Opinion: Perspective - Adam & Eve looks like it may be the real new deal

Like Mother and St Luke's and Boymeetsgirl before them, Adam & Eve's name will grow on us. OK, maybe the last two of those three don't make for comforting comparison, but never mind.

Whatever happens, I suspect you'll be hearing and reading the Adam & Eve name an awful lot this year.

By the way, the agency writes its name with a "+" not an "&". But since that looks abysmal in a Campaign font headline - and we're optimistically assuming there'll be a few of those - we're ditching the "+". Sorry guys.

Anyway, I make no apologies for the oxygen that Campaign is giving the Adam & Eve launch. There'll be an interview with the founders next week and a daily blog on brandrepublic.com/campaign on life at the start-up (called "In the beginning ...", naturally).

Any new challenger brand, fuelled by good people, deserves some positive discrimination in a marketplace oversupplied by indistinguishable brands. And the agency's determination to present a new model should shake things up a little. So if the name and the exposure jar with you now, all the better.

Of course, no-one's assuming that Adam & Eve will have an easy ride. We're probably heading for slowdown, at best, and client confidence is muted; the IPA's latest Bellwether Report shows significant budget cuts at the end of last year in the FMCG, financial services and automotive sectors. 2008 is unlikely to be the year of the new-business bonanza.

But the good news for Adam & Eve is that some of the UK's best, enduring agency brands (WCRS, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, for example) launched in tough economic times. Downturn can definitely encourage clients to take an ad risk on some of their smaller brands and try a different, new and hungry, agency. The question is whether, apart from an interesting name and the excitement of being new, Adam & Eve will really offer any-thing extraordinary.

Well, I buy the idea that they can be neutral in ways that established, functionally ingrained agencies simply can't hope to achieve. And having Jon Forsyth's creative media expertise embedded within the partnership is an extremely shrewd decision; it would have been so easy, and yet so old-school, to keep the leadership to the ex-Rainey Kelly trio.

And no doubt Adam & Eve will find itself in the thick of debate about the shifting creative world. Although its founding partner Ben Priest is traditional agency spawn, Adam & Eve has worked hard from the off to stretch the definition of "creative" to embrace everyone at the agency.

I like the term "creative teaming" that they're using. Intentionally inclusive, it certainly doesn't allow anyone to relax into process and implementation. And the make-up of the start-up troupe is eclectic enough to sound convincing: everyone at the agency is, supposedly, capable of generating creative solutions and will be called upon to do so collaboratively.

On this score, it's nice timing that Adam & Eve launches with a new creative approach just as debate kicks off about the changing nature of the modern creative director. I'm not sure whether to feel sorry for Jon Williams (Grey's new creative chief) or not, but he's certainly found himself at the sharp end of the debate and has become personification of the issue. As well as our forum on page 13, check out the comments on scampblog.blogspot.com and on page 5.

I'm sure Williams will be relieved to find Adam & Eve taking up the issue. With Ben Harris, a digital creative, Nicholas Tasker, a creative from the hot brand entertainment agency Cake, and Catherine Kennedy, the content director at Shop, Adam & Eve has also recognised the need to gather skills from a broad creative pallet.

I'm not sure whether the new agency would welcome any comparison with Grey, but there's clearly a theme emerging here that will undoubtedly colour the coming year.