Vancouver agency 123w launches

The new West Coast shop was founded by Scot Keith, Jeff Harrison, Bryan Collins and Rob Sweetman.

There’s a new player in Vancouver’s agency landscape with the launch of 123w, from founders Scot Keith, Jeff Harrison, Bryan Collins and Rob Sweetman.

Keith has worked as general manager at Lowe Roche and Zulu Alpha Kilo, and is also the founder and president of Kommunity, where he also continues to work. Jeff Harrison was group creative director and partner at Rethink Canada in Vancouver until leaving in January, and design duo Bryan Collins and Rob Sweetman worked as co-ECDs at Dare Vancouver until earlier this year.

Harrison met Collins and Sweetman when the duo worked at Rethink from 2003 to 2008, and knew Keith from the period when both worked at DDB Canada.

The model for 123w is built more like a business in the movie industry than typical ad shops, says Collins. The four founders will work directly on client work and call in other industry members for projects as necessary on a freelance basis.

“When we first met we talked about our career goals and what we like and don’t like about the business,” he says. “We decided we wanted to do more of the work and not manage as much, we want it to be more of a collective rather than an agency. We are four senior people who are hands-on and work directly with clients when we need to. If we have an app we are working on we will bring programmers and developers to the table. Or we will bring in other senior people if we have more work than we can handle. When clients meet with us they know we will be doing the work, and that makes us happy too.”

Keeping things simple is also the thinking behind the location of the shop (currently a garage space behind Harrison’s house) and the name of the agency (pronounced One Twenty Three West), which was chosen for its directness and relation to Vancouver.

“123w came after about nine months of planning, meeting late at night and coming up with about 15,000 names,” says Sweetman. “The name is the longitude of Vancouver, where we are proud to be from. It’s also about simplicity, we want to be creatively strong but also to simplify the process.”

The agency has been working with clients like Canadian Pacific and Saxx Underwear in the month they have been working together so far.

Simplicity is also behind the website for 123w, which was created using fiverr.com, a site where people list what they will do for $5. Everything on the agency’s website, from bios to the company philosophy is described using Fiverr talent performances.

Photo: Keith, Collins, Harrison and Sweetman…multiplied several times.

  • Elle

    There seems to be little to no estrogen in this photo. Who will keep the agency in line?

  • Go Habs

    There seems to be a lot of talk of the awards they have won in the past. I thought they wanted to reject the typical ad industry BS? Sounds like the same old same.

  • Carly

    Ummm, no women at this agency?

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