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Success Stories

Object 9

Object 9 (Formerly Aztech Graphics)
Company headquarters: Baton Rouge, La.
Incubator: Louisiana Business & Technology Center
Entered incubator: April 1992
Graduated: June 1992
Employees: 16
Revenue: Approximately $2 million (2004)

If you’ve seen Old Milwaukee beer’s new logo, you’ve seen the work of Object 9, a Baton Rouge, La., advertising and design firm and a graduate of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center. In 2002, Pabst Brewing Co., which manages more than 45 beer brands including Old Milwaukee, tapped Object 9 to help market another of the brewing company’s brands, Pabst Blue Ribbon, to a new generation of beer drinkers.

Thanks in part to the marketing materials Object 9 created — including a Web site that allows visitors to register for access to special promotions (www.pabstblueribbon.com) — Pabst Blue Ribbon sales increased 10 percent in both 2002 and 2003. The company expected to record even greater growth in beer sales in 2004. Based on the success of this campaign, Pabst Brewing Company knew exactly who to turn to when it needed a revamped logo for its Old Milwaukee brand. Object 9 also has helped other national brands revamp their market appeal in recent years.

Object 9 co-founders Branden Lisi and Jon Cato didn’t set out to become beer marketers. The pair, along with another business partner who has since moved on to other endeavors, started Aztech Graphics, an interactive media design firm, at LBTC in 1992. The business gradually morphed from a software firm into a marketing firm as more companies entered the interactive software market and the entrepreneurs’ interests changed. Lisi and Cato renamed the company to reflect its broader focus and added two new partners, Andy Gutowski in 1999 and Lonnie Carnaggio in 2000.

LBTC’s facilities and infrastructure — particularly its professional office space, telephone/fax service and Internet access — originally attracted Lisi and Cato to the incubator. But the entrepreneurs soon came to appreciate the guidance of LBTC Executive Director Charles D’Agostino and other incubator staff even more. "When we started the business, we were just a couple of guys focused on software," Lisi says. "Being a part of the incubator gave us a glimpse of how much larger the world is and helped us see where business opportunities might exist."

Lisi and Cato particularly appreciated the business contacts the LBTC staff provided. It was these contacts that led them to the company’s first customer and set the young entrepreneurs on their path to success.

"Object 9 is now extremely plugged into the community and has clients nationwide," D’Agostino says. "And now that they’ve made it, they are giving back to LBTC and the community." Object 9 is donating $10,000 worth of marketing and creative services to LA & Co., a Baton Rouge biotechnology company that won a 2004 business plan competition sponsored by LBTC, Louisiana State University’s Ourso College of Business and the Baton Rouge Business Report.

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