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Blow for Interpublic as Craftworks production boss Fred Schuster goes it alone with new hybrid agency Fred&Co

unnamed-7The production agency/support agency business, currently dominated by TAG, just got a bit more interesting with the decision by Fred Schuster (left) to quit as CEO of Interpublic’s recently-established in-house operation Craftworks to start his own business, Fred&Co.

Schuster, who’ll be based in Brooklyn, New York, will also have a European outpost in Dublin. Before IPG he was boss of WPP/Ogilvy’s Redworks.

Schuster says his new company will: “Will work directly with client marketing teams, to help generate a better creative product while improving operational efficiencies. It will do this by offering agency relationship support and supervision, internal brand and creative direction, and messaging workshops. Fred&Co. will also collaborate with creative agencies of all sizes to offer improved operational effectiveness and commercial performance by providing enhanced business and sales focus training, improved process efficiencies, and streamlining talent structures.”

Which sounds like quite a lot but such agencies seem to be flavour of the year at the moment. Two former BBH London creatives recently announced they were breaking away to form another hybrid agency Wilderness.

Clients, who now find themselves dealing with an ever-longer list of agencies as the business fragments, seems to be glad of such services. The big marcoms companies are making strenuous efforts to supply these themselves. WPP has print-based business Hogarth and video company Gramercy Park Studios. IPG evidently felt it could do the same with Schuster and Craftworks.

Once upon a time the media men in agencies were the backroom boys who did a lot of the work (and made a lot of the money). Then they decided to go their own way – and make money for themselves and enjoy the spotlight. It seems as though the production boys (and girls, no doubt) are coming round to the same way of thinking.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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