BHW1 Advertising, a pillar of the Spokane advertising industry for more than twenty years, is now AmpliFi Advertising. In a year filled with so much change, many business leaders might choose to stay in place and ride out the effects. But AmpliFi owner and founder Russ Wheat chose the exact opposite path: he embraced change, rather than shying away from it. “It’s what we do every day,” he says. “We help clients succeed in a constantly-changing marketing environment. We tell clients that disruptive events are opportunities. And we had a chance to demonstrate that for ourselves.”
When BHW1 partner Greg Birchell left to pursue other opportunities, followed by the COVID-19 shutdown…Wheat was ready. He and his team rebranded the company, changed locations, and even took on the task of renovating the space. “We went all in. We knew this was time to create something special, to shake off the dust of the past and create something entirely new.”
First was the name: AmpliFi was chosen because it represents everything Wheat wanted to capture in an advertising firm. “AmpliFi is our name, but it’s also our mission. We want to amplify our clients’ stories, amplify their reach, amplify their results. At the same time, we’re amplifying our commitment to client service and new ideas.” And the choice to spell it with a “Fi,” rather than the traditional “-fy” ending? “It’s unexpected, for one,” Creative Director, Tony Hines explains. “But it’s also a nod to WiFi. It’s a reminder that everything begins with a strong connection.”
AmpliFi’s new offices are in the Riverwalk complex at 1003 E Trent Ave, overlooking the Centennial Trail along the bank of the Spokane River. Neighbors include No-Li Brewhouse, Dry Fly Distillery and Bangkok Thai. “The location has been a breath of fresh air…though construction in the midst of a national shut-down has been no walk in the park.” The new space will host a client and vendor appreciation party…as soon as it’s safe to do so. “We’re more than ready to go, but we need to wait until it’s safe to have a gathering.”
Throughout its history, the company has received literally hundreds of awards for creativity and efficacy, ranging from Addy awards at the local, district and national levels to national design annuals. Recent accolades include work with the Spokane Domestic Violence Coalition on the “End the Violence” Campaign. BHW1 collaborated with Hamilton Studio to launch a groundbreaking documentary and campaign aimed at shedding light on the community-wide impact of domestic violence. The campaign featured an unprecedented simulcast premiere of the documentary on multiple local television stations; it has recently won a Northwest Emmy Award, and the Dussault Community Impact Award from Spokane MarCom.
This is the kind of ground-shaking work the company will continue, with a new location, a new commitment, and a new name: AmpliFi Advertising. “It’s been more than 20 years,” observes Wheat, “but I feel like it’s just a fresh new beginning. This is what we were always meant to be.”