Last week Adam Ferrier, Jim Ingram and Ben Couzens announced the launch of a new agency based in Melbourne with the distinctive name Thinkerbell. The founders claim the namesakes—the famous Rodin sculpture of a contemplative fellow and the magical fairy from Peter Pan—represent "the coming together of scientific enquiry and brilliant creativity". The three, who all left Cummins & Partners earlier this year and among them also have history at Naked Communications (Ferrier) and Clemenger BBDO (Ingram and Couzens), also coined the term 'measured magic' to signify the approach the agency will take. We asked Ferrier to elaborate.
As specifically as possible, what do you mean by that?
My passion is marketing science, and I've worked with Jim and Cuz for three years. They are out-and-out creatives, with a passion for getting it right, then making it great. We get where each other is coming from and find the interplay between what we collectively know about psychology, marketing science and creativity really rewarding.
When we were developing the proposition of the agency we knew that this interplay was the core of what will define our agency. We capture the essence of the agency as 'measured magic' which is really just a shorthand way of saying all of this.
How are current agencies failing to deliver on this score?
Many agencies are still relying on the 'Trust me, I'm a creative' argument. It just doesn't cut it anymore. No one feels comfortable progressing with something if they don't know how it's going to work, or what impact it will have.
Marketing science, at the very least can help explain why some ideas will and will not work. Further, it's important that science and creativity feed of each other and build off each other. Most agencies are weighted heavily towards one or the other. Getting them to build off each other means getting the balance right, and ensuring everyone values each others' contributions.
The science and art separation is possibly a remnant of a siloed industry that has separated research and media agencies, who champion the former, from creative agencies, who champion the latter. We like the idea of bringing it together.
How will the agency be structured / operated / staffed differently in order to deliver the vision? How will the science part be baked in?
We are building a culture of marketing sciences coming together with hardcore creativity. To deliver on this we employ Thinkers and Tinkers. They work hand-in-glove with each other to avoid baton passing internally.
More practically our Thinkers will all have an appreciation of, if not a background in some level of marketing or behavioural sciences. Whilst our Tinkers will be pushing knobs, trying things, and revelling in the new.
We've got it right at the foundation, so now the job to is to ensure it's replicated throughout the business. Measured magic is our guide.
What made now the right time for this move?
There's the right now for us, and the right now for the businesses we'll work with. The right now for us is simply we're experienced in the market, yet enthusiastic about creating a new offer, what we think is a genuine alternative in the marketplace.
The now for businesses is probably more important. There has never been more of a cry for a 'magic' solution. Creativity, more than ever is a strategic competitive advantage for business, and we want to help them get there.
However, the science, or measured part of the equasion ensures that the magic will be well reasoned and supported.
Were there specific reasons you left Cummins & Partners that you can share?
We're keen to create an agency that fits us like a glove. We are in a position where we create the exact type of agency we want to work in, one that reflects the coming together of our skill sets, and draws like-minded people who are interested in working in that kind of space. We want to have fun, work hard, and help brands find their inner magic.
What’s the scope of your ambitions? Are you just aiming to operate in Australia? Will you be open to broader geographical remits from clients? Are you open to expanding the agency to other markets?
We're very ambitious, but for right now we'll be focusing on doing a very good job for our clients.
How do you expect your client base to break down (local / regional / global)?
Speak to us in 18 months and I'll tell you.