Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA Agency News: Valtech, the7stars, Bountiful Cow and many more

Valtech, the global business transformation agency, has announced its partnership with The Very Group, operator of digital retailer Very. Valtech will act as a trusted strategic partner for The Very Group, aiding the business with specialist skills to support its ongoing digital transformation. The Very Group, which combines multicategory retail with flexible payments, is in the midst of its largest digital transformation to date, implementing a composable architecture while innovating its end-to-end customer experience. From strategic counsel to the implementation of processes and technology, Valtech will help The Very Group accelerate its transformation journey by using the Valtech Inside model. Under the Valtech_Inside proposition, Valtech will give The Very Group access to specialist developers and engineers to support its strong existing team in enhancing its digital operation. It optimises The Very Group’s skills in key technologies and guarantees knowledge continuity.

Valtech has also announced the addition of optical retailer Specsavers to its growing international client base. Having previously supported Specsavers in Northern Europe, Valtech and Specsavers have expanded their partnership globally to continue its mission to digitally transform its business. As a trusted consultant for Specsavers, Valtech will work with Specsavers to optimise its approach to digitisation by not only helping the retailer integrate the right technology for its business needs, but also refine its ways of working and technology operations across its different regions. A key part of the partnership will focus on identifying where speed and efficiency improvements can be made within its tech stack and advising how technology can be used to advance Specsavers’ goal of ensuring an exceptional customer experience. Additionally, Specsavers will tap into Valtech’s global delivery team to ensure it has the right people with the right skillset to drive crucial aspects of its digital transformation journey. By enhancing its team and ways of working, the partnership will strengthen the retailers’ capabilities to deliver upon its customers’ needs as they evolve. Notably, the partnership will focus on improving information simplicity, so customers can access information across its digital channels to identify eye and ear health conditions more easily.

Luxury cruise line Cunard has launched Soundwaves, a new audio-driven campaign featuring real life guest stories recorded on board their iconic fleet of ships. Soundwaves is the first integrated campaign the7stars has produced since it won the combined creative and media account for Cunard last year, and will run across online, social and digital audio channels until the end of July. Created by Supernova, the7stars’ inhouse creative production shop, Soundwaves captures the unique Cunard experience with multiple, varied, and emotive first-hand accounts, told by real guests, and captured and recorded whilst on Queen Mary 2, the world’s only ocean liner. The audio moments are accompanied with abstract photographic videography from Armand Dijcks to help convey the tantalising experience of a Cunard voyage. Soundwaves will play an important role in Cunard’s communication strategy, reaching and engaging those who haven’t sailed with the brand before. The media approach will be focused on social, digital audio channels, and YouTube, allowing for high dwell time.

Beauty Pie, the members’ only club selling luxury beauty at affordable prices, has appointed independent media agency Bountiful Cow, following a competitive pitch. Bountiful Cow took over the account from UM London on 1st April and is tasked with providing a renewed focus on brand media to support short-term acquisition and deliver long-term business growth.

Podcast company Acast has tasked Weirdo, the agency for inclusion-led creativity whose clients include Bumble, Gymshark and Nike, with creating a campaign that uses advertising to target global advertisers. The campaign marks the debut of a new attention-grabbing creative platform that blows up Acast’s distinctive ‘A’ logo into shapes that enter and leave the frame to visually reference negative space as a metaphor for creating the space to be heard. The global campaign targets senior marketers with contextual paid media across YouTube, LinkedIn, Meta and – of course – Acast’s own podcast inventory. Key messages include the fact that podcast advertising reaches millions wherever they’re listening; offers access to a listening audience primed for ads; boasts 60% increased ROI; and provides opportunities for audio creativity with data-driven relevance. To create multiple executions for the global campaign alongside an audio and visual toolkit, Weirdo undertook extensive inclusive research with people working in the media to unveil sticking points such as mistrust of bigger platforms, proof of efficacy, the disappearance of cookies, attribution changes and the battle between brand and performance.

Global fashion retailer, PrettyLittleThing, has appointed Journey Further to drive its organic growth through performance-driven digital PR and strategic consultancy. Journey Further, known for its Clarity at Speed approach, won the account in a competitive pitch process and will be responsible for improving organic visibility and rankings for the retailer in both the UK and US territories. The performance brand agency will deliver creative digital PR campaigns and tactics powered by its proprietary relevance tools – Salient and Trends Monitor, which will help analyse and optimise performance. The commercially-prioritised and relevance-led approach will focus on achieving measurable performance and ROI. The appointment follows the agency’s launch into America, and will be delivered by an integrated team of US and UK digital PR experts. 

Social enterprise Virtual Reality Therapies has appointed Cheil UK as its lead strategic and creative agency without a pitch. The social enterprise provides VR therapy for children with special needs and adults with disabilities, aiming to make the benefits of VR accessible to all. Cheil UK will now partner with Virtual Reality Therapies to develop and execute a new fully integrated marketing strategy, encompassing brand identity, look and feel, customer experience, CRM, social media and app development, with the objective of making the most innovative and powerful therapeutic VR techniques available to as many people as possible.

The Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) has announced two new members – dentsu and IPG Mediabrands. Both media agencies commit to CAN’s ethical business practice manifestos in order to retain membership, which cover seven main areas: hate speech; dis/misinformation; diversity and inclusion; children’s wellbeing; informed consent, advertising fraud, and climate and sustainability. Launched in 2019, CAN is a UK-based voluntary coalition of over 150 organisations, which share a vision to ensure industry ethics catch up with the technology of modern advertising. Two of dentsu’s agencies, Merkle and gyro, have been members of CAN since the coalition’s launch. Today, dentsu is building on this existing relationship to expand its membership and become a global member of the network. Dentsu joins CAN to support its 2030 Social Impact strategy and global vision of delivering people-centred transformations that shape society.

Members of the public can share their unforgettable experience at the London Eye on digital screens across the London Underground thanks to Share the Wow! – an innovative cross-channel Out of Home campaign by Kinetic, Wavemaker, Elvis London and Thanks to the omni-screen approach, starting on the 3rd April, visitors who post photos of their day at the London Eye using hashtag #EyeLoveLondon may well see their pictures posted on digital Out of Home screens across central London Underground*. Even if people don’t see their images on screens, everyone who takes part will have pictures of their moment in the spotlight emailed to them to share on their own social media – celebrating their magical experience at the London Eye and bringing the campaign to an even bigger audience.  

Global travel management company ATPI has appointed integrated comms agency Rooster to drive awareness of the ATPI brand and Direct ATPI corporate business line in the UK. The announcement comes following a period of significant growth for the UK headquartered travel and events management business after successfully achieving and surpassing pre-covid levels of client growth. Comprising Direct ATPI, ATPI Marine & Energy, ATPI Corporate Events, ATPI Mining & Resources and ATPI Sports Events, each brand is united by the aim to truly connect and deliver what really matters to every single customer. The partnership with award-winning agency Rooster was agreed in February 2023 and comes after the London-headquartered comms agency’s most successful year to date – having opened a second location in Bristol last summer and nearly doubling in size in 2022. Rooster will leverage its 23 years of media relations experience across the b2b, travel, and consumer sectors to add creative flair to ATPI’s media presence in the UK. Rooster will support across both trade and consumer stories, including the development of ATPI Halo, tech innovations and business wins as the brand continues to break the mold of the business travel industry.

TBWA\Worldwide, part of Omnicom Group has announced the acquisition of one of the UK’s leading creative agencies for the world of sport, in a deal designed to add significant new depth to the UK group’s expertise across the total brand experience. The highly acclaimed, award-winning independent agency, Dark Horses, led by CEO Melissa Robertson, ECD, Steve Howell and Chief Strategy Officer, Matt Readman, prides itself on breaking away from the field and has an enviable roster of clients bridging sport, fitness, health and wellbeing. Full of sports fanatics, Dark Horses uses its deep strategic acumen alongside its creativity to get under the skin of fandom, delivering standout rigour and brand expertise in the field of sports marketing. Their work includes supporting major sponsorship deals for global brand, Nissan, helping TikTok reach new audiences through their relationship with UEFA EURO 2020, creating Shelter’s #NoHomeKit which encourages football clubs to give up their home kit in aid of all those without a place to call home, and launching Peloton to the UK market.