Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA Agency News: VCCP, Smarts, THE PACK and many more

O2, has launched a social-first campaign designed to promote the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 foldable phone, available to purchase on O2. O2 worked with UK agency of record, VCCP London and Girl&Bear, to mastermind the new campaign which sees iconic Noughties pop band, Steps, take over the famous The O2 arena with a surprise flashmob. To bring the campaign to life, O2 tapped into the increasing trend of throwback nostalgia, together with the help of Steps to pay homage to retro features of the foldable phone. O2 surprised the public at The O2 arena with a flashmob style performance from Steps to demonstrate that the Galaxy Z Flip3 is the perfect mix of the noughties, with a 2022 upgrade. The social-first campaign is live from the 20th of January and will run for 3 weeks across YouTube and supporting social platforms. Additional edits of the hero film have been created specifically to roll out across Instagram, Facebook and TikTok in the UK. Supporting this, the film will also feature on O2 and Samsung social channels and will be amplified by an influencer element. Influencer activity includes Steps’ owned channels as well as supporting content creator activity from TikTok creators Tega Alexander, Izzi de Rosa, Francesca Perks and dance choreographer Cruze Phlip.

Smarts, the multi-award-winning PR and content agency, has announced that Chessington World of Adventures Resort has become the latest client to join its growing account base. Owned by Merlin Entertainments, Chessington comprises a theme park, zoo and two resort hotels. After a competitive pitch, Smarts has been appointed to manage its UK press office and creative campaigns and will be tasked with launching new developments at the theme park, zoo and hotel over the next two years. The team is set to join the wild ride that is Chessington World of Adventures Resort, bringing national attention to all the resort has to offer, from the newest attractions to endangered furry friends.

Plant-based dog food company THE PACK has launched a ‘dog-first’ out of home campaign targeting dogs and their owners during the month of Veganuary. Created and launched by B-Corp-certified creative agency Library, the ‘Hey Humans! Hey Doggies!’ campaign aims to drive awareness and consideration of THE PACK to new customers and get people thinking about vegan dog food. As well as being the perfect pavement height for ‘humans’ and ‘doggies’ to read, utilising the panels on phone boxes, THE PACK’s latest campaign features split messaging – to dogs, and pet parents. It talks to dog owners at the top, reading ‘A plant-based diet isn’t just for you!’ and directly to dogs, at the bottom of the panel questioning them with the line ‘You know you’re an omnivore right?!’. Positioned in dog-friendly neighbourhoods and close to parks, including Barnes, Chelsea, Hampstead Heath, Chalk Farm, Islington and Hackney, the ads will run from today, 20th January for a month. The ad also features a QR code that leads people to a competition to win a year’s supply of dog food. THE PACK will also be handing out cans of their plant-based dog food across London, at select locations where the phone boxes will be appearing. For the month of Veganuary, THE PACK has partnered with some of the UK’s leading restaurants and cafes including Biff’s at Brewdog, Purezza, Vurger and more restaurants across the UK to serve up their drool-inducing dog food to pups dining with their owners. Brighton-based creative marketing agency Library works with THE PACK alongside other clients including Biona Organic, Bonsan and TickTock tea.

The Influencer Marketing Trade Body (IMTB) has announced the addition of ITB Worldwide as its newest member organisation. ITB Worldwide is a full-service talent and influencer marketing agency helping brands build holistic strategies that consider multiple marketing touchpoints. ITB Worldwide has been recognised in recent awards for its creative and innovative approach to influencer marketing. The agency is a bronze winner at Cannes Lions and secured the bronze position in the Influencer Marketing Team of the Year category at the 2021 Influencer Marketing Awards. The agency is the seventh influencer marketing company to join the IMTB. The IMTB is a professional membership organisation dedicated to building a robust, sustainable future for the influencer marketing industry.

The UNIT9 group is using its unique position of having 25 years of expertise in creating boundary-pushing interactive digital experiences to launch a specialist division dedicated to all things Metaverse. Called M.A.D (standing for Metaverse Advisory Dept.), the new collective will bring a much-needed end-to-end service and maker’s perspective to the burgeoning Metaverse market to ensure early ideation and strategy can be joined up seamlessly with creative execution. Launch clients include Havas Media Group, Opera, and COPA90. To help clients develop robust and long-term Metaverse strategies, M.A.D will lean deep into the global UNIT9 Group’s wealth of multidisciplinary experience, which has already been capitalised on to create many Metaverse-style projects, including a virtual concert for battle royale game Garena Free Fire, a STEM-themed Minecraft experience for The Ad Council, an immersive virtual world featuring a motion-captured digital avatar of DJ Diplo for Intel, and a hybrid Metaverse experience in collaboration with one of Europe’s top-tier football leagues and a world-renowned theme park. M.A.D will be led by Garry Williams (a fount of all immersive knowledge who came to UNIT9 from REWIND and Jaunt XR), and Executive Strategy Director, Annie Bedard (champion of technology-driven, human-centric experience design, formerly of Jam3, Critical Mass and Blast Radius). Williams and Bedard’s mission is to help develop clients’ Metaverse aspirations at an early stage to ensure they align within internal objectives, alongside executional ambitions and limitations. M.A.D. will be headquartered in London but will operate across all UNIT9 locations: Canada, China, Europe, MENA, SEA, UK and USA.

Journey Further has announced its 2021 growth figures, reporting £9.2million in fee revenue, up 95% from 2020. The growth was driven by a succession of new client wins including Virgin Money, Casio and Lucky Saint, plus the launch of new capabilities — Strategy & Insight, Influencer Marketing and Performance Content. The agency’s headcount grew from 80 to 155 employees, with both its London and Manchester locations growing by 250%. 2021 saw a number of executive hires, including Chief Operations Officer, Debbie Capell; Chief Strategy Officer, James Addlestone; Influencer Director, Lauren McFarland; and most recently, Zoe Cooke as Finance Director. Journey Further was named as one of the top 10 companies to work for in the UK by Best Companies, and also featured in AdWeek’s Fastest Growing Agencies ranking for the second year running. The agency shows no sign of slowing down with a £14.5 million revenue target for 2022 and upcoming US launch. This year will also see the agency reposition itself, aligning to a new vision of “creating the performance brands of tomorrow.”

After nine months of an intense selection process, smart Europe has chosen Dept, Ketchum and Kolle Rebbe, part of Accenture Interactive, as partners in their new communications team. With smart FLUX, smart Europe is committed to sustained cooperation: The new team will work together in this constellation long-term to jointly drive brand and business impact. To achieve the common KPI set, smart FLUX has the authority for joint resource allocation including all media spend. Effective immediately, all communication for the European market will be developed and directed from smart FLUX. For impactful orchestration of the market launch, the smart FLUX colleagues are acting collectively as a lean, efficient network aiming for strong market interaction instead of pure market steering. The initial challenge for smart FLUX will be the world premiere of the new smart SUV, which is scheduled for the first half of 2022. This will subsequently be followed by a pre-order campaign starting in the third quarter of 2022, followed by the start of sales end of 2022.

Organisations looking for innovative ideas to solve their biggest problems or improve digital service areas this year are being offered a free workshop by leading digital product and service studio Code Computerlove. Its ‘Make Change Fridays’ workshops aim to help organisations with tech for good initiatives that are seeking solutions to challenging problems – whether that relates to strategic direction, comms, digital platforms, or positioning. Code has recently trialled the workshops with charity Manchester Pride, where the agency provided strategic communications support in preparation for 2022 marketing planning.

DLMDD, the sonic branding agency, has brought the science of sound into brand building with the launch of DLMDD Ignite, a ground-breaking new audience insight tool to guide, inspire and fuel brands to find their sound. Powered by SoundOut, DLMDD Ignite provides a starting point for a brand’s sonic journey; whether they’re looking to create a whole new sonic identity from scratch, or to add a soundtrack to an advertising campaign. Using world-leading audience insight and data science, DLMDD Ignite can benchmark brands, their values and archetypes against the sonic attributes of 1000s of commercial hit records. This provides a glimpse into the sound and tone of their brand based on the emotional DNA of music, and which artists and genres are most relevant to their values and target audience. By analysing the creative genius of the world’s best songwriters and with insight from the world’s biggest sonic audience, DLMDD Ignite has been designed to help marketing teams overcome the barrier of subjectivity when making decisions on sound. Marketers can use the tool to create a mood-board of sounds that are in line with their brand’s identity, sparking a vision for where the brand’s sound should go. 

Nexer Digital, the human-centred digital design agency, is celebrating a year of positive impact in a range of sectors after experiencing a record-breaking year of growth in which the company turned over £6.9 million, a 68% increase on the previous year. Through working with its clients on the research, design and development of products and services, in the past 12 months, the UX expert has helped millions of people to access vital mental health support and care, feel secure in their financial planning and feel safe and supported in their homes. In addition, the work of Nexer Digital’s teams has supported teachers with relationship and sex education for students with ranging educational needs, created new health pathways for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), dementia and Parkinson’s, and allowed scientists to translate patient safety information for Covid submissions. Over the next 12 months, the business hopes to continue to extend its work with culture and heritage clients, which is a growing sector, and to connect and build new networks within the tech industry. Summer 2022 will also see the return of Camp Digital, which was unable to go ahead for two years due to Covid, and the team can’t wait to bring it back as a new hybrid event.