Former And Rising duo launch 'plug in/plug out' creative company

20Something pledges to saves marketers time and money by involving production much earlier in the ad creative-buying process.

20Something: Thacker and Barnard
20Something: Thacker and Barnard

Two senior figures from And Rising have launched a creative company dedicated to relieving pressure on marketers and simplifying the "over-complicated" process for buying advertising.

Andrew Barnard and Will Thacker, who were managing director and executive creative director respectively, have launched 20Something, based in Farringdon, London. 

The company will combine creative and production much earlier than the traditional process, with account management supporting throughout. 20Something aims to provide a "plug in/plug out" system that will be more cost-effective for brands needing ideas and execution. 

To deliver this, all of 20Something’s client accounts will be project-based. The company will comprise a core team of creative and account-handling experts who can build bespoke extended teams and bring production partners in earlier to help navigate the creative development and production process from start to finish.

Creative agencies typically involve production after a brand has bought an idea. Even if some agencies write ads with certain directors in mind, they will also usually invite several production companies to pitch for work.

20Something has a roster of hand-picked production partners, but they will work with others and there is no joint venture obligation on any of them. 

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. 

"While 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 does not need "a lot of people", Barnard added, but it does need "understanding and creative flair". 

'Ad industry has cannibalised itself'

The duo, who left And Rising in March, following its change in strategy and rebrand last year from 18 Feet & Rising, are not giving themselves job titles in addition to "founder" because they want to eschew traditional agency labels.

They have hired an art director and two designers to work on new business opportunities, with two clients on board that they refused to disclose.

Barnard and Thacker each have between 25% and 50% equity in the business, while there is one additional investor. They would not give further details about the equity split.

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."

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