A New Chapter

Seventeen years ago, I witnessed a shift in the industry and saw a need for a resource that didn't exist. A place that would help ad agencies navigate the world of digital production. Conversely, I found that digital studios needed someone with business development acumen to represent their phenomenal work. I had the idea to apply the traditional representation model to digital and creative technology companies. This idea became Aarra.

For the past seventeen years, under the Aarra umbrella, I’ve had the privilege and honor of working with all of you, the best people in this industry - agency and brand clients who have become great friends, the teams who have been part of Aarra, who have become like family and, of course, the best roster companies in the world. Together we produced some of the most unforgettable campaigns, were imitated by many, and revolutionized the industry.

Simultaneously, I remained close to my real passion as an entrepreneur and assisted in the co-founding of several digital agencies. Welikesmall (WLS) is one such company.

Founded in 2008 by Michael Kern, Paul Solomon, and myself, WLS set out to build a different type of creative studio. Purpose-driven to deliver high craft, while maintaining a small yet senior team, allowed the focus to be on the quality of the work. Over the years, Welikesmall's name became synonymous with excellence and integrity. The company has grown into something all of us are genuinely proud of and I feel lucky to have been part of this journey as well.

Today, however, our industry is undoubtedly at a crossroads. The demands and challenges we face are different from the ones twenty, ten, or even five years ago. But we are fortunate to work in an industry that has always been dynamic in the face of change. We have to keep moving and evolving.

Looking through the lens of both agency owner and sales management, I see these new challenges as an opportunity. An opportunity to create and build something new once again, something specifically designed to offer the services our clients need yet a construct built for today's market.

So, together with my partners at WLS, we have decided to join forces with Thinkingbox. Our shared vision to handle the world's premiere creative and a desire to build a company specializing in content, digital, and experiential. As of the completion of our acquisition last December, Welikesmall and Aarra are now Thinkingbox.

So while I look back on everything we accomplished in almost two decades and say a heartfelt bittersweet goodbye to Aarra, I'm looking forward to building something new.

I thank all of you for your friendship and unwavering support over these many years. And I look forward to working with you and sharing ideas in my new capacity as a partner and Chief Marketing Officer of Thinkingbox.

Thank you,

James O'Brien

James O'Brien

Thinkingbox

Main_TemplarStudios

Templar Studios


NYC's longest running indie game studio

  • Company Name

    Templar Studios

  • Location

    New York City, NY

Templar Studios


Templar Studios is New York City’s longest running independent game studio. Since 1997, they have been building games with an emphasis in the entertainment, advertising and educational sectors. Their continued evolution brings their expertise to rich media campaigns where game-play and interactivity take the center stage. From retro arcade styles to polished flash animated games, their games not only bring rewarding game-play but also engaging visual design, original musical scores, and memorable characters.