In London, ad agency shakes up the ‘Mad Men’ model

As business partners, Stephen Wise and Tom Maverley were set up on the equivalent of a blind date.

“We were introduced to each other by the CEO of a big ad agency,” Maverley explains. “He said: ‘You should work on a project with my mate Stephen. I think you two would get on well together.’”

It turned out that their ideas about the future of advertising were very much in sync. The pair quickly developed plans to launch Trigger, an agency designed to take on the traditional content models.

What’s makes Trigger different? Instead of one team putting together all of your content, Trigger provides you with access to a global network of 2,700 professionals. This access ensures clients will always have access to top creative talent.

“Relying on the same people to do all the work doesn’t make sense in this world,” Maverley explains. “How can you expect someone who’s epic at writing an advert for a newspaper to come up with a concept for a virtual reality tour?”

Wise says technology enables them to connect brands with “the best people for every campaign.”

“The example I give is a TV show like Mad Men,” says Wise. “Ad agencies should be a million miles from that model today. The world has changed so much, adding mobile, social, and digital channels to the mix. The old school vision of an agency just doesn’t work any more, yet it’s surprising how many companies still work that way”

Based at London’s WeWork Moorgate, the company has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2014, working with some of the world’s biggest companies, including Panasonic, Puma, and General Mills.

Now ready to take it to the next level, the founders have decided to apply for the London WeWork Creator Awards. Taking home one of the top prizes would allow Trigger to expand globally, with an ambition to establish satellite offices in new markets such as New York City and Singapore.

Over the course of the year, WeWork will be giving out more than $20 million at Creator Awards ceremonies in cities spanning the globe. The next event will take place in London on September 14. Applications are being accepted until August 24.

Regional winners will have the opportunity to compete at the global finals in New York City’s massive Barclays Center on November 30.

The three categories of Creator Awards include the Incubate Award for great ideas or specific projects that need funding, and the Launch Award for young businesses and organizations that need a little help getting off the ground. Trigger plans to compete in the Scale category, which is for more established operations aiming to get to the next level.

In the past few months, Creator Awards have been given out in Austin, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. Finalists in these competitions say the application process couldn’t be easier.

Wise and Maverley will be putting together a 90-second video outlining why they should be among the next round of finalists this month.

“We’re meeting on this next week,” says Maverley. “Obviously we’re a content company, so we want to produce something slick which represents everything we stand for.”

Having worked together for seven years now, Wise and Maverley say they’re still very much on the same page as far as where their business is headed.

“I’ve often heard about entrepreneurs having a moment of panic when they strike out on their own, but we have never had that,” says Maverley. “For us it was more that friends and family were the ones saying, ‘How can you do that?’”

Wise says they don’t regret starting Trigger for a moment.

“The reason we get along so well is that Tom and I have similar personalities,” Wise says. “We believe so much in what we’re doing—why we set up our business, and why it’s different. And that pushes you to do more.”

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