guy” — the fantastic character who has been educating audiences on scientific issues for decades. 

He recently went viral on TikTok, where a video produced in partnership with Dr. Pepper racked up over 40 million views the first weekend of its release. 

@billnye

#ad Science RULES! And so does @Dr Pepper paying your tuition with the #IDeserveTuitionContest

♬ Sweet Tuition – Dr P & the 23

Thanks to the creative vision of Keithcity Group, the innovative firm behind the video’s production, Dr. Pepper’s latest initiative to support college students amassed virality.

Years ago, staying relevant in news stories, whether on the radio, TV, or even YouTube, was a reliable way to gain recognizability. But as we move into a new spectrum, one where the tools for the market are more accessible than ever, thinking outside of the box is a must. 

Mexican-American creative Alejandro Corpus, the founder of Keithcity Group, is well-aware of this. His day-to-day life revolves around producing viral creations, building brands, and working with Academy award-winning directors. 

Keithcity Group is a digital creative agency that specializes in effortlessly combining solutions for design needs ranging from art direction, branding, advertising, and product style. Due to its rapid and rising success, multi-million dollar companies and prominent public figures are reaching out to Keithcity with more frequency.

For instance, Issa Rae’s Audio Everywhere Company, Raedio, partnered with Community — a text-messaging marketing platform — for a live scavenger hunt activation. 

Keithcity Group planned and produced the event designed for Insecure fans. Again, the agency proved its understanding of advertising by using carefully crafted social, creative strategies. 

Keithcity Group differentiates itself by its holistic approach to building accessible, engaging, and forward-thinking, innovative strategies that set its clients apart. This allows it to position its creations for virality, which is key to building and expanding brands. 

The agency didn’t always position itself with its ability to strategize virality. If you Google them, they appear as a traditional design agency that works on traditional social media advertising campaigns.

But as you may have figured by this point, they are much more than that.

BELatina News spoke with Alejandro Corpus to learn more about his work, his drive, the inception of Keithcity, and how it continues to bloom. 

Interview highlights

On the importance of his Latino roots

I studied architecture. And the big move to come on to be an architect in New York City was very eye-opening for me. It wasn’t until I lived in New York that I realized that I had been politically whitewashed a little. So, I had to almost go back to my roots. 

Most of my family is in Mexico –  aside from my parents, who live in the Midwest, and me. As I became more of an entrepreneur, I started to really hone in on those roots of being a Latino. It was then that I decided to really partake in opening this business, this enterprise.

On going from traditional to Keithcity

I created Keithcity with Liz Yam. She was my boss and was the head of digital products at our old agency. We used to work for a gentleman named Peter Arnell, who has been quintessential since the 80s and 90s – he was the leader for Vanity Fair. In the veil of the traditional design agency world, it was Peter Arnell. I found myself constantly wanting to prove to him and telling him that there were other outlets or other opportunities or people involving the spaces we were used to – because, with most people, even with traditional agencies, if you don’t constantly evolve, you’ll become obsolete.

But then Liz and I went into making Keithcity a reality. We knew enough, but we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into and basically jumped in and just swam. At first, like anything, you just figure it out to not drown.  And that’s always been our model, and it has helped us scale and gain notoriety quicker than I think most traditional organizations. 

On challenges he has faced

Some of the difficulties are not letting my team down – this means the people involved and my business partner, Liz. I try to make sure that we keep moving forward on an upward trajectory. Overall, I want to make sure that when we’re doing things that keep people motivated, it’s exciting, which then empowers my team. There’s a lot of responsibility to make sure that whatever work they’re doing is great because, at the end of the day, the work reflects directly into how we’re doing as a business.

On empowering through Keithcity

One of the foregoing things that I wanted to do was make sure that we empowered the people being hired. I wanted to make sure that we were a diversely-led organization.

In the past years, I think there’s been a really big emphasis on minorities and how they’re portrayed in business. So, I’m happy to say that the majority of people that work for me are women and minorities, which is super important. 

On Keithcity’s company culture 

We never want to make our employees or our team feel like they are putting more than what they’re getting back. Compensation is always at the forefront. 

Many of the people we’ve hired are straight out of college. So, I tell them all the time, “I wish I was in your spot. I wish I were out of college working at a place like this because I’m not that off from your age.” They’re getting a first-hand look at what it’s like to try to operate a business and gain new clients. They’re talking directly to the client when they’re presenting their designs.  That’s something that I never had until much later in my career where, yes, I would make it work, but someone else would take credit. 

Empowering the team is essential even in our press. When we go to the media about any release, we give credit where credit is due. We say this is the designer that touched it. This is the person who executed XYZ. 

On how they stand out

If you Google us, we’re a traditional design agency working on traditional social media advertising campaigns that feels like a Web3 design studio. I think it’s going to be a really big opportunity for many legacy brands to come and work with us and be knocking on our door. 

On staying relevant among changes

Complacency is one of my biggest fears. I preach this to my team, to Liz. She hears me say it all the time. I don’t ever want to feel like we’re just coasting. I don’t ever feel we’re just on autopilot. I think we would be very happy doing traditional design agency work, but it’s that challenge we are after – of telling my team and saying, “Hey, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s okay.”

almost a year and a half of traditional media building up a traditional media arm, meaning we were doing a lot of brand strategy after creation in the traditional sense of what it meant to be a design agency.

On his view on content creation

I hate the word content. I hate the term content creator. I think it dilutes the work because everybody on social media tends to brand themselves that way. So how do you stand out? 

Think of yourself as a strategist or as a consultant. That gives you that much liquidity in your career to become more of a leader or more of the baseline of where people should try to stretch.

On how to go viral by using inspiration

So, you’re a consumer, and you have to think, “if I’m not watching it or if I’m not consuming what I’m making, why would anyone else consume it?”

It starts by looking at what your competitors are doing. Or, what is something that another company is doing well on TikTok that you could potentially look at and remix it to fit your brand? 

On using the advantages of the competitive landscape

I think ideas, for the most part, are never original. They’re just borrowed and reworked to fit a specific mold that works differently for someone else. We would never want to steal it, but I think it’s good to take inspiration from what other people are doing and audit it in a competitive landscape.

I think auditing in a competitive landscape is what we [Keithcity] do best. That’s one of the first things we do when we do an intake with a new client. We’re like, “okay, you’re a brand that will work with us. Let’s look at what everyone else is doing to analyze what you’re trying to compete directly with.”

On upcoming projects

We work kind of quietly and smartly for the surprise effect. But some of the stuff that we are working on is explicitly related to NFT and the way legacy companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other legacy brands that have been around for a long time are gearing towards NFTs and the Metaverse.  I can’t divulge on the client, but when we go to market, it’s going to shift focus on who is developing this stuff and where they come from.