Former Amaze commercial director Eli Pinto has been appointed to spearhead what is claimed to be a “new breed” digital agency formed by The Sharp Agency, the business co-founded by ex-Tequila boss Tom Wass.
Pinto, who has taken on the role of chief executive and founder of Sharp Co-Lab, left Amaze in February after two years in the role. Prior to that she had spells at DDB, DigitasLBi and AKQA. In her new role she will also focus on customer experience and service design.
She said the agency aims to attract “ambitious brands committed to customer-first thinking, where digital experiences are collaboratively shaped with consumers”.
In addition, the business is based on a lean structure of “on-demand” experts appointed for each project, who will adopt an agile methodology to prototype, test and iterate.
Pinto added: “Agencies become expensive when clients have to pay for things they don’t need. We are pioneering a model that pulls together a unique ‘crack squad’ for each brief from our approved partner base, ensuring top talent and cost efficiencies. Then, imagine the appeal when we put consumers in the same room as the experts to shape each digital solution.”
Following consultations with clients and agency intermediaries over the past year, Sharp Co-Lab claims it will tackle three of the issues clients face with the current agency model. These include the fact that many struggle to be ‘nimble’ or add value swiftly enough; most agencies fail to include consumers early enough with research and user-testing often validating agency thinking rather than shaping it; and the fact that most relevant teams are not always on the agency’s P&L (the same specialists are used across many projects of completely different nature).
Creative partner Richard Sharp, who has worked on consumer co-creation of ideas for brands including Best Western Hotels, The Co-Op, Ovo Energy, HomeServe and National Union of Students, said: “Sharp Co-Lab is built around concentrating the very best minds in sprint-like processes that engage consumers as partners to the brief from day one.”
Set up in 2009, The Sharp Agency’s management team includes Wass, who launched Tequila in 1992 and grew it to 44 offices across 32 countries, former Rapp Edinburgh managing partner Mandi Taylor, ex-Dig for Fire creative Darlene Sharp as well as Richard Sharp. Its clients include British Cycling, the NUS, Ovo Energy and HomeServe.
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