Bartle Bogle Hegarty is launching a brand invention arm. Called Zag, the venture will be run by the former Unilever global brand director Neil Munn and the BBH co-founder and chief executive, Nigel Bogle.
Zag will be a global initiative involving all BBH offices and is fully funded by the agency. It aims to create and develop new brands, which it will license or sell to third parties in return for a share of ongoing sales revenues.
Munn, who will be Zag's chief executive as well as taking a position on the BBH group board of directors, said: "The search for new ideas has never been more important or more difficult. Many large corporations are preoccupied by short-term delivery and are struggling to unlock new brand opportunities. As a result, openness to external sources for idea generation is becoming more common. This is an opportunity to exploit our biggest talent."
The launch comes as agencies are increasingly searching for new remuneration models that evolve the traditional client/agency fee-based relationship.
Zag plans to ally BBH's creativity with its knowledge of consumer behaviour.
It will focus on what the agency terms "brandlag" - areas of the market where consumer activity is ahead of current levels of brand or commercial activity, such as health and fitness and the ecological consumer market.
The company is working on a number of brand-creation projects and is understood to be in discussions with three of BBH's clients and two external partners.
Bogle said: "A really powerful idea is the last remaining unfair advantage in business. Our stock in trade for the past 23 years has been the manufacture of intangibles. We manufacture ideas that become components of brands. Most great brands begin with an idea."