Former JWT North America leaders Rosemarie Ryan and Ty Montague have finally unveiled their new agency, which, by design, will collaborate with other shops to develop new brands, businesses and brand messaging.
The venture, called Co:, opens with four partners: Montague, who's in charge of content; Ryan, heading up brand strategy; Neil Parker, leading business strategy; and Richard Schatzberger, head of technology experience.
In a statement announcing the launch, the new agency identified some 42 creative shops, studios, consultancies and media entities that it plans to engage on behalf of clients. These include Big Spaceship, Campfire, Collins, Cunning, Horizon Media, Naked Communications, Medialink, Creative Feed and Cool Hunting.
"We call it a brand innovation studio because we are taking our structural cues from the evolving entertainment industry -- an industry built around a talent model that is much more fluid [and where] the right talent is brought together at the right moment to get the right outcome," said Ryan, in a statement.
Montague added, "Today and in the future, success for clients is driven by two things: superior talent and the ability to effectively collaborate."
At WPP Group's JWT, Ryan was North American president and Montague was N.A. co-president and chief creative officer. They left the agency earlier this year, eager to strike out on their own after years of working within a major holding company.
Co:'s other partners have both client-side and agency experience. Parker has worked as a management consultant and within IBM's corporate strategy group; most recently he was global head of strategy at Omnicom Group's Wolff Olins, a brand consultancy. Schatzberger comes from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, where he was director of creative technology; earlier in his career, he worked in interaction design and product innovation at Motorola.
The new shop plans to add a fifth partner, with the title of chief commercial officer, to manage a co-ventures practice.
Ryan and Montague planned to open their agency with at least two clients. But the new shop's launch statement and Web site do not name any accounts.
In the planning stages for the shop, Ryan and Montague talked to several potential investors, including Photon Group, according to sources. In the end, however, the partners opted to launch without any outside investors.