Justin Cooke, the former TopShop CMO and Burberry marketer who helped launch the brands' innovative digital initiatives, has left the fashion world to launch Innovate7, a U.K.-based startup that aims to help brands embrace modern thinking.
Mr. Cooke has teamed up with Nicola Peters, a former colleague and engagement marketing manager at Burberry who helped steer programs like "Art of the Trench," as well as undisclosed former staffers from Apple, Facebook, Red Bull and Nike.
The company is built on two propositions. First, it aims to help brands innovate their businesses. Innovate7 plans to fill gaps in companies' processes and thinking that prevent them from become modern-thinking ventures -- whether it be through advertising, marketing or technology.
Second, the company will be developing what Mr. Cooke described as "world-changing" technology. First out of the gate will be a social platform, the name of which he was unable to disclose at press time. Set to launch this year, Mr. Cooke says it will "absolutely have relevance to brands and will challenge the top five social networks." According to Mr. Cooke, the project has received an investment stake of 19.9% from an undisclosed media group, along with private venture capital funding.
Mr. Cooke billed the company as "the world's first disruption agency" -- although "disruption" is already a familiar buzzword in the ad industry and is the core of TBWA's longtime mantra.
"What we do will be a real mixture," Mr. Cooke said. "We have a lab approach. For example, when you look at huge industries, you will sometimes see that there's something missing that's preventing them from moving into the future. It could be a piece of technology. We plan to come up with that solution."
In order for brands to ensure their profitability in the future, Mr. Cooke said they have to anticipate and embrace the innovations that could disrupt their businesses. But the innovation, he said, will not necessarily be about creating. It's also about evolving.