Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

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What a time to start an ad agency, right?

With ad agencies everywhere watching revenue shrink and cutting staff, it hardly seems the best moment to open a new shop. But don't tell that to the three guys who have just swung open the doors of Third Street Partners, which has offices in Chicago and Indianapolis. The principals behind the new agency are President Sean Smith, who was formerly adult rock WXRT-FM's (93.1) director of marketing and led the station's non-traditional revenue department.

Joining Smith as chief creative officer is David T. Jones, who most recently led the Emerging Platforms division at DraftFCB/Chicago and who currently authors trade publication Adweek's "Ad Land." Third Street's Chief Operating Officer is Andrew Thompson, who formerly was corporate controller at Chicago's BP Capital Management. Smith and Thompson are heading up Indianapolis operations, while Jones is in charge in Chicago.

Third Street describes itself as the first-ever "Attention Agency." The agency's operating philosophy stems from the belief that attention is the foundation of any great business -- meaning attention to the consumer, the brand, the competition, the details and the bottom line. As Smith told us: "By paying attention, an agency such as Third Partners is then able to command attention."

Despite the tough economic climate in which Third Street is launching, Jones believes it's the right thing to do. "Right now, probably the only thing scarier than launching a company is still working for a big one," Jones said. Smith said the agency will unveil its client roster over the next several weeks. The agency's name, by the way, derives from the address of the Indiana University fraternity where the three principals first met.



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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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