Alternative holding company Plan A, which was formed by Untitled Worldwide founding partner and CEO MT Carney and former Droga5 CEO Andrew Essex in June 2018, has expanded by adding four new companies to its fold.
Joining the agency network are: Tether, a Seattle design agency formed by industry veteran Stanley Hainsworth, who formerly led creative for Lego, Nike and Starbucks; Chapter, a San Francisco digital studio formed by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and AKQA alums Gareth Kay and Neil Robinson; TwoFiveSix, a Los Angeles-based gaming-centric marketing agency run by Kill Screen founder Jamin Warren; and The New New Thing, a New York-based strategic communications advisory launched by PR veteran Brooke Hammerling.
“We’re filling out a wheel, and we now have design, digital transformation, PR and gaming, with the premise that every key box can be found under one roof: all best in breed, all owner operated,” Essex told Adweek.
“We’ve always been big believers that the best modern companies need to be networked, open and radically collaborative by nature. Joining forces with the rebel alliance that is Plan A is the natural next step in this: a new type of offering for clients that gives them access to a diverse, senior team that can shapeshift to provide the right team for the right task at the right time,” added Kay and Robinson. “We couldn’t be more excited about what we will be able to build together.”
Essex called Hammerling “a legend in the business” and Hainsworth “one of the most respected creatives in the business,” while touting Chapter’s fluency in emerging platforms.
“It just seemed completely behind the eight ball to not have [a gaming-centric] capability in-house. You’d have to be asleep to not understand how important it is,” Essex said of TwoFiveSix, adding that he’s long been a fan of Warren’s, citing Kill Screen among his all-time favorite publications.
“We’re big believers in talent and expertise as differentiators,” he added.
The new additions join a federation of agencies that includes Beekman Social, Helo, Twin Studio, Untitled Worldwide and Van’s General Store. Plan A’s client roster includes Brookfield, Harry’s, IBM, Nespresso, Oracle Data Cloud, PwC, Spotify and Zappos.
Plan A declined to disclose the details of the deal. Essex did confirm, however, that Plan A moved away from a model in which it provided each of its members with a share of equity upon joining sometime in the last quarter of 2019.
“We’ve adopted more of a collective model where it’s more of a membership. We’re packaging a collective of assets who cumulatively have more value as a group than individuals and centralizing platforms and products,” he explained. “We’ve been evolving, always looking for the best and leanest approach.”
Essex said Plan A will be targeting a handful of additional companies as it seeks to round out its capabilities.
“Over the course of the next months, you’ll see a couple more chapters in the novel,” he said.
The new additions follow Plan A and Badger & Winters backing out of a previously announced plan for the agency to become part of the network last September, as Badger & Winters split with client JCPenney.