When accomplished adman Linus Karlsson decided to launch a new agency last year with fellow industry vets Brian DiLorenzo and Tara DeVeaux, the motivation was to create a nimble shop with the ability to create across multiple platforms and make things for brands that transcended communications. “We’re living in one of the most creative moments in history,” Karlsson said at the time. “We’re slowly transitioning off almost 60 years of managing messages to a world where doing things and creating experiences is everything. Suddenly, everything is possible. That’s how we feel about things, and that’s inspired us to start Ming.”
This week Ming Utility and Entertainment Group took another step in its early life to explore new areas of brand experience by opening The Store, a retail space within its New York office located in New York’s South Street Seaport neighborhood. The creative shop has partnered with Tom Dixon to feature select products from the British designer’s line of home and office wares.
Karlsson says The Store is about showcasing great thinkers and great makers of things. “As communicators so often we’re behind the scenes, but it’s also important to not only be a communicator and entrepreneur, but also a merchant,” says Karlsson, a Swede who gained fame creating campaigns like Miller Lite’s “Dick” at Fallon before launching the U.S. office of Mother and then moving McCann and later McCann unit Commonwealth. “By teaming up with others and doing some things differently, it could teach us a lot and possibly inspire new types of retail.”
Essentially, the store will be an R&D lab for both collaborating with other brands but also testing out design and retail concepts. “It gives you credibility with clients because you have this experience and better understand the rules of engagement in retail,” says Karlsson. “It’s all blurring–entrepreneurship, communications, retail–you need to understand all of it and I like that.”
The Dixon shop partnership will be for three months, after which Ming will team with another brand. Karlsson says the idea is to have four different collaborations every year.
According to Karlsson, Ming has been busy working on short- and long-term projects for about six different brands. Karlsson says they’re working with Bacardi to design a new brand, building it from the ground up. The agency also recently won a Bronze pencil at The One Show for mobile UX design for Swedish Match’s “Altitude Drop” app.