Campaign broke the story earlier today, as did Peterson himself via a series of Instagram posts that we can’t properly embed here at the moment. (He appears to have deleted all of the other material on his account beforehand.)
The Times website claims that the company offers clients and creatives “a new model,” defining each of its “members” as either “creators” or “producers.” According to a press release, the cultural content agency is build around a model of “members, sans employees,” with producers Greg Weinstein and Pat Corcoran joining Peterson as founding members.
“This is the golden age of creativity in advertising,” Peterson said in a statement. “Times have changed. Advertising is no longer passive. Consumers now opt into your marketing and want to see themselves reflected in your brand. Agencies can no longer talk at consumers. We must speak with them.”
“We aim to enrich the client/agency relationship—transforming the old, tired way of doing things in the creator/branding space,” added Corcoran. “Our intention is to treat talent the way they should be treated, by giving them the tools to get the most out of the relationship. Creators working with creators.”
In addition to its founders, so far the member roster includes creators Jake Osmun, Liam Trumble and Kim Kovacik and producers Nikko Washington and Lexi Chionis.
Havas and Peterson parted ways back in November, following controversy over the “Employee of the Month” exhibit Peterson created in response to anonymous comments on Fishbowl criticizing executive leadership at the agency. Peterson earlier faced controversy last August following the release of an odd internal video in which he called agencies BBDO and Leo Burnett as “shitty” while declaring Havas’ real competitors to be “kids with iPhones”
His new agency aims to tap into those kids’ potential, utilizing a “vast network of content creators, photographers, videographers, social media innovators and more” in order to offer clients “modern content utility, saving them time and money traditional corporate bureaucracy cannot,” according to a press release.
Peterson told Campaign that Havas “allowed him to take five people from the company following his departure in November last year,” which may refer to the aforementioned non-founding members.
Havas declined to comment on that detail. A party representing The Times did not reply to a request for comment.
Of course, there’s a lot missing here. We’ll presumably see more in the coming weeks.