There isn't much we know about Andis Company. It specializes in barbering, styling and animal grooming tools. Hatched in a basement in Racine, Wisconsin, 2022 marks its 100th year, and it remains independent and family-owned.
For this special anniversary, Andis hired San Diego agency BLVR to help reimagine the brand. The result, a creator series under the banner "Create Your Way," illuminates existing Andis users.
The Compton Cowboys lead the charge in the following four-minute video. It opens with a man on horseback, trotting down an urban street. The sight is just dissonant enough to draw you in.
"In today's society, I think there's a typical way of life," the voiceover muses. "I always like to say, we go the opposite way. We are the nonconformists because we're not trying to go to space. We're trying to go back into the earth."
The video stars Randy Savvy (who serves as voiceover most of the time), managing member of the Compton Cowboys, as well as program's supervisor Kee, and Ant Dogg, ranch manager at Richland Farms.
This is a peaceful, quiet documentary—the opposite of how life in Compton is usually depicted. A bale of hay is prepped for feeding, and smiling children are set on top of horses: images that convey, without need for words, how curative access to nature is, especially in environments where kids experience so little of it.
"We're changing the trajectory of our community just by having a ranch," Savvy says. "You just start to see kids change over time, just from their proximity to the horses and the nature space."
The Compton Cowboys first appeared for Andis in a manifesto film in August 2021. (They've also been featured in Guinness advertising.) This hyper-focus on them for Andis' creators deries was directed by Russell Brownley of Raucous Content, with music by Squeak E. Clean Studios. "Like a postmodern western come to life, the beauty of the connection between man and animal suffuses the film with visual poetry," the press release reads.
We find that to be true, and appreciate that juxtaposition: postmodern western.
Despite the peacey vibes, there's a sharp visual correction at work here. Images have always "told" us that the big epics of the Wild West revolved around heroic white guys. That's obviously not the case; Ark Republic writer Tashanta Snyder observes, "Los Angeles was founded by Africans, Afro-Mexicans and Mestizos." Richland is among the few Black-owned horse ranches in the U.S.
The Compton Cowboys, originally dubbed the Compton Jr. Posse, formed 24 years ago under Mayisha Akbar. They rely heavily on donations. But they've since cultivated dedicated alumni, and established an identity on the streets of Compton. Today's manifestation calls itself "a collective of lifelong friends on a mission to uplift their community through horseback and farming lifestyle, all the while highlighting the rich legacy of African-Americans in equine and western heritage."
Another message weaves through all this, too: Relationships to the natural world belong to everyone, and you don't have to look, or grow up, a certain way to cultivate them. "When the cavalry arrives, neighbors who are young and old come outside to the delight of mounted riders with boots and jeans, fades and fitted cowboy hats, shoulder-length locs and chest tattoos, or flowing braids and ripped jeans," Snyder writes.
Earlier in the documentary, Savvy observes, "It's so easy to draw a connection between lack of nature space and street activity." Later, building on the implications there, he adds, "We're making it cool to be in your community. Like, that's the dope thing."
"Partnering with the Compton Cowboys encapsulates all that we stand for at Andis," says VP of marketing Angie Vlasaty Peterson. "We are thrilled to highlight Randy Savvy and his crew in our first installment of our Andis Creator Series because they embody everything Andis believes in: family, creativity, community, and of course, a love for grooming. Through our partnership, we want to demonstrate how creativity and creative expression can make the world a better place and also motivate and inspire others to create their way."
The grooming bits arrive in the last half of the video. It vibes like a ranchside barber shop under the open sky, electric razors shaping fades before the horses, too, get trims.
"We try to make sure the horses match our aesthetic. It shows you care for something other than yourself, being responsible, having discipline," Savvy says. "Mirroring them and yourself back and forth in the grooming process of the animal, and you take it into your own health."
This interchange also suits Andis, whose products have historically appeared in both barber shops and on farms. The Compton Cowboys have used their products on themselves, and their animals, since high school.
"You can tell a lot about a person by how their horse is," says Savvy. "Those horses, they can take you a long way if you allow them to, if you put them in a position to do that."
"The Compton Cowboys are emblematic of everything the Andis brand strives for, they have an essence and aesthetic all their own," says BLVR creative director Austin Lane. "Our ambition is to celebrate that originality and creative spirit. Beyond that, their commitment to uplifting the community through their youth equestrian programs resonated deeply with Andis' beliefs and core values. How the impact of their work positively impacts the next generation. There was no precedent for what the Compton Cowboys are doing—they had to create their own lane."
Chief Growth Officer - Gary Stanczyk
VP, Marketing - Angie Vlasaty Peterson
Sr. Manager - Corporate Communications - Bruce Bock
Art Director & Graphic Designer - Greg Zychowicz
Executive Creative Director - Austin Lane
Art Director - Dan Harrill
Copywriter - Olivia Bono
Executive Producer: Haley Arenson
Strategist - Maggie Special / Cat Van Ryckeghem / Cara Rodgers
Account Leads- Erica Hernandez / Mapuana Andrade
Production Company: Raucous Content
Director - Russell Brownley
Executive Producer - Steve Wi
Director of Photography - Dustin Miller
Line Producer - Christopher Zimmer
Post Production: Cut & Run
Executive Producer - Amburr Farls
Editor - Ben McCambridge
Assistant Editor - Lauren Jansen
Color Correction: Jogger Studios LA
Colorist - Adolfo Martinelli
Head of Production - Diana Cheng
Music and Audio House: Squeak E Clean
Executive Creative Producer - Michael Gross
Producer - Katarina Gleicher
Executive Creative Director - Rob Barbato
Creative Director - Mathew Compton
Composer - Mathew Compton
Composer - Justin Hori
Sound Design and Final Mix - Drew Fischer
Finishing & VFX: Jogger Studios LA
Creative Director - Andy Brown
Lead Flame Artist - Jan Cilliers
Still Photographer: Chris Straley
Additional Video Footage:
Director - Kevin Bloger
Director of Photography - Sean Bagley