Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA Agency News: A week in agencyland 29/01/21

Each week, NDA will be rounding up news in agencyland, from new campaigns to partnerships and collaborations.

WIRE has announced its merger with John Doe. The two have come together to create a ‘production house for stories’ on a single-minded mission – build brands recognised for who they are and why they matter. Combining disciplines, including PR, advertising, research, digital, planning, experiential and a content studio, the newly formed John Doe Group will focus on getting brands, including their own, talked about in a lasting way – both across channels and across the country. Following a year of growth in 2020 for both John Doe and WIRE, the group is also announcing new business wins with Tesco Mobile and Anglepoise. The agency has been appointed in different capacities, including developing brand purpose and advocacy campaigns, content creation and meaningful share of voice through PR.

Bala has chosen Brightpearl and Shopify to help bring its new innovative footwear for nurses to market for the first time. BALA was founded in Portland in the fall of 2020, with the team’s aim to take pre-orders by September and fulfil by December, meaning they needed both a new website and a system to manage the heart of the firm’s operations ready to go in rapid succession. This could have been a lengthy process. but the brand opted to combine the power of Brightpearl at the heart of operations and Shopify’s ecommerce software powering the online store – meaning the business was up and running in just eight weeks. Brightpearl’s digital operations platform will act as a centralised source of truth, providing BALA with total visibility and control over its stock levels, a real-time view of inventory, sales and reporting for data-driven decision making, and the ability to automate its entire operation, from the moment the customer places an order, all the way through to shipping and returns.

Born Social, the London-based social media agency, has today announced a management buyout with the six-strong leadership team taking a 75% share of the business. The leadership team is made up of Dan Jarrett, Executive Finance Director and Partner; Abbey Mills, Executive Client Services Director and Partner; Ben Tyson, CEO and Partner; Charlotte Hamill, COO and Partner; Callum McCahon, Executive Strategy Director and Partner and Paddy Smith, ECD and Partner. The founders, Rob O’Donovan and Ben Gateley, will retain a 25% stake but will no longer sit on the board.

LAB Group’s Group Client Services Director Steve Radjen has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to charity, as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours 2021 list. Radjen has been involved with Naomi House & Jacksplace, Wessex hospices for children and young adults, since 2004 when his support began with a one-off marathon to raise money. Since then, he has raised £350,000 for the charity. In 2012, he decided to step up his efforts further, partaking in the Marathon des Sables. His aim was to raise £50,000 in the year he turned 50, opting for the toughest footrace in the world, which consists of six marathons in seven days across the Sahara Desert. Through this endeavour, he raised £87,000. On his return, he organised a Gala Ball for the charity, which was attended by 250 people.

His sky-high thinking culminated in 2018 when he decided to step up the game yet again and take on the challenge of running 21 marathons in 21 consecutive days. The goal was to raise a substantial amount of money for Naomi House & Jacksplace to mark the charity’s 21st anniversary. The target of £100,000 was once again exceeded, with Radjen raising a staggering £180,000 through sponsorships and ticket sales to another Gala Ball, this time attended by 400 people. It was at that Gala Ball where he came up with the idea of funding a nurse for an entire year. At the event, he asked 20 guests to come up on stage and pledge £1,500. He ended up raising £40,000. LAB Group have been supportive along the way. In 2018, as part of his 21 marathons in 21 days challenge, other members of staff joined him on the track: Matt Lloyd, Senior Account Manager ran three marathons; Rachel Howe, Chief Finance Officer and Andy Mason, Group Chief Operating Officer ran a marathon each; and Tom Head, Co-Founder and Board Member ran half a marathon.

Platform Communications has announced it has been appointed as the global communications partner for IBC, a world-leading event and online community for the media, entertainment, and technology industries. IBC will leverage the strength of Platform’s relationships with media and analysts to ensure that the IBC community is kept informed and updated with all the exciting activity and announcements around the IBC show. Platform will support IBC with an integrated strategic communications program, including content creation, media relations, and sales enablement.

TikTok and VaynerMedia have unveiled its new #SeaShanty TV campaign to celebrate the platform’s community of creators. Inspired by a TikTok user’s rendition of a sea shanty, which went viral overnight and sparked an entire community of creators to join in and create the first major trend of 2021. Inspired by the viral #SeaShanty trend, TikTok and VaynerMedia launched a new creative campaign on Saturday as part of their commitment to nurture an environment where the talent, ideas and creativity of creators can flourish, both on TikTok and beyond. The 30-second video is a video montage illustrating the evolution of the #SeaShanty trend triggered by Nathan Evans, highlighting the massive impact of the platform and its creators. The TV ad is being aired on Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and BT Sports.

In its first TV ad for TikTok, VaynerMedia wants to spotlight the platform’s ability to inspire, but also encourage a greater volume, breadth and depth of content which can be sparked by the smallest and strangest cultural moments. The campaign epitomises Vayner’s approach to identifying what resonates in culture, and leaning in and investing to inspire further growth. The creative approach was to create a highly impactful video that viewers can relate to, through visual storytelling that highlights the platform’s users. Vayner’s consumer-centric method to advertising allows them to develop meaningful content befitting for modern audiences.

After a 12 – month review process, total experience agency Tribal Worldwide, part of Omnicom’s DDB network, has retained Volkswagen’s global digital marketing account. Tribal Worldwide, part of Omnicom’s DDB network, has held the VW digital account since launching in 2000 as a full-service digital shop. A spokesman for Volkswagen UK has said the contract with Tribal Worldwide will mean that Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are as ‘digitally open’ as possible for customers.

Digital transformation agency Equator has launched two new websites for premium housebuilding company CALA Group for its CALA Homes and Legal & General Homes brands. Equator was tasked with creating a top-class user experience journey, along with a roadmap of aspirations to revolutionise the home-buying experience for an online audience. The project entailed a complete redesign and build of new Umbraco websites, as well as integration with Salesforce, to help CALA Group stand out as leader in the new build market. The new websites feature enhanced search capabilities, an intuitive way of surfacing developments, plots and incentives, as well as a login area for potential buyers. The customer portal acts as a hub where key decisions can be made about the customer’s home search preferences.

AR and 3D creative platform Poplar Studio have launched an augmented reality (AR) Instagram filter to celebrate the auction of the most valuable Old Master painting to ever appear at Sotheby’s. Expected to sell for over $80 million later this week, Sandro Botticelli’s Young Man Holding a Roundel is a Renaissance masterpiece. With the AR filter, Sotheby’s Instagram followers will be able to experience what it would be like to hang the exquisite piece of art on the walls of their homes. The partnership represents the collision of two worlds: a 550-year-old work of art displayed through cutting-edge technology. The art industry is one of many – including retail and cosmetics – to turn to digital experiences to generate the high levels of in-person engagement they enjoyed pre-pandemic. Poplar Studio’s effect is Sotheby’s first-ever use of an AR filter on Instagram. It will be available to Sotheby’s 1.3million followers, evidence of a growing desire to provide tangible experiences for consumers and boost engagement through AR technology.

Lakeland’s spring catalogue, designed by their long-standing lead creative agency chs, lands on doormats across the UK this week. The 200-page bumper catalogue is highlighted by key themes of wholesome cooking and spring cleaning and was lovingly created by full-service agency chs in collaboration with Lakeland’s in-house team of copywriters. chs’s responsibilities included creative, page production and photography. The launch of this year’s spring catalogue also marks a key milestone between the two companies, who first started their working partnership 25 years ago in 1996.The Dorset-based agency were also tasked to create Lakeland’s new year creative campaign. The ‘Love the little things’ campaign acknowledges just how different life is to all their customers right now, highlighting the little wins you can try to make while we’re all spending so much time at home. The new campaign theme will run through print catalogues and Lakeland’s retail, social and digital outputs throughout the first half of the year.

The Nonvoice agency, which specialises in representing world-class 5G app developers, has announced that it has signed up the innovative XO Mixed Reality multiplayer game designed by digital innovation studio, Upside. The game is based on the basic principles of Tic-Tac-Toe (also known as Noughts and Crosses) and enables players to visualize their moves in 3D. The XO game has been developed to attract users who are keen to adopt the new 5G and Edge Computing technologies that are starting to rollout on mobile phone devices. These new technologies bring with them higher bandwidth and lower latency which greatly improves the overall user experience for mobile gamers. For example, they will be able to stream high-quality content in real-time therefore reducing the common problems experienced by multi-player game play using mobile and fixed connections.

Media planning and buying agency Wavemaker continues to work with Asahi UK and Ireland to drive its brands forward for 2021. Wavemaker has enjoyed a strong partnership with Asahi UK and Ireland (owners of premium beer, ale and cider brands including, Asahi Super Dry, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Grolsch Pilsner, Meantime, Fuller’s London Pride and Cornish Orchards) since 2012. This win gives the agency an opportunity to continue the relationship with the global brewers as they prepare for an exciting year of activity. The pitch was conducted at the end of 2020 and included innovations like a 48-hour response.

Pencil, the creative AI company, are introducing the latest innovation in advertising with their Machine Generated Creative (MGC) as opposed to UGC. These are ads created using AI, which are able to learn and are already delivering results for brands. Pencil is able to generate 1 new video ad concept per minute, leveraging proprietary algorithms for video generation and OpenAI’s GPT-3 for copy generation. Pencil analysed over 100 campaigns that used MGC video ads over the past 6 months and found the best MGC ads delivered an average return on ad spend (ROAS) 2x that of other ads the brands were running. One brand’s MGC campaign delivered 7x higher ROAS.