Marketing Gazette Deal Roundup, August 2020

Marketing Gazette Deal Roundup - August 2020


LAB Group

Studio BLUP, a London-based creative agency, has joined LAB Group, a collection of agencies offering digital marketing, technology and creative services.

Studio BLUP offers identity branding, creative design, motion design, brand development and brand positioning. The agency has worked with companies such as Nike, Adidas, Sony Music, Redbull, Coty, the BBC and EA Sports. Studio BLUP is joining digital agencies, LAB and Reflect Digital, within LAB Group, but will still maintain its creative freedom and capacity to pursue its own business ambitions.

Jonny Tooze, the CEO of LAB Group, said: “Studio BLUP is a fantastic addition to LAB Group. As an agency, it’s constantly adapting and reinventing itself, something we have long believed is key to fast growth for agencies. It offers cutting-edge creative ideas grounded in the new culture for an impressive list of global brands. Mixing in Studio BLUP’s brilliant creativity with our consumer neuroscience teams will add value to both our customers and the studio.”

Dines, chief creative officer and co-founder at Studio BLUP, said: “Joining forces with LAB will allow us to compete with the best in the world, helping us to elevate our way of thinking and our design…This is a time of growth for Studio BLUP and we are ready to take on the hugely exciting challenges ahead.


Impact, specialising in partnership automation, has acquired ACTIVATE, an influencer and SaaS platform within the influencer industry.

Impact’s Partnership Cloud automates and simplifies the process of discovering, recruiting, onboarding, optimising and reporting across all types of partnership. The acquisition included ACTIVATE’s end to end platform for influencer discovery; reporting; and campaign management. When combined with Impact’s pre-existing influencer platform partners, Impact now has more than 300,000 opt-in qualified and vetted influencers.

Impact and ACTIVATE are also able to provide influencers with features such as Impact’s automated contracting and flexible payment processing, which ensures partners are paid reliably, on their own terms and in their desired currency.

David Yovanno, CEO of Impact, said: “While many in our industry focus mostly on servicing traditional coupon and loyalty partnerships, Impact is serving the demand of our clients looking for growth from all partnership types…ACTIVATE’s deep expertise within the burgeoning influencer industry strengthens our offering to brand and agency clients by providing the tools to find and manage thousands more quality content creators.

“Influencers, in turn, are searching for brand partners and with Impact’s portfolio of the industry’s largest retailers, financial service providers, direct-to-consumer businesses and more, we will truly create partnerships that provide significant growth for both sides.”

ACTIVATE CEO, Nicholas DiSanto, said: “The influencer industry has transformed from individual creator transactions to valuable, long-term partnerships since the beginning of our company; along the way, we saw firsthand the opportunity that online communities and their avid fans provide for brands to connect with their audiences authentically … It’s a natural fit to pair this within the larger breadth of partnerships led by Impact to drive this new stage of growth in the industry.”



Adverty, an in-game platform for advertisers, agencies and content creators, has completed its integration into US-based Smaato’s Digital Technology Advertising Platform.

The platform gives control to app developers and publishers over their monetisation strategy when delivering ads to mobile apps and games. This new partnership enables Smaato’s range of global buy-side partners and advertisers to access Adverty’s new seamless in-game ad inventory at scale while Adverty can tap into global marketers looking to advertise within games.

CEO of Smaato, Ajitpal Pannu, said: “The core of Smaato’s Digital Advertising Technology Platform is to help app developers create seamless, tailored and engaging experiences. We like that Adverty is helping to create such customized advertising experiences inside games for app developers. It makes sense we support such integration inside Smaato’s overall monetisation platform to help power this via the programmatic pipes”

CEO and founder of Adverty, Niklas Bakos, said: “We have recently seen a significantly stronger demand for advertising opportunities within the gaming vertical. Still at its infancy, in-game brand advertising is set to see tremendous growth in the coming years and we are building up a strong foundation to support this new media channel. Our integration with digital advertising technology platform Smaato enables previously untapped business opportunities for us and our partnership is a very important milestone in Adverty’s industry establishment.”

Client Wins

M&C Saatchi

The Office for National Statistics has appointed M&C Saatchi, a group of brand and marketing specialists, as its agency partner for Census 2021 communications.

M&C Saatchi won following a three-way competitive pitch. The brief is to create a fully integrated programme of communications with the objective of mobilising more than 26 million households across England and Wales. This will include advertising, PR, digital, partnerships, and community and school programmes. M&C Saatchi has also been tasked with conveying the importance and relevance of the census in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

M&C Saatchi will partner with EVERFI EdComs in launching secondary school partnerships, followed by community engagement initiatives in Autumn. Culminating in an advertising campaign in Q1 2021 and the completion of the census in March 2021.

Managing director at M&C Saatchi, Tom Firth, said: “The census is a truly national event. Once every ten years, it’s a chance for our communities to be represented, which will have heightened importance next year in a post-COVID-19 world. To be part of such a critical moment is a privilege, and we are excited to get everyone involved in this complex creative communications challenge.”

Liz Lean PR

Liz Willingham

Sandbanks and London-based Liz Lean PR (LLPR) has won the PR brief of Passenger’s new public transport app, myTrip, scheduled to launch nationally in September 2020.

Managing director at LLPR, Liz Willingham, said: “We’re excited to be supporting Passenger in their latest app launch. myTrip will truly add value to public transport users in a post-COVID environment…We’ll be taking a two-pronged approach to the launch campaign, targeting businesses and end-users through different channels, including regional and business media outlets in counties across the UK.

Bethan Hopkins, marketing manager at Passenger, said: “We were keen to work with agency partners that could quickly become an extension of our team, working closely with us to bring myTrip to market under a tight deadline. Liz Lean PR not only presented a professional yet nimble approach for the launch campaign which met our requirements but also seemed to naturally understand our brand and ethos, inheriting it as their own.

The Lucre Group

The Lucre Group, based in London and Leeds, has been appointed by NDL, a UK SME software company, as its retained PR agency.

The Lucre Group will work closely with NDL to create a tailored communications plan, driving sales enquiries and showcasing the team’s expertise and client results.

Declan Grogan, CEO at NDL, said: “Our mission is to help share best practice, innovation, templates and advice – demonstrating what can be achieved by utilising technology to take the burden out of admin and to better engage and support the public. We look forward to working with the team at Lucre who have already begun setting out our communications plan and getting to work in driving awareness within our target markets.”

Owner and director at The Lucre Group, Sophie Spyropoulos, said: “NDL is a fantastic addition to our expanding technology division here at Lucre. It’s a pleasure to work alongside Declan and the team at NDL as they drive forward UK innovation for the benefit of our much-needed public services and for all of us who use them.”


Hitsearch, a digital agency based in Liverpool, has won Vanleles and Yael Sonia following successful pitches in July.

The two jewellery businesses join Hitsearch’s pre-existing portfolio which includes Carrie Elizabeth and Daisy Jewellery. Hitsearch will conduct multi-country awareness campaigns covering SEO, PPC, blogger outreach, PR, user experience and CRO for both clients.

Hitsearch director, Andy Redfern, said: “In the current climate we are so thrilled to add such prestigious brands to our portfolio. As an agency, we are pleased to expand our luxury jewellery client base and look forward to creating global campaigns for Vanleles and Yael Sonia.”

St Luke’s

Ocado, an online retailer, has appointed London-based St Luke’s as its lead creative agency.

The appointment follows a competitive pitch held predominantly remotely. The brief includes the development of a new brand positioning and creation of all above the line communications.

Neil Henderson, CEO at St Luke’s, said: “As online grocery shopping takes a historic leap forward thanks to the lockdown, it is a privilege to be selected as Ocado’s brand and advertising partner. Very few brands have such a unique story to tell.”

Lisa McDowell, head of brand marketing at Ocado, said: “Ocado Retail is growing at pace and we have undergone a seismic shift over the last 12 months. We are delighted to be partnering with St Luke’s who’s agenda-setting purpose, and supporting creative is simply brilliant.

Journey Further

Performance marketing agency Journey Further has been appointed by both Atom and Lick Home.

Atom, an app-based challenger bank, has appointed Journey Further to handle its digital PR, SEO, paid search and display activity.

The agency, based in Leeds, Manchester and London, was appointed after a four-month trial period. Journey Further will now support the launch of Atom’s Coranavirus Business Interruption Scheme (CBILS) as well as improve overall brand awareness.

Leigh Peacock-Goodwin, head of marketing and public relations at Atom Bank, said: “We were really impressed with their data and performance-driven approach, the direct access to senior specialists and proven record of delivering tangible results.”

Beth Nunnington, PR director at Journey Further, said: “We’re confident that our data-driven approach to organic and paid search will help Atom use its business and customer data to achieve scale amongst its target audience, as well as driving CBILS applications.”

Lick Home, a home decor startup, has appointed Journey Further to drive its growth strategy as the company seeks to disrupt legacy paint brands. Earlier this year, Journey Further announced a partnership with Uncapped, a revenue-based finance provider, to offer performance marketing support specifically for entrepreneurs, startups and scaleups based in Europe.

Robin Skidmore, CEO at Journey Further, said: “Lick Home is the perfect brand for Journey Further. Innovative, disruptive and ambitious,  it’s a forward-thinking business, in an industry we have a wealth of experience in, and we can’t wait to drive forward their exciting growth plans. The slick aesthetic of the brand, coupled with its unique offering, is exactly what the industry is crying out for. … After launching our Accelerator offering earlier this year, which offers flexible performance marketing support to startups around Europe, we’re delighted to have another ambitious startup like Lick Home on board.

Lucas London, CEO and co-founder of Lick Home, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Journey Further to accelerate Lick’s performance marketing activity – a core pillar of our growth strategy.  Having worked with the team before, we know how innovation is at the heart of everything Journey Further touches, aligning perfectly with our ambition to shake up the dusty world of interiors and bring a new user-centric experience to the decorating space. We’ve been really impressed with the team’s inquisitive spirit, incredible pace and high quality of execution so far, and are really excited about what’s to come”

Digital Trails

Digital Trails has been appointed by the pop culture retailer, Lost Universe, to support plans to expand into the UK pop culture sector.

Lost Universe joins Vision Direct, Menkind and Pirelli among Digital Trails client list. The brief entails raising Lost Universe’s brand awareness, increasing organic visibility and revenue. Digital Trails will conduct a targetted mix of performance PR, SEO and creative campaigns.

MD and founder of Digital Trails, Bogdan Marinescu, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the team at Lost Universe at such an important stage in their growth. Pop culture is one of the sectors we have long-standing experience in and believe the creative opportunities for a brand of their calibre are limitless. We look forward to continuing our growth path with equally exciting partnerships for the rest of the year.”

Digital marketing manager at Lost Universe, Samuel Kraftman, said: “As a newly launched retailer in a competitive sector, we wanted to find a partner that can be an extension of our team and drive forward our ambitious plans for growth on the UK market. The team at Digital Trails have already impressed us with their creative approach and strategic thinking. We look forward to our collaboration in the months to come.”


PR agency Bland has been appointed by Exalt and MyBambooBrush.

Bland will be launching Exalt, a performance nutrition brand that has a focus on sustainable supply chains. Bland will also be looking after the online communication strategy of MyBambooBrush, which makes eco-friendly alternatives to everyday essentials.

Charlie Vaughan-Wilson, co-founder of EXALT, said: ‘‘We need our PR agency to be an extended arm of the team – and by working closely together we can produce amazing work. Bland. has demonstrated that they understand our mission with the drive and passion to take us where we want to be. The Agency demonstrates strategic insight and has the contacts to elevate us to become a key player in the food and drink market.’’

Lucky North

L-R: Jenny Marston, senior account executive at Lucky North; Bernadette Mossman, healthcare director at Vida Healthcare; Lucy Baird, co-founder at Lucky North; James Rycroft, managing director at Vida Healthcare; and Emma Lister, marketing manager at Vida Healthcare.

Lucky North, a Leeds-based PR agency, has been appointed by Harrogate-based Vita Healthcare, a dementia care specialist, to manage its public relations.

The brief includes driving awareness of specialist dementia care in the UK, raise Vita Healthcare’s profile within the social care sector and reassure the public of the safety of care homes following the negative press brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

James Rycroft, MD at Vida Healthcare, said: “We decided to partner with Lucky North as the team is very personable and quickly understood our business ethos and aims. We’ve already established a great trust with everyone at Lucky North and we’re excited to see how they will continue delivering our message to generate the results that we need.”

Lucy Baird, co-founder and director of Lucky North, said: “Throughout 2020 we’ve seen the demand for PR remain strong. We’re always looking to partner with organisations which provide valuable services and offer a positive contribution to the Northern Powerhouse. We’re really pleased to partner with Vida Healthcare and work together to promote the support and care it offers to people living with dementia, while also championing another Yorkshire business. We’re looking forward to working with James and the team at Vida to tell the company’s story through a range of services including campaigns and an ongoing press office function.”


Pearlfisher, a brand design agency, has been chosen to oversee a rebrand of Takamaka Rum alongside a new bottle design.

The London, New York, San Francisco and Copenhagen-based agency has been tasked with capturing the identity of Takamaka as well as its Seychelles origin, to coincide with the brands increased international distribution.

Jess Phillips, design director at Pearlfisher, said: ” “Every aspect of the new identity and dynamic design has been inspired by Takamaka’s brand values and the Seychelles itself. We can’t wait to reveal the new, modern bottle design and re-introduce the world, consumers and bartenders alike, to the warmth of Takamaka rum and everything it represents.”

Richard D’Offay, Takamaka’s co-founder, said: “Working with Pearlfisher will enable us to bring our brand to the forefront of the category, and we can’t wait to offer a taste of the islands to new markets.”

Takamaka Rum has also appointed LX, a specialists communications agency, to run its international PR campaigns for the on-trade and wider consumer.

Manifest Marketing

Dales-based Manifest Marketing, a PR and marketing agency, has been appointed by Merritt & Fryers, an independent builders’ merchants, to handle its marketing and media relations.

Rachel Fryers, director at Merritt & Fryers, said: “We were looking for a well-established, local agency to help us connect with new and existing customers. We invited Manifest to do a marketing audit with us and were pleased with how well they understood the diversity of the business and our core values. We’ve seen healthy growth over the years but don’t want to rest on our laurels and we believe Manifest can help us showcase our unique proposition as the definitive experts for all construction and refurbishment supplies.”

Owner of Manifest Marketing, Jane Ellison-Bates, said: “We are confident we can help them build on their success and gain more recognition for the fantastic service they provide to the area’s professional tradespeople.”

Havas Media Manchester

Havas Media Manchester replaces Wavemaker as OpenMoney’s media planning and buying agency of record, with a seven-figure annual spend.

OpenMoney, a financial platform with the goal to make financial advice affordable and accessible for everyone, chose Havas Media Manchester after a three-way competitive pitch.

Havas Media Manchester will develop media planning and buying strategies to support the launch of a brand campaign and of Home by OpenMoney, an app aimed at providing advice to first-time buyers.

Anthony Morrow, CEO of OpenMoney, said: We were hugely impressed by Havas Media’s strategic approach, which centred around positioning Home by OpenMoney as an enabler for the community, as well as their understanding of our brand and business challenges. We’re very much looking forward to partnering with them as we continue to disrupt the financial advice industry in order to make it work better for everyday people.”

Stuart Lunn, MD of Havas Media Manchester, said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed by OpenMoney. They’re making groundbreaking strides in providing exceptional and affordable financial advice to everyone, and they’re an inspirational business, with great products and even better people. As two likeminded, disruptive brands, we cannot wait to begin our journey together.”



Bland, formerly Bland PR, has rebranded following the company’s development and challenges faced in 2020.

Alice & Heidi Bland

Bland has dropped ‘PR’, as it now offers more services following joining with the social and marketing collective, The Three Amiiigos. They have committed themselves to adapt their strategies and meet the changing needs of their customers. Going forward they will have a focus on brands that are committed to sustainability.

Director at Bland, Heidi Bland, said: ‘‘2020 may have provided its challenges, but as an agency, we have taken this opportunity to positively adapt to the changing times and work with visionary brands of the future. What’s is more we are all about building our team to enhance our offering and working with experts in their field ‘The Three Amiiigos’ this year has allowed us to do just that!’’

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