Fast Company senior writer, Danielle Sacks, likes to write about advertising. She covered Alex Bogusky’s departure from his namesake agency last summer. Now, she’s back with a new piece on how disruptive digital is to the agency business and what we in the industry are doing about it.
Her piece got a lot of attention on Twitter and elsewhere yesterday, and there are many aspects to it that we could explore in this space or over a cold one. But I want to focus on just one item at this time. Sacks showcases Co:, the new company formed by former JWT Co-Presidents Rosemarie Ryan and Ty Montague. She presents their distributed model as a workable alternative, well adapted to our time (which some see as the first “Creative Revolution” since Bill Bernbach joined art directors and copywriters at the hip nearly 50 years ago).
Montague and Ryan decided to build a new kind of marketing business with no old-world waste and inefficiency. Co, which Montague describes as “a brand studio built for 21st-century CEOs and CMOs,” is a tiny group of consultants from the agency, technology, and business-strategy worlds that can “deploy the right team for the right action at the right time for the right outcome.”
Its ability to scale up and tackle a wide range of client problems will come from the eclectic network of 44 specialist companies they’ve lured to play nice with them, from digital agencies like Big Spaceship to crowdsourcing firms like Victors & Spoils to bigger companies like McCann Worldgroup and Horizon Media, the largest U.S. independent media-services company. “We want to be as small as possible and as big as necessary,” Montague says. “It’s not about scale; it’s about scalability. Even though we have only five employees, right now we have 1,500 people we can put against an opportunity.”
These words, or course, are music to Bonehook’s ears. For the model now getting mainstream press attention is the model we’re working to perfect. With one variation–we don’t have formal or pre-arranged relationships with craftsmen at the ready. I don’t see the need. When the day comes that we add more business than our core group of friends and associates can handle, I’ll merely dial up another group of friends and associates best suited to the tasks at hand. I understand the concept of having people in the bullpen, but the reality on the ground is this: when there’s business on the line and a healthy budget for top talent, the talent is always there, ready to go. It’s a law of the marcom universe.
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