School Reports 2013: Work Club

Ballantine's
Ballantine's

Score: 9  Last year: 7

2012 was a defining year for Work Club. The five-year-old independent shop won Campaign’s Digital Agency of the Year accolade for the first time – fending off older, bigger rivals with the sheer gutsiness of its work and its impressive business growth.

First, the work. The agency, led creatively by the creative partners, Ben Mooge and Andy Sandoz, made an internet-powered T-shirt for Ballantine’s and a digital bottle top for Strongbow Gold, gave people the chance to enjoy a beauty spa experience at home for The Sanctuary, and analysed the brainwaves of football fans for Sharp. Work Club also created an upgraded version of the McLaren "race dashboard", which provided a second screen for Formula One fans and shared driver data. Also, for Ballantine’s, Work Club created the platform "loud blue" that lets people enhance their Instagram photos by adding bespoke music.

Next, new business. The agency pitched for, and won, the Google+ digital account across Europe. It also landed BT Business’ "insights" online offering after a pitch, and Heineken appointed Work Club as its lead digital agency across Europe for its premium cider, Strongbow Gold. Clients such as Coca-Cola also handed the agency additional business.

And finally, people. Work Club, led by the chief executive, Martin Brooks, took on new recruits including the senior creatives Jim Stump and Lucy-Anne Ronayne, from DDB UK and AKQA respectively. It also hired Christy White, a business director from JWT, and Ben Phillips, a senior strategist from BETC Paris.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Work Club’s pro-bono activity included the D&AD "call for entries" campaign for the organisation’s 50th anniversary and the Creative Spirit initiative, which helps people with disabilities find work in creative companies.

So, in all, 2012 was a year to be proud of and, no doubt, the agency will hope to build on this success in 2013.

Work Club
Type of agency Digital creative
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Martin Brooks chief executive
Ben Mooge creative partner
Andy Sandoz creative partner
Paddy Griffith strategy partner
Jon Claydon chairman
Declared income £5.7m
Total accounts at year end 11
Accounts won 7 (biggest: Strongbow Gold)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 80 (+10%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

How Work Club rates itself: 8

"In 2012 we were named Campaign’s Digital Agency of the Year for inventing an internet-powered T-shirt, scanning football fans’ brains and starting parties with an NFC bottle top. And we call that Work. We shifted our focus to social creativity and 72% of our revenue came from helping global brands do the same. Most importantly, we finally figured out why a Club is better than an agency."

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