Smith launches outsource shop

Martin Smith, who abruptly vacated his job as Grey Worldwide

London's chief executive eight months ago, has returned to the agency

scene as the founding partner of a start-up that plans to outsource most

of its work.

He is linking with Mark Rapley, the former BMP DDB deputy managing

director, and Roisin Robothan-Jones, a co-founder of the "green" product

distribution company Ark.

The trio will act as "commissioning editors" who will farm out, act as

quality controllers and co-ordinate all client needs from creative work,

website design and media buying to TV programme-making and PR.

Their fledgling operation - to be called Rapley Smith & Jones - begins

life with three as yet undisclosed pieces of business.

"We're not a virtual agency or a planning consultancy," Smith


"We're an ad agency and proud of it. But because we're outsourcing our

work we can solve any problem on any scale."

The agency, in which all three are equal equity partners, along with an

anonymous backer, says it will pitch for business, but may be drafted in

to augment clients' existing arrangements or even organise a pitch on a

client's behalf.

Smith, who spent 18 years at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, latterly as the

deputy chairman, spent a less than happy period at Grey and left in May

last year after an apparent culture clash.

The new agency re-establishes his working relationship with Rapley,

which began when both worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, and Robothan-Jones, a

former director of the planning consultancy division at BBH Futures.

Smith claimed the start-up was a response to ego problems in traditional

agencies, which prevented them responding effectively to the integrated

solutions demanded by clients.

The agency has no intention of bringing in a creative to complement the

founders' account management and planning experience.

"It might appear tidier to have one, but that's bound to influence the

communications solution we suggest," Smith added. "We're trying to get

over that."


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