School Reports 2015: Creature London

Carling
Carling

Score: 7  Last year: 8

By its own admission, Creature London had "a bunch of growing up to do" in 2014 – the year in which it left the family home of Creature Seattle to make its own way in the world as a fully independent operation that is no longer financially tied to its parent’s apron strings.

The effect of falling under complete control of its four partners seems to have had a galvanising effect and given the agency an added momentum.

Certainly, Creature was fast out of the traps at the beginning of the year. January had not even ended when the agency added the £15 million William Hill account to its portfolio and boosted its relationship with Carling by being appointed as the brand’s global agency of record.

And there was more to come as Arla Foods, the dairy company, handed Creature its £4 million Anchor UK business after splitting with CHI & Partners. At the same time, Top10, the hotel-booking start-up, chose the agency to create its first TV campaign.

Membership of the IPA and a doubling of staff, including a raft of creative and strategic hires, were indicative of an operation growing in maturity and confidence, which was reflected in its move into contentious areas. Not only did Creature make a commercial for the Green Party, it was also drafted in by Gatwick Airport to create a campaign to promote plans for a second runway.

The agency even started getting choosy about the accounts it wanted on board, having pulled out of the pitch for the Design Museum.

Three years into its life, Creature is reaping the rewards of the natural chemistry of its leaders and their shrewd creative understanding. It’s probably all part of growing up.

How the agency scores itself: 8

How the agency rates itself: Doubled in size, refurbed the office, made ads that did great things for our clients, won pitches, made a party political broadcast that helped the Greens overtake the Lib Dems, promoted some brilliant people, joined the IPA, sold loads of tickets for our first South Bank production, helped Karma Nirvana to support #BritainsLostWomen, made Underworld and Gorgon City perform at Abbey Road for Carling, made some mistakes but got more things right. It wasn’t bad.

Creature London
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership Independent
Nielsen billings 2014 £36m
Nielsen billings 2013 £18m
Declared income £3m
Total accounts at year end 13
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Gatwick Airport)
Accounts lost 1 (TransferWise – resigned)
Number of staff 40 (+100%)
Key personnel Dan Shute managing partner
Ed Warren strategic and creative partner
Stu Outhwaite creative partner
Ben Middleton creative partner

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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