When The Assembly, a creative collective, lumbered into being in 2009 it announced it would use (rather than directly employ) 12 executive creative directors and ten creative directors. Why a collective should need an executive anything is a bit of a mystery, let alone a dozen of them.
Anyway the agency (let’s call it that for simplicity) brings together people from advertising, art, music and architecture among other things. Founders Trevor Hardy (a former Andersen consultant) and Clive Tanqueray (once European marketing director for Citibank) first teamed up at a not startlingly successful offshoot of AMV and media buyer PHD, Lunar BBDO.
But the notion of aggregating talent as and when it’s needed is enduringly popular (it’s what former JWT New York chiefs Ty Montague and Rosemarie Ryan are trying to do with Co:) and so far The Assembly has worked for Turning Leaf wines and Penguin books among others.
Ernst & Young is a challenge of a different order but the big four auditing firms are undoubtedly mega-brands, carving up the world’s big companies between them. Ernst & Young has slipped behind PwC (as it’s now known after constant brand twiddling) and Deloitte. KPMG seems more interested in consultancy and financial fixing these days but it’s still up there.
The Assembly beat formidable opposition in BBH and Engine to the Ernst & Young business. One would imagine that the ‘collective’ structure makes them cheaper than such opposition but you never can tell.
Anyway new model agencies come and go but so far The Assembly seems to be confounding the sceptics (me).