Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA Agency News: The Keenfolks, Distinctly, Harbour Collective, VCCP and more

Barcelona digital creative agency The Keenfolks has opened an office in New York after securing significant demand for its innovative digital strategies across the US. The expansion comes in the same week the agency was named Best Agency of the Year 2021 in the Digiday Marketing and Advertising Awards. The award recognizes The Keenfolks’ growth and work in providing digital transformation services that allow its global client portfolio to better understand their consumers in a digital-first world. The move to the US creates 10 new jobs within the diverse team of 100 that currently comes from 26 countries and speaks 18 languages. The Keenfolks will bolster its team further through its Keen Academy internship programme, which is open to college and university graduates from across the globe and has already launched careers in digital for 45 team members. 

Hertfordshire and London based digital marketing agency Distinctly has announced the launch of their new brand and website after continued growth has seen the agency double in size over the past 18 months. The new website and brand identity reflect the agency’s supercharged growth and mission to continue pushing boundaries as they move into the next phase of their expansion. The agency is keen to showcase the fantastic work they do with both local and international businesses and believes the refresh will take them to the next level of growth. Distinctly has also introduced its first graduate training programme for budding digital marketers. The agency, which has been hiring graduates and career changers since launching in 2009, has launched the Distinctly Academy which will formally help train and develop new starters so that they have the smoothest transition into their career. 

Online investment platform Bestinvest, part of the Tilney Smith & Williamson group, has appointed strategic and creative consultancy Harbour Collective as its creative agency partner, and VCCP Media to handle all planning and buying of media campaigns. Harbour Collective, which already works with Bestinvest’s parent company Tilney Smith & Williamson, will now partner with the investment service to develop a through-the-line launch campaign for a new, improved digital proposition that will help place the power of good advice into more hands. The push will involve activity running across VOD, out-of-home, digital and social channels. As the Bestinvest UK media agency, VCCP Media will be responsible for the strategic and commercial media campaign amplification, and the work will commence immediately. The new campaign, which will go live in the first half of 2022, will target people who don’t need a full wealth management solution but would benefit from tools, insights and guidance to help them plan for the future and make better financial decisions.

VCCP has also devised a new, integrated TV campaign for cinch, the fast-growing online car marketplace, premiering on Saturday 12 February, supporting the brand’s sponsorship of ITV’s new talent show ‘Starstruck’. Covering sponsorship idents on both broadcast and catch up, as well as licensing, digital and social, the work will put a distinctly cinch mark on ITV’s new Saturday night format that will have the nation singing their hearts out. The sponsorship idents, fronted by cinch’s much-loved ambassador Rylan, will premiere this weekend, and play on the format of the ‘Starstruck’ programme itself where people with extraordinary talents go head-to-head to not just nail, but absolutely cinch their performance. Aptly labelled as the ‘cinch off,’ the idents will top and tail the ad breaks, featuring drivers in parked cars passionately belting out ballads, trying to ‘out-cinch’ each other as they put their behind-the-wheel singing voices to the test. In addition to the idents, cinch’s through-the-line approach to sponsorship includes an additional competition spot with a car valued at up to £30,000 as the prize, and a creator-led activation on the brand’s TikTok channel @cinchuk. Activity from TikTok creators includes Drag Race star Tia Kofi, TikTok icon David Larbi and musician Izzi De Rosa will bring the songs from cinch’s idents to life by cinching their own in-car performances.

Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, has appointed Code Computerlove to implement a new digital change programme. Code will work with Bluestone to implement new digital systems and update existing technology, allowing them to deliver new and improved digital experiences for their guests. They’ll also explore opportunities for greater agility and scale, providing the flexibility for customers to better tailor their stay and have a market-leading experience. Code has already created an innovative digital strategy, which looks at the design and build of a range of digital products for Bluestone, including a new frictionless booking experience for guests, and a digital brand that truly showcases its award-winning holiday experience.

Huckletree, the workspace ecosystem for innovators and disruptors, has appointed Diffusion as its retained agency to spearhead its PR programme in the UK. The appointment comes following a competitive pitch process. Diffusion’s campaign will focus on building brand awareness of Huckletree as a connector of innovative businesses, bringing together the bravest minds in startups, scaleups, and enterprise teams to work, scale, and collaborate on building a better world. Diffusion’s PR programme will include a series of integrated creative campaigns and amplification of Huckletree’s own programme of events, such as the Alpha Accelerator and Earthrise Summit. The campaign will also connect with a target audience of company founders, c-suite and directors of disruptive, creative, and future-forward SMEs through an issues-led thought leadership campaign, news generation and member profiling programme. To help support businesses as they continue to scale-up Huckletree has launched its Places proposition which assists companies who want to scale up by sourcing, creating, and facilitating office space for businesses, anywhere across the UK or Ireland, while also providing access to the benefits of a Huckletree membership. Diffusion’s PR campaign will creatively build awareness for the new Huckletree Places offering, reaching a new audience of scale-up businesses.

Digital content agency and media network, Little Dot Studios (an All3Media company), has been verified as Carbon Neutral to Future Net Zero standard across its organisational and operational output, making it one of the first production companies to be verified. Additionally, it has increased its offsetting efforts to account for its historical emissions backdating to its inception in 2013. Little Dot Studios is also making a conscious effort to learn from its work producing and distributing content for clients that are pioneers in this space such as the UN, UNEP, Formula E and Extreme-E who are inspiring the practices they adopt internally. It has also signed onto the UN Sports For Climate Action Framework and committed to use its voice in the sports sector to drive positive change and awareness as well as reduce emissions from operating in the sports industry. Little Dot Studios also uses Albert to track and certify its larger production projects and due to the majority of its productions being short-form digital content, it utilises AdGreen – the advertising industry’s equivalent to Albert in the sustainability space.

Pembrokeshire’s only independent holiday agency has hired Speed Communications on a retained basis to grow its brand across the consumer market in the UK. Coastal Cottages has spent nearly 40 years building a portfolio of holiday cottages in Pembrokeshire that will cater to all holiday requirements. The company needed an agency that could raise awareness of its extensive collection of holiday properties and unique digital concierge service, which ensures guests have a premium experience from the moment they book to the moment they leave their cottage. Coastal Cottages was looking for an agency with a proven track record in the travel industry coupled with strength in consumer media relations to elevate the position of the brand as well as Pembrokeshire as a destination. Speed has developed an exciting programme of multi-channel activity to deliver column inches across to engage both the consumer and trade audience.

Creative consumer agency Radioactive has kicked off 2022 by winning five new clients across PR and influencer and performance marketing briefs, and seven nominations in the first UK Digital PR Awards. The historic Sudeley Castle & Gardens has chosen to partner with Radioactive for PR in 2022 after a competitive pitch, including launching exciting new visitor attractions and highlighting its sustainability efforts. Plant-based pet food brand Omni has also instructed Radioactive to deliver a digital PR brief in 2022. Online building materials marketplace, Materials Market, is working with Radioactive on digital and brand PR, as well as influencer and performance marketing to connect professional builders and DIYers to quality suppliers. Radioactive is also running performance marketing campaigns for women’s health platform, Naytal, which encourages women to take charge of their own healthcare and access professional help online when they need it, and an influencer marketing pilot for an NHS Trust in England.