Agency veteran Charles Pinkerton is opening up Theseus Communications, his own communications strategy agency that will offer clients communications planning, media planning and buying, search engine marketing as well as programmatic buying.
"With Theseus we are really getting back to an 'artisanal' approach to doing advertising: low overhead, self-ownership, and obsessive focus on clients’ brands and their success," says Pinkerton.
The former Partner at The Media Kitchen will be joined by Director of Strategy Imir Leveque, who was also previously at The Media Kitchen as well as Black Enterprise and Grey. A staff of seven will work out of the Greenpoint, Brooklyn headquarters.
Theseus Communications opens with a client roster that includes New York University’s Stern School of Business, SpiralH Film Productions, The Fowler Art Collective, Virginia Commonwealth University and two start-up fashion designers who will be launching in early 2015.
This agency is designed to be non-traditional, says Pinkerton. "We set up Theseus to get away from the current swirl of who owns whom on Madison Avenue and also to get away from the siloed thinking that is so prevalent in the industry now. You know, creative agencies do creative, digital agencies do digital, media agencies do media, and an IPG agency can’t hire or partner with a WPP agency and so on. I think clients are now realizing that their agencies have become more concerned with themselves than their clients’ business and work."
Another change within the agency is to lessen the reliance on Big Data. "I think the sense that advertising is not only within but also creating our culture has largely been lost in the industry’s recent obsession on Big Data and returns and measurement," says Pinkerton. "Those are there, and are and will be crucial to business, but they are tools, they are a great map to behavior; however, they aren’t telling us much about people and why people buy."
Indeed, the agency's motto is from the famous Albert Einstein quote, “Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge.” "I think everyone found his response very circumspect at the time, but he was saying that having knowledge and mastery of data and math was essential, but to get to break-through solutions takes imagination and creativity. Master the data and craft of communications, but to come up with approaches that are going to change the marketplace is going to take imagination," says Pinkerton.
Another focus will be on working with up-and-coming brands, rather than chasing after well-funded clients. "Everyone talks about Silicon Alley, but within five blocks of our office there are more start-ups than probably in any other ten blocks in the country, if not the world: film production companies, music labels, art collectives, fashion designers, chefs, chocolatiers, coffee roasters, tea ateliers, pastry chefs, bicycle designers, architects, and brewing and distilling companies," says Pinkerton. "These are going to be the companies of the future. No, they don’t have a ton of business and money now, but they will, and we want to help them get there."