School Reports 2015: Fold7

Gocompare.com
Gocompare.com

Score: 6  Last year: 7

Fold7 found itself with a lot to digest when Gocompare.com’s £40 million account landed on its plate in 2013. Not surprisingly, there were those who wondered if the agency had bitten off more than it could chew. Not least because Gio Compario, the annoying tenor who had been fronting its advertising, struck a bum note with many viewers.

Today (Gio Compario having bowed out), Fold7 is showing that it is capable of giving fresh impetus to a campaign that looked to be running out of steam.

Indeed, Marketing named Gocompare’s "Llandofsavingmoney" as one of the most recalled campaigns of 2014, having overtaken its Comparethemarket.com rival for the first time since the introduction of the meerkats.

No coincidence, perhaps, that one of the agency’s most significant hires of the year was Paul Howarth as a business director and leader of the Gocompare account. His experience at VCCP Blue, where he was a group account director on its Comparethemarket business, working on the "Baby Oleg" phase of the meerkat campaign, will no doubt come in handy.

Overall, Fold7’s new-business performance could not be called scintillating, although it did land the brief to relaunch Carlsberg Export – a brand that has been a decade-long absentee from mainstream advertising – and the jewellery brand Pandora.

Meanwhile, BSkyB seems to be hoping that it can benefit from some of the agency’s revivalist work for Gocompare by appointing the agency to handle Oddschecker, its odds-comparison website.

Now, having shown its capacity to handle big, populist campaigns, Fold7 could use a few more clients that would allow it to prove its worth beyond doubt. It’s all very well being – in the words of one intermediary – "an undiscovered gem", but there’s no profit in remaining that way. Maybe Marc Nohr, recently named its chief executive, is the answer.

How the agency scores itself: 7

How the agency rates itself: Increased momentum for Gocompare.com introducing the expert team from "Llandofsavingmoney", shifting brand and acquisition measures. Gocompare overtook Comparethemarket.com on recall for the first time since launching meerkats. We’ve launched a major campaign for Gumtree including a successful sponsorship deal with Celebrity Big Brother. With continued ambition and a new HQ in Farringdon, we built on our new-business success and are keeping momentum in 2015.

Fold7
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership Independent
Nielsen billings 2014 £46m
Nielsen billings 2013 £13m
Declared income £4.5m
Total accounts at year end 19
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Pandora)
Accounts lost 1 (Upbeat)
Number of staff 42 (+10%)
Key personnel Ryan Newey executive creative director
Harry Sheward managing partner
David Howard head of strategy
Sam Balderstone head of production and content

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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