Three former Addison creative heads have joined forces to form Browns, a consultancy described as “a start-up with gravitas”.
Browns, which launches next Monday (9 March), is the brainchild of Jonathan Ellery, creative director of Sampson Tyrrell Corporate Marketing before its merger with WPP stablemate Addison, and former Addison creative partners Graham Taylor and Mike Turner.
It has financial backing from an unnamed marketing services group (not WPP). Browns will not reveal the amount of investment, but says the three-year deal does not tie it in any way. “It’s not a cold relationship,” says Taylor, “but it lets us stay in control and start at the level we want to.”
Though literature design is likely to be a staple for Browns, given the track records of its directors, the aim is “to be known as a design group, not, say, an annual report group”, says Ellery.
The focus will be brand development in the widest sense.”It would be nice to do some [brand-related] interiors,” says Ellery.
The trio also plan to move into publishing, with their book, Marmalade, the first in a series of publishing projects, due in April.
Browns will be small initially, though based in 200m2 offices in London Docklands. A team of 25 to 30 people is envisaged eventually, but the idea of a “virtual agency” isn’t ruled out.
“We want to be small enough for people who want to work directly with Mike, Graham or myself to buy into us,” says Ellery, citing Pentagram as a model.
The resignations of Ellery, Taylor and Turner from Addison followed the decision to merge Addison and STCM (DW 9 January). This left only Peter Chodel as a creative partner.
Addison managing partner Simon Lake is on the verge of appointing a new creative partner, to work alongside Chodel. “Having four creative partners in a consultancy our size was never ideal,” says Lake, adding that the appointment will be supported by recent internal promotions.