Lace and Campbell in start-up

LONDON - Garry Lace, one of adland's most colourful figures, is ending his three-year exile from the agency business by launching a start-up.

Garry Lace and Robert agency
Garry Lace and Robert agency

Read the Campbell Lace Beta start-up blog

His partner in the new agency will be Robert Campbell, one of the founders of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, who returns to the advertising scene having resigned from United London in 2007.

The pair will be equal stakeholders in the new venture, to be called Campbell Lace Beta, when it opens for business at the beginning of next month.

Starting with a blank client list, Lace and Campbell said they would draw on a network of contacts - from web designers to TV production and PR specialists - to meet prospects' needs.

"We're very much work in progress, but we quite like that because Robert and I are both certain that nobody knows what the agency of the future will look like," Lace, the managing director of Admedia, said.

"The communications landscape is changing so quickly."

The start-up marks a remarkable comeback by Lace, who has been at the centre of two high-profile agency controversies.

He quit as the chief executive of Grey London in 2004 having been implicated by a hoax e-mail claiming he was leaving to set up a loyalty scheme with one of the agency's clients.

He denied the allegation. In 2006, he resigned as the chief executive of Lowe London after an internal investigation into matters arising from his 13-month tenure.

"I've learned some hard lessons but sometimes they stand you in good stead," he added.

The pair expect their offer to appeal particularly to advertisers involved in the "new economy" such as e-commerce companies and those in the entertainment sector.

Campbell's current operation, High Five O, which he set up last year to connect brands with the over-50s market, will be rolled into the new agency.

The Admedia chief executive, Philip Vecht, said: "I'm glad that Garry will be staying with the business long enough to help find a replacement and to ensure that plans he introduced are seen through to a successful completion."

Read the Campbell Lace Beta start-up blog

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