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Life partners reveal full details on TMS breakaway

After months of speculation, Birmingham start-up agency Life has announced its official launch.

The initial details of the agency's inception were first revealed in The Drum last year after it was discovered members of The Marketing Store's management team had broken away to launch a new business. At the time, and for the last eight months, the individuals involved have remained tight-lipped. However, after a successful start, Life's founding partners David Poole and Ian Humphris have now stepped forward to reveal details about the agency.

Poole and Humpris were both previously managing director of TMS, but left the business in November 2007, taking with it Mars - one of the pair's biggest clients. They have now revealed this was successfully negotiated with TMS and the brands involved – allowing the client, rather than directors’ contracts, to determine whom they would prefer to work with.

Since then, the agency has secured a retained contract with Cravendale and, following a pitch, has won work with Chicago Town - another former client of TMS.

“Every new agency claims to offer something different," says Poole, "but the fact that such high profile brands have moved to join us proves that Life really does. Our experience and approach means that we can provide clients with services that they would normally need to appoint several agencies in order to deliver successfully. This means that we can work more intelligently, more creatively, and ultimately deliver exceptional results.

“This approach works well for our new clients, and was also the best way for us to continue to support those we worked with previously. We have always known that this is the best way to work, and clearly our clients agree.

“It has given us the opportunity to create an agency that reflects mine and Ian’s personal approach of never accepting that things cannot be done in a better, brighter or more exciting way.”

The agency is known to have launched with a handful of former TMS staff and has grown from 12 to 30 over the course of 2008. It has prompted Poole and Humphris to start the process of relocating the business to a new city centre office with space for up to 100 staff.

Commenting on Life's 'Question Everything' approach, Humphris said: “For over five years agencies have only used two words to talk about themselves; integrated and creative. This should be taken for granted. Agencies should use the precious time they have with clients talking about something more interesting.

“We think talk should be based on questions. Ask questions, listen harder, understand more and set the agenda based on this business & commercial insight. Life’s Question Everything attitude means we generally avoid trying to answer a client’s brief. We either write the brief or pitch our questions; and it works, in the last eight months we’ve beaten BD Nt-Wk, Billington’s, Grey, Carlson and Joshua using this approach.”

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