Campaign podcast: why are there so many new-business reviews?

Start-up co-founders James Murphy (New Commercial Arts) and Metz Bryan-Fasano (Other) join this week's episode to talk about the unique challenge of growing a new agency during a pandemic.

Clockwise from top-right: Murphy, Bryan-Fasano and Just Eat's latest TV ad
Clockwise from top-right: Murphy, Bryan-Fasano and Just Eat's latest TV ad

The industry is abuzz with activity as several brands, including Just Eat, NatWest and Asda, begin the year by launching account reviews across advertising and media.

Campaign's media & tech editor Omar Oakes and creativity & culture editor Brittaney Kiefer discuss what is going on among the big stories this week. They also drill down into new ads launched by Just Eat, The Guardian, Girl Up and the UK government.

Then James Murphy (founder of New Commercial Arts) and Metz Bryan Fasano (Other) talk to Brittaney about how they have adapted to working-from-home culture, overcoming production challenges, and how they have reacted to the explosion in new-business activity.

Listen below or tap 'subscribe' to play the episode on your preferred podcast player:

While the pandemic has been challenging in terms of working practices and production, both agreed that having to pitch to prospective clients over video calls has been a leveller for smaller start-ups in competition with big, network agencies.

“Pitching during lockdown may be the best thing that’s ever happened to whole idea of pitching…." Bryan-Fasano said. "It levels the playing field and you can just focus on the actual work."

Bryan-Fasano joined Other, a sister agency of indie creative shop Mother, last year from WPP's VMLY&R London, where she was operations director and has alsoo worked at BBC Creative and J Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) and Adam & Eve/DDB.

Murphy, who had founded Adam & Eve in 2008 and sold the agency five years later to Omnicom's DDB, exited in 2018 and unveiled NCA last year with fellow A&E founder David Golding.

He said: “The conditions under which we work and pitch, over these virtual channels, is extremely democratising. We can turn up as a startup on a Zoom and we look exactly the same as McCann or Adam & Eve/DDB. There’s no physical difference, there’s no large marble reception with greeters and a build building.”

Running order:

4:00 - Just Eat launches new TV spot and reviews ad account - why are so many brands reviewing now?

13:30 - Work inspired by US Veep Kamala Harris: The Guardian and Girl Up

20:30 Are the government's Covid-19 information campaigns becoming more aggressive?

27:30 Murphy and Bryan-Fasano interview

This episode was hosted by Omar Oakes and edited by Lindsay Riley.

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