School Reports 2012: Brothers and Sisters

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Recent work for Sky
Recent work for Sky

Brothers and Sisters faces a long slog if it is to fully rid itself of the "Sky agency" tag, but 2011 was another step in the right direction.

Score: 5

Agency fact file: Brothers & Sisters
Type of agency Advertising, comms planning, digital
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Andy Fowler executive creative director
  Mark Harris creative director
  Phil Teer strategy director
  Kevin Brown digital director
  Juliet Haygarth managing director
Nielsen billings 2011 £55m
Nielsen billings 2010 £59m
Declared income £3.9m
Total accounts at year end 14
Accounts won 5 (biggest: Cafedirect)
Accounts lost 1 (Sky1)
Number of staff 49 (+8%)

The shop made progress on the new-business front, picking up work from Cafedirect (which it won after a five-way pitch), Disney (for the company's Club Penguin brand), Abbey Road (becoming the landmark's first-ever retained agency) and Channel 4.

One client - Sky1 - went out the door, but Brothers and Sisters did evolve its relationship with Sky in other ways, picking up the "Better Effect" branding work and retaining its place on the broadcaster's digital roster.

And the work for Sky - a traditionally tricky client - was strong, particularly an emotive ad for Sky Sports that showed the rollercoaster of emotions that football fans go through during a match.

But where Brothers and Sisters really excelled was away from traditional advertising. In 2010, the agency created the groundbreaking Street Museum app, and it built on that last year with an innovative mobile campaign to promote the Museum of London's Charles Dickens exhibition.

The agency also launched a range of greeting cards, as part of a new initiative that provides its creatives the chance to spend 20 per cent of their time developing personal projects.

Brothers and Sisters has carved out a niche as something of a wild card on pitchlists, one that larger corporations want to work with on a small scale as they test the digital water. The next step in the agency's life cycle will be to evolve those relationships in the same way it has done with Sky. And with an expanding client list and rising head count, Brothers and Sisters is going about its business in the right fashion.

Score last year: 6

How Brothers and Sisters rates itself: 7

"2011 saw us produce our best creative work yet. Highlights included the Sky Go launch campaign and 'this is football', our most emotional film yet for Sky Sports. 'Dickens Dark London' is undoubtedly the best piece of digital craft we've done. We did our first-ever Sky brand work, and bedded down new-business wins from the previous year such as Unilever. A solid new-business performance, we ended the year with our busiest pipeline ever."

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