Carney, Essex Out To Build A Federation

Move Over Sir Martin, you’re not the only one in the Adland empire-building business.

You have company in the form of MT Carney and Andrew Essex, who have just launched Plan A. Their plan: to build an entire federation of businesses designed to deliver strategic and creative brand-marketing services at scale. Most earthlings might call it a would-be holding company, but that’s another matter.

In any event, both know a thing or two about helping to build companies from the ground up. Carney was cofounder of Naked Communications, an early specialist in communications planning. She’s also a UM alum and went on to become the top marketer at Disney.

After Disney, Carney founded Untitled Worldwide, a marketing and communications firm that’s part of the budding federation along with ad shop Van’s General Store, content creator Twin Studio and social-first content maker Beekman Social.

Essex helped David Droga build Drogra5 during its first decade or so before leaving in 2015. He then headed Tribeca Enterprises, which puts on the similarly named film festival each year.

Unlike Cannes this year, there’s a bit of star power at the federation. Van’s General Store was cofounded by actor Liev Schreiber, who plays one scary Hollywood fixer on Showtime’s "Ray Donovan."

And there’s a star-studded bevvy of strategic investor/senior advisors, including CAA founder (and Disney alum) Michael Ovitz, MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian and Group Nine CEO Ben Lerer.

I love this quote from Carney. She says the firm was conceived to “tap dance on the top of the funnel.” Translation: help drive growth for clients. Only stated with far more panache.

If it’s one thing a startup needs these days, it’s a dash of panache, don’t you think?


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