PwC Australia invests in newly launched Melbourne creative agency Thinkerbell

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 9.15.45 am-thumb-400x266-254519.jpgPwC Australia has today announced an investment in Thinkerbell, the new agency founded by Adam Ferrier (left), Ben Couzens (right) and Jim Ingram (centre) at the beginning of June this year following their departure from Cummins&Partners.

Says Russel Howcroft, chief creative officer, PwC Australia: "It is fantastic to have an interest in one of the most exciting creative start-ups in the market. It's a great fit because Jim, Adam and Ben are absolutely aligned with our belief in how strategic marketing and powerful ideas can drive growth.
"We took a minority interest in Thinkerbell because we wanted to give the founders the space to create the culture and build the team that they want. You don't have to own creativity in order to access it - we're excited about  the potential of this investment."

Thinkerbell founding partner Ben Couzens welcomed PwC's investment, saying: "It's proof of how attractive our proposition is; combining the magic of creativity and the rigour of data led insights. Jim, Adam and I are stoked to be able to use this investment as a catalyst to build a great agency."

PwC's CMO Advisory business was launched in December 2016 and works with clients across brand strategy, marketing strategy, media assurance, market insights, marketing performance analytics, marketing structure and operations.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 9.28.32 am-thumb-400x171-254522.jpgThinkerbell was set up in June 2017 and launched with the proposition of 'measured magic' with the company logo a cross between Rodin's 'The Thinker' - representing scientific enquiry - and Tinkerbell, representing magic.

Before starting Thinkerbell Ferrier, Ingram and Couzens have worked on iconic ideas including the Victoria Bitter Melbourne Symphony Orchestra campaign, Share A Coke, Bonds Boobs, Art Series Steal Banksy, and the Schweppes Burst commercial. 

59 Comments

without doubt said:

still the stupidest/most wanky name for an agency I have ever seen.

Really? said:

Share a Coke too?

Johnny said:

Interesting times! Ps I like the name.

Groucho said:


Like quinoa, coconut water, and colonic irrigation this silly trend for consultancy companies to try to own agencies will go away.

Penis in a shoe? said:

Well done!

That name... said:

I'm still annoyed they didn't go with my name suggestion

'Snakes On A Brain'

You're welcome.

honest bob said:

PWC has backed them since the beginning.

this is just measured spin.

Maurice said:

Chris Ford will be surprised to know that these guys were in his brain when he came up with Share a Coke.

Donald Dick said:


There are so many things wrong with the way they have gone about this.

You don't sell the farm before you've improved the land.

But hey...

And.. said:

This ladies and gentleman is why agencies are becoming irrelevant. Madness, but well done to the guys for creating nothing and selling it, fine art in that.

Penis in a Shoe said:

Well done!

Share A Coke ?? said:

You mean that global campaign which got activated here in AU with virtually no local involvement.

That is a pretty cheeky thing to include onto your resumes, especially when you list it as 'an iconic idea you have worked on'.

Share a Credit said:

Oh yeah...if you believe Adam, he came up with the idea.

Magnum PI said:

As if this was not in the works before they left Cummins & Partners.

Still all happy campers, Sean?

Penis in a Shoe said:

Well done!

@ Share a coke said:

Other way around dumbass. It originated in Sydney and got rolled our globally.

@Share A Coke ?? said:

You are talking shit. And you clearly have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know about Chris Ford, but 'Share a Coke' was conceptualised and created in Sydney by Ogilvy Sydney. Then it got sold to 80 markets worldwide. Some of the people who worked on it are still there. You are just talking crap.

For the record said:

To all those who think this PWC partnership 'idea' was hatched prior to them leaving C&P, or just after they left, you're wrong. It's a relatively recent discussion and one
I think will prove to be the right one. Good luck gents.

It will get ugly. said:

This has mess written all over it.

Epic said:

Good luck to PWC and Thinkerbell. I'm sure it will be as epic this 13 Cabs magic.

https://youtu.be/iBMWON543rU

For the attorneys said:

@for the record

You sound like one of the partners.

Don't litigate by comments.

This looks and smells bad.

This will end in tears! said:

The new CCO is under loads of pressure. Yet to make an impact and this deal is not even gonna make a ripple with the partners. Stay tuned peeps.

Dear For the Attorneys @6:07pm said:

Wrong. Not a partner. Not an employee. Never worked with or for them. Just someone who knows.

LOL said:

"Hey Siri, download the 13-CABS app!"

Absolute genius.

Audit? said:

In the interests of transparency, can we put PwC's audit practice to work proving whether or not the deal was hatched before they left Cummins?

Heartbeats said:

How didn't Jim and Cuz never get called out for ripping off the Sony Bravia bouncy balls ad which dropped less than a year before their Schweppes knock-off?

Gruen Viewer said:


"The magic of creativity and the rigour of data led insight"

https://youtu.be/iBMWON543rU

Yeah. Ummm, ok...

lol said:

"It's proof of how attractive our proposition is; combining the magic of creativity and the rigour of data led insights."

lol - like this is a new thing or something??? Hilarious how these old advertising cats are now holding onto this like it's a secret weapon or something.

Welcome to the internet. Please follow me....

Valuation?? said:

In all seriousness, how would PWC put a value on a 12 week old agency?

Entitlement fairy said:

They can say they're doing it for themselves and going it alone (so they get out of any previous obligations).

They can say they worked on Share a Coke (even though someone else came up with it).

They can talk about applying data and magic (when previously none of their campaigns they did together worked or got much creative recognition).

The rules don't apply to these guys, it would seem.

I love the smell of fear in the morning said:

It is interesting to read so many negative, doomsday comments on this thread amidst the odd "good onyas". What is there to fear? Times change, things evolve and entities experiment and explore new ways of doing things. It may or may not work for Thinkerbell and PwC but, at least, they are having a go, as Pollyanna a statement that may sound.
Investment in one category of business by another seemingly different type of business or even one mildly related is not unusual; God forbid, there may be something the average punter on this blog thread may not be privy to as to how this came about. I personally don't think the demise of advertising is on the horizon because PwC or Accenture invest in an agency with a name as whacky as any other independent in the last ten years (Three Drunk Monkeys, anyone?). What may be the death knell of advertising is the pathetic cynicism and continuous destructive commentary masquerading as wisdom. As I said before, call me Pollyanna, Tinkerbell or Whatever-The-Fuck-Your-Sad-Little-Bruised-Ego-Comes-Up-With, but I wish them the best of luck. Why not? Try it, you might feel better.

If they weren't so rich said:

I'd feel sorry for them.

Karl said:

Wow. Having been OS for a bit I'd forgotten how many twats live to undercut their peers back home. Looks like tall poppy syndrome is still very much alive and well. Well done Jim and Cuz.

@ I love the smell of ferrier in the morning said:

Well said Adam.

Best of luck and best wishes to the three of you.

You deserve every success.

Jason Rose said:

I find it interesting that the advertising industry holds itself out as being a key engine room of commerce yet so many people on here take such a negative and cynical view of three guys taking the entrepreneurial plunge and chalking up a (modest) win.

The industry is changing and these guys, who I don't know, are positioning themselves to take advantage of those changes. And even at this early stage, PwC sees value in getting involved.

I think that's worthy of being commended rather than picked apart.

Aza said:

So here we have a few aussies trying to start a small business and look at the response from guys.
What ever happened to giving someone a fair go? Let them have a crack. "Australians all ...." and all that jazz.
Be great to see the industry support eachother for once. Would love to see all the negative comments posted when the Monkeys started!

For the record, in my time with him I have found a certain partner of the trio a little arrogant. Humility is also a great aussie trait.
I do wish them all the best.

Move on said:

Most of these negative comments are from Cummins' staffers. No surprise there.

Alex Wadelton said:

We should all be congratulating them for getting up, setting up their own thing, and controlling their destiny. You can't be stuck making money for somebody else forever. Get out their and do it. Well done Jim, Cuz, and Adam.

Detective said:

Ha. There's a bunch of comments here that appear to come from someone who was in the room when these guys resigned. Doesn't take a genius to figure out who that might be...

Detective said:

Ha. There's a bunch of comments here that appear to come from someone who was in the room when these guys resigned. Doesn't take a genius to figure out who that might be...

Adam Ferrier said:


Just want to clarify two things.

1. Soon after we resigned we had several offers of investment. We went with the one that best fitted us and we're stoked to have PwC as a partner.

2. Share a Coke was the result of an extremely close collaboration between many people and agencies. I did not have the idea for it (it came out of Ogilvy creative department) our agency was charged with communications strategy of the idea.

Thanks all.

In summary said:

The worst named agency in all of adland makes the worst investment decision of all of adland.

At least we won't have to see their stupid logo for much longer.

@Aza said:

I'd say 2/3.

Sean Cummins said:


At the risk of pandering to the mischief makers..we don't condone commentary by our staff. And the implications here are just inaccurate.
To the matter at hand...we wish Thinkerbell the best for the future and this latest news is part of their success plan.

I had asked flat out to the guys whether PWC was in the mix when they told of their news to start their own gig. They said no. And I choose to believe them. Maybe it's plausible deniability or its the truth. I don't care. Our agency is having its best year ever with new business wins and new work. We couldn't be happier. We have the highest regard for the guys and meanwhile we are getting on with our own business. It's slightly more important to us than this stuff.

888 Metal said:

Three sucessful, awarded, experienced and entrepreneurial guys having a go. That's it. Whoever is wasting their time here putting them down and generating controversy is a dick, is jealous of them or doesn't know them much. They have brains, they have brawn and deserve all success. F U Haters. Ride the tiger, Thinkerbell. Regards, DIO.

Emma Watton said:

*sigh* The dark side of human nature emerges with an anonymous face. Again.

I work with ad agencies, I work with big consultancies. They both have something great to offer when ego can be kept in check. The combination has the potential to be very powerful. And profitable.

Best of luck Thinkerbell.

888 Metal said:

Three sucessful, awarded, experienced and entrepreneurial guys having a go. That's it. Whoever is wasting their time here putting them down and generating controversy is a dick, is jealous of them or doesn't know them much. They have brains, they have brawn and deserve all success. F U Haters. Ride the tiger, Thinkerbell. Regards, DIO.

Believe it, or not. said:

Sean,
Just to provide you some comfort, what they told you was the truth.
They were going alone and did just that.
Agencies approached them - we were one of them. (Knowing your nose for business,
I wouldn't be surprised if you offered to partner them as well).
As they described their positioning and offering it became clear we would bring little to the partnership other than some money - and that wasn't what they wanted in a partner.
They never once criticised C&P, or you.
My feeling is, that following all the PR surrounding the Monkeys and Works deals, PWC felt a need to put their toe in the water with a creative agency partner, rather than solely access contracted creative services when needed, as had been their public position on creative agency purchases. Russel's 'you don't have to own creativity to access it' has been PWC's mantra from day one of Russel's appointment.
I think this partnership allows PWC to own a little and access s lot.
Having spoken to Thinkerbell in depth ourselves, I think this is the right partnership for them and PWC.
I wish them, C&P, and anyone else with the guts to start a business, good luck.


Ivanka Trump said:

I am reading this in my dad's voice.

A person who deals in automotive analogies said:

Perhaps PWC simply see future value in an investment and want to get in early before the price skyrockets.

An example from another field: Car number plates.

Last night at Shannons Sydney Auction someone paid $2,450,000 for NSW 4.

You might think that's loony, but check out the market for buying and reselling low-digit plates.

It's gone though the roof.

What looks crazy today may look prudent in years to come.

Gold said:

Melbourne bitching at each other. Priceless.

METAL 888 said:

Three creative, experienced, awarded and entrepreneurial dudes having a go. That's all. Good luck to them. Everyone wasting their time in here making negative comments is a dick, is jealous or never met these guys. F U Haters. Ride the Tiger, Thinkerbell. DIO.

Hmm said:

Didn't PWC once rename themselves "Monday" before hastily reverting back? At least they have a taste for truly shithouse business names in common.

Sam said:

I wonder who could be motivated enough to come back to this thread, disgruntled,and both old and interested enough in the Monday thing to make that connection?

@Sam said:

The answer is this:

Don't underestimate the fascination and determination some of us have to unload our petty, vindictive or simply smartarse bile-ridden comments on this or any other thread.

Some of us, particularly the elderly and/or unemployed, have a lot of time on our hands, and enjoy nothing more than showing our superiority by sneering at others - all under the velvety cloak of anonymity!

I'm not 'Hmm', but part of me admires his/her - most likely his - nerdlike knowledge and/or memory of tiny, microscopic details that no reasonable person would have any interest in.

Toby Ralh said:

Smart people working with smart people sounds like a good idea to me.

@Toby Ralh said:

Toby, please try to spell your name correctly to avoid looking foolish, drunk or both.

Ricky Bobby said:

If you ain't first you're last. Crack on guys, at least you're having a go rather than leaving sooky comments.

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