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Welcome to #312Soul

An Unfinished Retrospective of Chicago’s Black Music History

The Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Event designated 2020 as the Year of Music in Chicago. Our city’s music history has been mostly focused on the blues genre, often leaving other Chicago-centric music genres to be overlooked. Since music is at the epicenter of everything we do at OKRP, we wanted to showcase another side of Chicago’s music history that is just as rich and influential and deserves to be celebrated. To commemorate this year of music, OKRP celebrated Black History Month with an online retrospective of Chicago’s unique black music history.

Following our 3rd principle, “Putting the ‘agent’ in advertising agency,” we partnered with two Chicago music pioneers, Vince Lawrence and Tom Washington, to write and produce original music, video essays, interview sessions and era specific playlists that pay respect to the influential and often overlooked details of Chicago’s black music history. Throughout the month of February, OKRP published a weekly series called #312Soul, featuring original, archival, and curated content.

Curating the Soul of Chicago

The content series highlighted 4 different musical eras from 1955 to 1990, showcasing the evolution of soul, funk, and the origination of house music in Chicago. Stories were shared through the microsite – and on OKRP social channels. Each week in February, a new page was added to the site that was dedicated to each era, with content including photo artifacts, video interviews with prominent artists/producers, and Spotify playlists with music from that particular era.


“Sales today, brand today“ is our belief – you can see it in our model and feel it in our work. It starts with our overall position of “Big Brand Creativity; Startup Ingenuity” and delivered in each of our four unflinching principles:


Be nimble, be quick, be prolific.

To be adaptable and relentlessly productive in every aspect of operation – this is how OKRP meets the momentum of creativity in today’s volatile social and digital world.


Practice the “high art of selling.”

OKRP believes that everything should come with a commitment to sell and a retail sensibility, regardless of category. Where others try to hide the product and sell, they paint it a bright color. Where others shy away, they sing.


Put the “agent” in advertising agency.

The advertising equivalent of having multiple logos before a Hollywood film’s title – OKRP has developed strong working partnerships with some of the best creative, strategic, digital and media resources in the business today. It’s a new model approach to brand stewardship and collaboration that puts the best team together for the job.


Have Soul.

When people talk about great work by saying “I’ll know it when I see it,” OKRP believes what they really mean to say is “I’ll know it when I feel it.” That feeling is SOUL – and that’s the only kind of work O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul is interested in creating.