Through Ad Store, the creative a la carte shop he formed last October, Mr. Cappelli is planning ad outlets across the country so anyone-from a corporate giant in Florida to a Los Angeles dry cleaner-can tap his ad services. He calls it store-front advertising with "Madison Avenue quality at Main Street prices."
Ad Store claims 45 clients, including MCI Communications Corp., Smithkline Beecham, Heublein, Smart Talk Network and Delma USA watches.
"Call it a sweatshop if you want, [but] people are coming to us because of our flexibility," Mr. Cappelli says. "We're not tied down by a larger structure."
Mr. Cappelli, who opened his doors as a two-person operation, now has seven full-time employees and is considering setting up the system of Ad Store order-taking offices across the country, all connected by a computer network.
He calls it a "spider's web" and by the end of the year plans to begin opening outlets in Chicago, Florida and Los Angeles to funnel assignments back to New York, where most will be executed.
"Everything will be overseen by me," he says, explaining that investors weren't as interested in his original plan to franchise Ad Store. "Everything will be linked together so offices can look at one another's work in real time as well as download tons of information."
And Mr. Cappelli said he wants to pursue the ultimate in unbundling-starting separate companies called the Media Store and the Production store.
The Italian-born, 39-year-old fast-talker's last post was as creative director of AC&R Advertising, New York. Before AC&R, he earned his stripes as deputy creative director at McCann-Erickson Worldwide on the agency's Coca-Cola Co. account.
Ironically, McCann executives say they looked at acquiring Ad Store before opting to start their own creative-driven, project-only unit called Amster Yard.
Mr. Cappelli, who next month plans to expand his audience by advertising Ad Store services on the Internet through Black Star Link-an off-shoot of the corporate stock photo house-charges clients either through traditional commission on media, project fees or, more unconventionally, on rates of $175 an hour.
"It's the mass marketing of mass marketing," Mr. Cappelli boasts. "We're bringing Madison Avenue to the masses."