Art directors, account managers and others holding media jobs in online advertising agencies might not be familiar with the concept of a “strategic, action-based creative company operating in the ‘new to next’ space, but they’re about to find out with the opening of brand new agency in New York that proudly adopts this phrase as its self-definition.
New agency, new ideas
Ming (full name “Ming Utility and Entertainment Group”) has just opened its doors on Peck Slip in downtown New York, thanks to the collaborative efforts of seasoned Adland mavens Linus Karlsson (erstwhile CCO of Global brands at McCann-Erickson), Brian Di Lorenzo (McCann’s Chief production Officer) and Tara DeVeaux (formerly Executive VP/Account Manager at BBDO). The trio will serve as Ming’s Chief Creative Officer, CEO and President, respectively.
The company was fifteen years in the making, Mr Karlsson recently told AdAge magazine. Back then, he and Mr DiLorenzo were working in Minneapolis for Fallon and found themselves talking about starting a new company over a restaurant meal. They’d been deeply inspired by some of the creative ideas pouring out of Fallon at the time, like their work on Buddy Lee for Lee Jeans, Brawny, Timex and BMW Films. As Mr Karlsson puts it:
“It feels like once in a while, an agency touches upon work like that, but we want to make that our core. If you look at work that has been applauded in the last few years, the most amazing piece of content wasn’t done out of an agency — it was done by CAA and Chipotle. Or Red Bull. That’s telling us we have to do something differently. I don’t know what we’re waiting for. I’m tired of waiting.”
The new agency will remain independent, although it will partner with McCann Worldgroup on several projects (accessing its considerable resources in the process). But art directors and account managers who’d like to be part of the action will have opportunities to do so. The agency plans to collaborate on brand ideas with other agencies, too.
And as for that enigmatic self-definition? All Mr Karlsson would say is this:
“You want it to define itself. By defining it too early you pigeonhole yourself. It’s most important to talk about the opportunities. We can’t do everything, but we can do anything.”