The Agency Issue

London's New Crop of Creative Shops

A Guide to the Ambitious Ad People Who've Recently Struck Out on Their Own

By Published on .

The trend of senior execs departing big agency networks before they figure out how to adapt to the new world order isn't one that's isolated to the U.S. On the other side of the Atlantic, too, a crop of talented and ambitious ad folk have forsaken big salaries and good benefits to strike out on their own.

The result is a new generation of shops that have cropped up in the London ad market, trying their best to capture the interest and trust of marketers.

Although each has its own flavor, in many ways, their stories ring the same. All of them say are determined to escape the silo mentality of older agencies and the legacy of the client-agency divide, and to find a new flexible billing structure that rewards all their efforts in whatever medium.

This new breed of agencies also expects transparent conversations with their clients about all their business issues. They are set up with digital at the heart of the agency, so there is no integration debate.

Along with well-known agency execs, two of the U.K.'s top marketers -- Phil Rumbold, Cadbury's marketing director during the "Gorilla" and "Eyebrows" ads era, and Mark Lund, former CEO of the government's Central Office of Information -- have crossed the divide to start up their own agencies, 101 and Now, respectively.

In setting up shop, it's surprising that none have chosen trendy East London -- home of Mother, Naked, Poke and many of the newer agencies of the last decade. Four have reverted to traditional advertising territory, the West End, with only one, Inkling, heading north.

These new agencies -- Now, 18 Feet & Rising, 101, Inkling, Adam & Eve -- have set up shop in more-traditional ad areas. Click on each star on the map below to learn more.
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