It used to be the domain of burger bars and car dealerships, but if
fast-talking Bostonian Paul Cappelli has his way, franchising could be
advertising’s next big thing.
As the founder of the Ad Store in the US, Cappelli wants to wean a
generation of eponymous ad shops on to the idea of borrowing his name,
his working methods and his philosophy to grow his US operation into a
At first sight, the idea of franchising an ad agency might seem
impossible, not least because standardising creativity is a lot harder
than standardising hamburgers. Yet Cappelli says he is selling a type of
agency as much as a creative style and explains: ’Clients will get a
certain standard of advertising, but what we’re really selling is the
Working on a project basis, the Ad Store aims to provide bespoke ideas
for clients of any size. Methods of payment are equally flexible. And
clients seem to enjoy shopping in the ’ideas supermarket’; Coca-Cola,
for example, has commissioned 11 TV spots.
Cappelli knows success depends on the right quality of creative
For this reason, he is reluctant to offer licences to account men
without seeing the strength of their creative partners first. ’This is
every disgruntled creative director’s dream - and there are plenty of
those out there,’ he quips.