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Advertising agency has gotten success to stick

Spitball, in Red Bank, soaring after landing some key accounts

Steve Bailey, left, and Anthony Torre, co-founders of Spitball Advertising, in their Red Bank studio.

Anthony Torre, a co-founder of Spitball Advertising, can recount bumping elbows with his web developer a few years ago.
It happened a lot. They had to share half of a desk.

That’s no longer the case. The company, started in 2007 by Torre (who serves as chief marketing officer) and Steve Bailey (creative director), has outgrown its 18-foot-by-18-foot, one-room office in Red Bank.

It now has $1.5 million in revenue, seven employees and two high-profile clients: Cream of Wheat and Cholula Hot Sauce.

But even after enlarging its office threefold, Spitball soon might be feeling claustrophobic again, considering the reputation it is earning with Cholula.

Cholula was No. 6 in its category when Spitball landed the hot sauce company as a client four years ago. Cholula has since grown to No. 3.

“They’ve become the fastest-growing hot sauce,” Torre said. “There’s a lot of factors that go into it, but I think that we played a pretty big role in that.”

How Spitball assisted in Cholula’s growth was playing off the brand’s existing strength: People who try the hot sauce love it.

So Spitball’s campaign involved introducing the sauce as a condiment in several Major League Baseball stadiums, paired with some cost-efficient advertisement signage behind home plate.

Spitball is now trying to leverage its success with Cholula to get more involvement with professional athletic programs — an advertising category Torre is hoping to enter.

Most of all, Torre and Bailey want their client portfolio to be diverse. Their team started doing town tourism last year, but they see more untapped categories: sneakers, alcohol — the list goes on.

The company’s future, Torre said, is riding on it.

Brett Johnson