School Reports 2015: AnalogFolk

Chivas
Chivas

Score: 6  Last year: 6

With so many of its digital independent peer group acquired by the large holding companies, the question of how long (if at all) the plucky AnalogFolk would retain its independence was thrown into sharp relief in 2014.

Judging by its performance, there’s life in the agency yet. There were signs that the seven-year-old shop was starting to make its mark (well, leave an impression, at least) as it finally entered its work into creative awards. A campaign for Dulux was shortlisted at the Campaign Big Awards – small steps, yes, but steps nonetheless and not before time, you could argue.

Most profound of all was how rapidly AnalogFolk appears to be expanding, with its headcount increasing by a third. Most of these came from the new disciplines the shop is equipping itself with, including an editorial unit. There was also growth in data science, technology and user experience.

The arrival of the Absolut Vodka account helped mitigate the loss of Desperados, while other wins tended to be on the small-to-middling size – The A2 Milk Company, JP Morgan and a one-off project from RB. But AnalogFolk was always going to struggle to maintain its run of new-business wins of recent years, when it picked up the likes of Sainsbury’s and Dulux. It also retained its place on the Government Digital Service roster. But it is for Sainsbury’s that AnalogFolk produced some of its cleverest and most distinctive work, with its fun iSPIES and Spooky Speaker apps. "The venture" social entrepreneurship platform for the whisky brand Chivas was also a highlight and one that could see it take to the awards podium in 2015.

Either way, AnalogFolk continues for now to confound those who thought there was no future for digital specialist independents. Long may it continue to do so.

How the agency scores itself: 7

How the agency rates itself: Our focus on communications, brand and product innovation came alive in 2014. Our creative output and new client relationships have played a huge part in the success we’ve witnessed, along with the exceptional talent recruited. The agency has been transformed. In the UK, we have 95 staff and, financially, we have seen a 73 per cent increase in income. With increasing global relationships and business transformation, we have grown up, but we will always be a start-up.

AnalogFolk
Type of agency Interactive creative
Company ownership Independent
Declared income £9m
Total accounts at year end 16
Accounts won 4 (biggest: n/s)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Desperados)
Number of staff 95 (+32%)
Key personnel Bill Brock co-founder and chief executive
Matt Dyke co-founder and chief strategy officer
Matt Law managing director, London
Simon Richings executive creative director, London

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

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

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