Simone Bartley and Gary Hardwick behind new full-service agency Together Co

the founder of Together Co: (l-r) Gary Hardwick, Simone Bartley, Matt Berriman

the founder of Together Co: (l-r) Gary Hardwick, Simone Bartley, Tim Berriman

Former Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney CEO Simone Bartley and Ikon Communications co-founder Gary Hardwick are two of the high-profile names behind a new full-service agency with bases in Sydney and New York.

The new agency Together Co is an amalgamation of Hardwick’s Ikon3 business, Bartley’s We Think consultancy and Tim Berriman’s content creation agency Viscious, and will offer a “new model” for full-service agencies.

Hardwick told Mumbrella: “Clients are looking for change. Marketers are struggling with a lot of difference agencies. By bringing together three highly specialist agencies with their own unique USPs into one proposition.

“We can take a brief and work on it from New York and from Sydney. We will look to build a local team in terms of media buying to work with the NY team, as when it comes to buying that will be done locally.”

The agency already has 21 staff from the existing businesses, as well as Australian clients in Finnair, Breville and Reckon One, and US clients including Paypal, Target and USA Today.

Hardwick was a founder of Ikon Communications in 1999 along with Simon White until 2010, when he sold his stake in the business and moved to New York to open Ikon3, an unrelated agency. Bartley was CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney from 2005 to 2009, and founded consultancy We Think in 2010.

Other staff members include former director of media strategy for Weiden + Kennedy Greg March as lead media and media strategist, Crispin Porter and Bogusky head of channel planning Todd Alchin as lead creative strategist and Geoffrey King as programmatic and optimisation lead.

Strategy and thinking are two of the key differentiators for the new agency, according to Hardwick, who admitted he was puzzled why so many agencies use strategy as a value add for clients.

“I don’t understand why strategy is given away on the side  as companies chase down additional revenues around implementation, which are low margin anyway,” he added.

He pointed to the success of Cummins & Partners and Razor as a full service agency in Australia to illustrate the hunger for the model in Australia, as well as Leo Burnett taking the planing part of the Diageo media account.

“Simone and I are undertaking a roadshow over the next few days with a lot of senior marketers to explain the new model,” he said. “A lot have been honest and said they’re happy with their agencies, but they’re still getting us in to present the model, and  we’ve had no problem in opening doors.”

He added: “Part of the appeal is the high level of strategic thinking we can use. We can take a brief from a client and turn it around in 48-72 hours, often with several solutions clients are happy with.”

Whilst discussions around combining the agencies have been ongoing for some months the new offering was only soft launched last month. Recruitment is still ongoing, with Hardwick saying they are “handpicking” their targets.

Hardwick said it was important for the agency it was independent as it looks to establish itself, saying: “For us it’s important we’re able to handpick clients and projects as we go, and that wouldn’t be possible with pressure from a holding group.

“We already have revenues coming in from existing clients, and we’re keen to build new revenue streams, but it’s important to do it on our terms.”

He admitted the agency would “not be picking up any agency of record media accounts any time soon”, but said it wanted to build a strong offering in that department.

Alex Hayes


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