Will Thacker and Andrew Barnard, former ECD and managing director of 18 Feet & Rising have launched a creative company in a move to respond to commercial pressures on marketing departments, and offer an alternative to choosing between agency, production company or an in-house set up.
20something combines creative and production earlier than the traditional process, with account management supporting throughout. It aims to provide a plug-in / plug-out system that’s more cost-effective for brands needing ideas and execution because it leaves behind the inefficiencies of traditional agency structures, and collapses the silos between agencies and production companies.
The founders, who combined have over 30 years’ experience navigating the ups and downs of adland, have taken the decision to relook at accepted processes, favouring concessions in business systems, rather than compromising creative resource and output. They have experienced first-hand the troubles in the industry and make this move looking to a future that’s there to be rewritten. Traditional systems of working, organisational structures, layers, silos and hierarchies are stifling talent in an industry that once attracted creative thinkers in their droves.
Andrew Barnard said: “The long-contested debate around the broken agency model is over, the changes in networks and independents, reported weekly, tell us what many have suspected for a long time; the industry needs to change how it’s set up. Whilst creative ideas remain one of the most invaluable commodities for a brand, the speed and budgets around which they’re needed is not being matched consistently enough. Against this backdrop, all we see is creative time and quality under increasing commercial pressure as traditional agency set ups struggle to change and adapt to decreasing budgets and the pressures marketing departments are under.
“A great creative idea doesn’t need a lot of people; it needs business understanding and creative flair. 20something exists for brands who know who they are and share our impatience for better ways of working. If clients want the quality and the quantity, we need more clients downstream and more production upstream; the agency needs to streamline.”
Strictly project based, with clients only paying for what they need, the company will exist as ‘leaner without less substance’, comprising of a core team of creative and account handling experts with the ability to build bespoke extended teams around new client opportunities and trends, by bringing production partners in earlier to help navigate the creative development and production process, from start to finish.
Will Thacker added: "The ad industry has cannibalised itself year on year in a desperate attempt to survive. Client-mirrored teams, undercutting costs, consolidated offerings; with little consideration for the creative output, and ultimately, letting down the brands they promise to nurture. There is a better way to generate creative work and care for brands that doesn't involve compromise. One that puts the focus back on the work, and the brands it serves to grow, rather than the systems around it."