Andy Law started as a founder of St. Lukes in 1999, then left in 2003 after disagreements, and then in started boymeetsgirl with Kate Stanners and David Pemsel in 2003. In September that same year, there was a fall out and Stanners and Pemsel left. In January, IHT reported that Law was looking for investors to "support his plan to turn a revamped Boymeetsgirl into an international network of agencies."
Now, Law has apparently bounced back from the liquidation of boymeetsgirl, partnering up with Preevan Kenneth, formerly of Publicis India and most recently chief executive at St Luke's India, to start Law & Kenneth. Their idea is for Law & Kenneth, which promises to offer clients the entire spectrum of marketing services, to be a nodal network of small offices, where the focus is on building partnerships between people and with clients.
"The idea is to create a mutual agenda to co-create value and deliver better advertising," says Mr Law. "The network marries the wisdom of mature, Western markets with the energy and freshness of emerging markets to offer an East-meets-West confluence. With the right people who are committed to the belief in place across markets, we are in a strong position to create a network of this kind."
The network will own 26-40% stake in each of the markets it operates in. Law claims they don't believe in owning people which is why they haven't bought into agencies. Local agencies will own the busineses and maintain their own identity, but will be linked to Law & Kenneth.
Barring Sydney, none of the network's offices are startups. The Paris operation, for instance, is Mr Law's own creative agency, boymeetsgirl (BMG), while the London office is a setup of ex-McCann London executives Luke White and Nick Wright. India, of course, is essentially the St Luke's operation. Mr Kenneth, in fact, takes pains to inform that the only thing that's changed about the Indian operations is the name on the agency's door. "We've planned this for a long time, and our clients were taken into confidence four months ago," he says.
"The people who were servicing different accounts and businesses are the same, the minds and talents we have are the same. What's changed is that this agency has now become a truly global network."
Apparently all of St Luke's Indian clients will stay with the agency.
In a piece Law wrote for The Media Guardian he states:
We wanted our company to have the ability to source creativity from the global gene pool, like the music business has for so many years.
Finally we applied a mantra I have been applying to my clients for many years. In business, you either add value or cost.
How could we add value and lower cost?
We would not duplicate services, wherever possible.
We would create an economic imperative for the network to feed off itself, rather than lose revenue to outside suppliers.
We would speed up our delivery response rate to clients so that they could get to market as fast as possible.
And we would offer our clients the creativity they needed to get to the job done, not just the creativity the office happened to have within its walls.
So it looks like Law & Kenneth is attempting to give clients faster, cheaper, better work. I always though you were only able to have two of the three...cheap and good but not fast, fast and cheap but not good or fast and good but not cheap. I have to wonder if they will acutally be able to pull that off. Then again, cheap is a relative term, and a bit fuzzy to quantify when there's not really a point of reference.
Anyway, according to their site, the agency works on these two philosophies they call Open Souce Creativity and Global Nodal Network.
There is also a list of special advisors that include Dame Anita Roddick and Gordon Roddick, founders of Body Shop International, Professor Theodore Zeldin of CBE, Dave Stewart, Ex-Eurythmics member, and Bill Dalton, Ex-CEO HSBC Worldwide. From the articles I've read on this, I couldn't find any reasoning behind chosing these people or how exactly they plan on using them.
"I have been working towards this for five years. I have fallen over and bruised myself badly on route but I have been very dogged about pursuing this," Mr Law said today.
"It's a phenomenally simple concept; that's why I know in my heart of hearts that it will be a success; there's nothing complicated about it."
The company will operate in business development, branding, advertising and media communications, and each local office will operate with a maximum of about 35 people, led by a local entrepreneur and majority local owned.
"They work locally and I work for them globally," Mr Law said.
The founder of St Luke's, which was one of the most significant London advertising agencies in the 1990s, flies to China tomorrow to set up an office and said he would announce clients next week.
He said Law & Kenneth would do away with layers of global networks and take advantage of specialisations in each office. Stockholm will be the centre for interactive advertising, London for strategy and much production work will be handled in Asia.
"To put it plainly, having a worldwide creative director is of no use in one of the biggest markets like China, where new brands will start driving the world in the coming future, when he or she doesn't even know the language, the culture or the sensitivity of that market's corporate culture," Mr Law said.
In six months it plans to have offices in China, Germany, South Africa, Russia, Italy, South Korea, Japan and the United States. The aim is to have 18 offices within the next year.
Somewhat amusing is the reaction coming from posters in the BrandRepublic forum on this, like this one from Zippy_In_Surry:
According to Law: "The biggest need of the hour today across every client's boardroom around the world is partnerships that will strengthen their brands in the marketplace. A partnership that goes beyond just a financial and business transaction. The purpose for our existence is to be exactly that -- their brand partner."
...wank wank wank; does he think he is the first person to think of this?!