Cannes Report: 180 Takes Page From Joy Division’s Old Label

CANNES, FRANCE Is Joy Division the key to the new agency model?

The never-ending debate on the agency model of the future continued at Cannes today. While R/GA can channel its Bauhaus, 180 prefers to take its cues from 1970s new wave music. At a seminar on Tuesday, 180 Amsterdam founder Chris Mendola and executive creative director Andy Fackrell explained how the agency has shifted its operations in the past year to a more flexible model inspired by Factory Records, the label that produced work from Joy Division and other Manchester-based bands in the late 1970s.The Factory wasn’t just a label: It did ticket design and ran a nightclub. “We thought we’d steal that and apply it to this century,” said Fackrell. 180’s parts include retail and design unit Detail, digital content specialist Riot, and content production arm U-Turn.

The idea is somewhat familiar: The parts can work together as needed, or apart, or in some combination. In this way, 180 hopes to deal with the fragmentation of media and of client structures. Riot, for instance, is now a year old. It can serve as an adjunct to 180, as it’s currently doing in organizing distribution of a 90-second Adidas video (shown) that 180 created with soccer stars Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane. Or it can take the lead, which was the case recently during an NBA All-Star Weekend project, also for Adidas, in which Riot created a “newsroom” in Phoenix, site of the dunk contest and game, to create and distribute content from Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard. It came in the form of Tweets, YouTube videos and blog posts, with an Adidas rep on site to instantly approve content for distribution in real time.

“Really, what it comes down to is being able to adapt,” Fackrell said.