Cranston’s Seven Swords Media: The biggest little ad agency in the country


Before Cranston resident Michael Mota sets off for work each morning, he helps his children get ready for school.

After driving the 5.7 miles – six if he stops at Dunkin’ Donuts – from his Alpine Estates home to his office in Chapel View, Mota shifts gears from father to executive. As the vice president of business development at Rhode Island’s fastest growing advertising agency, every day at work is an adventure for the 32-year-old North Providence native.

First on the agenda: A weekly meeting with the agency’s executives. Checking emails on his MacBook Pro, Mota listens while colleagues offer updates across the company’s diverse portfolio of projects and clients.

After a shallow wade through the entire client list, Mota then dives into business development strategies for clients, including GoGo Cast Inc., with his team of creative and project managers. Seven Swords Media handles all advertising and marketing for the digital media and content management company from Cranston.

Mota has 10 minutes to check emails and return a few phone calls before his next meeting about a client with whom Mota has a personal connection. The world-renowned Smithsonian Institution is one of Seven Swords Media’s largest accounts and has been a family vacation destination for the Mota family for many years.

Working with the prestigious client reminds Mota of just how far the agency has come – even more so than the 14-foot-by-48-foot billboard on RI-37 reading “SEVEN SWORDS MEDIA” that he drives by every morning.

“It’s surreal to see the billboard on my way to work,” said Mota, reflecting on the series of developments that took place for the burgeoning agency and its parent company, Alex and Ani.

Every day, thousands in the Ocean State and beyond are exposed to the work of Seven Swords Media. This national visibility is due in no small part to a fortuitous relationship between two fledgling local companies that began in 2011.

Then, Mota was an executive at Mediapeel, a small local advertising agency.

“Two years ago, I helped secure Alex and Ani as a client,” recalled the Cranston resident. “At the time, they had only one retail location and 20 employees, and now they have over 700 employees and are projected to reach $160 million in sales this year.”

The company’s subsequent success allowed them to expand in other ways, too – by investing in other promising ventures.

Among those strategic investments: The acquisition of Mediapeel in early 2012.

Under the new name of Seven Swords Media, the agency has experienced tremendous growth, both organically and through the acquisition of a local video production agency and an events planning company.

Now, Seven Swords Media has become the full-service communications agency that Mota had always envisioned. As a matter of fact, the Cranston-based company was recently ranked by Inc. magazine as the 386th fastest growing, privately held company in the country.

“We’re proud to provide support to a wide array of clients from various industries,” said Mota. “At this pace, we’re positioned to become the largest agency in New England – if not the country – in three years.”

Millions of viewers who tuned into Super Bowl XLVIII witnessed vacant, boarded up buildings transform into vibrant spaces in the latest Alex and Ani commercial. The ad, produced by Seven Swords Media, was meant to capture the core essence of Alex and Ani’s “Main Street” strategy to revitalize and reinvigorate business activity in local communities throughout the country.

Titled “Main Street America,” the 30-second commercial aired in 27 markets and marked the highest-profile project to date between Seven Swords Media and Alex and Ani.

“Thinking as our clients do has become fundamental to us,” added Mota. “As our relationship with Alex and Ani deepens, greater accountability is demanded from us and we put pressure on ourselves to more effectively link ideas to results.”

Seven Swords Media closed 2013 with $20 million in revenue and over 40 employees, progress that Mayor Allan Fung cannot help but acknowledge. 

“We are pleased to have such a cutting edge, groundbreaking company like Seven Swords Media in Rhode Island,” said Fung. “Clearly this is a company on the upswing with a bright future that will positively impact our economy.”

The mayor added, “I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Michael and his team through the various events associated with Alex and Ani. I’ve found him to be professional, detail oriented, and in tune with the demands of the business.”

With sound leadership, an already impressive client list, and the ability to capitalize on ways to improve its services, there’s no telling how large this agency from Cranston will grow.


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