Cannes Lions



Case Film
Supporting Images
Supporting Images






We wanted to bring to life how a few men from Medellin created a criminal syndicate that turned a million dollar industry into a billion dollar industry, right under the noses of the DEA who for many years didn’t even know they existed. We worked with award-winning financial journalists, filmmakers, designers and developers to build out an experience that would deliver key information about the cocaine trade but in a way that kept you engaged and entertained.


From the presentation to Netflix and MEC Digital and winning the business, to the deadline for launch, we knew we had 8 weeks to produce the most ambitious piece of creative work we have worked on as a team. The bilingual online experience brings together storytelling in ways that can all stand alone but work with each other to give a true perspective of the mind-boggling control that the Medellin Cartel had over the global cocaine trade throughout their reign.

A central article about the rise and reign of the Cartel is supported by short documentaries we shot on location in New York and Medellin. We featured on-screen interviews with the two DEA agents featured in the show talking about their hunt of Escobar and sharing never seen before photographs of the final chase and killing of the head of the Cartel. We featured infographics that we researched and created ourselves of the main smuggling routes into America and beyond, short articles on locations blighted by the drug trade, the latest narcotics stories from the Dow Jones news wire and a quiz to test your knowledge of the business.

We also featured a section on the present day Medellin and how it is the first major city in the world to free itself of the corruption and control that the modern-day drug cartels are now playing out across Mexico, Africa, Asia and across Europe.

Finally, one of the key considerations was that we would produce a fully bilingual experience that would work for North, Central and South American fans of the show.


In the four weeks the program ran on the main WSJ site, the Cocainenomics experience had more than 232,633 unique visitors, 4.6 times the goal we had set with Netflix and MEC Digital. There were 512,278 attempts at testing your knowledge at the Cocainenomics game, a 37 percent completion rate on our two documentary films, 372,062 interactions with the drug smuggling map, and 105,616 social referrals. Most importantly for Netflix, we surveyed WSJ readers and found that 89 percent were “likely to subscribe/renew with Netflix after seeing Cocainenomics.” The Cocainenomics experience was awarded ‘Best Branded Content Partnership of 2015’ by Ad Age.

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