These Ad Veterans Are Trying to Shake Up the Agency Model With the Launch of TBD

Creative agency's name refers to its philosophy of continual evolution

(L. to r.) Jordan Warren, Virginia Wang and Rafael Rizuto TBD
Headshot of Erik Oster

Former 180LA executive creative director Rafael Rizuto, innovation strategist Virginia Wang and Argonaut founder Jordan Warren have joined forces to launch a new creative shop based in San Francisco.

The agency name, TBD, reflects its philosophy of “continual evolution,” adaptability and defiance, according to its founders. Rizuto, who spent two and a half years as a creative director with Pereira & O’Dell before joining 180LA as an executive creative director in April 2015, will serve as the agency’s chief creative officer.

“More than our name and philosophy, TBD is an act of defiance,” Rizuto said in a statement. “It’s about not following predetermined ways of doing things. It’s about putting ideas before execution and building a diverse creative team that allows you to unlock unexpected solutions that deliver authentically on our clients’ values.”

Warren will take the role of chief executive officer at TBD. Before founding Argonaut and serving as the agency’s president starting in 2012, he spent nearly four and a half years as president of, following over seven years as president and CEO of Eleven, which he founded in April of 1999.

“In times of constant change and disruption, only uncertainty is certain,” Warren said in a statement. “Let’s face it—we’ve seen our industry struggle to keep up with change. Creative agencies have tried to embrace digital, digital agencies have tried to become storytellers, and now consultancies are trying to become agencies. The only way to be relevant today and tomorrow is through adaptability. We will always be a work in progress.”

Wang will serve as TBD’s chief strategy officer. She previously spent five years as innovation and insights lead at IDEO, following strategic planning roles at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, MTV Networks and Electronic Arts.

“We came together because we see a gap between innovation vision and its realized impact,” Wang said in a statement. “Business strategy is too often separated from creative strategy, and the translation between these can be extremely difficult. This disconnect not only slows agility but dulls efficacy. TBD is about flux and responsiveness to the increasing rate of change, closing this critical gap.”

While headquartered in San Francisco, TBD launches with a strategic partnership with Helsinki, Finland-based hasan & partners Group, a minority investor that also has a presence in Sweden.

“When you meet a superstar team that has experience disrupting the advertising landscape – not just once, but several times before, and is determined to do it again – you jump at the chance to be part of it,” hasan & partners Group founder and chairman Ami Hasan said in a statement. “TBD is starting where most agencies aspire to be, but are too big or stuck in their ways to get there. They are creating a new model for the future of our industry, and we’re excited to be helping them with that.”

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.