Engine Creative has launched a social-first practice, called NGN-LAB, and added a brand partnerships capability to its integrated offering.
Both disciplines will be led by Matthew Harrington, who joins the agency as head of editorial and brand partnerships.
NGN-LAB has been devised as a creative practice designed to help clients via a team of in-house creators, as well as an external network of cultural specialists, editors and influencers.
Harrington will report to Engine Creative chief executive Ete Davies. In addition to leading NGN-LAB, Harrington will be responsible for leading and developing brand partnerships as a key part of Engine Creative’s integrated ad offering, enabling clients to find new ways to engage with new audiences and expand into new categories.
One example of this was the recent Kiyan Prince Foundation x EA Sports partnership, for which Engine devised a ground-breaking anti-knife crime campaign on the 15th anniversary of the schoolboy football prodigy’s death. The campaign used cutting-edge technology to create a virtual likeness of Prince within EA's Fifa 21 video game, portraying him the 30-year-old adult he would have been were he still alive.
Harrington's accomplishments to date include founding Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's creative partnership division, AMV/CO, working with major brands including Pepsi, Mars, Bodyform and Diageo. It developed multi-award-winning partnerships, including the "Trash isles" campaign, which won two Grands Prix at Cannes Lions.
He is the former head of brand advertising for Red Bull and has worked at R/GA leading the Nike digital account. He founded his own partnership consultancy, With X Us, after leaving AMV in 2018, developing partnerships with brands directly, including Jaguar Land Rover and Samsung, supporting agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi and Adam & Eve DDB, and social publishers LadBible and Jungle Creations.
Ete Davies said: “We’re very pleased to have Matt join us. Social is the arena where communities and creators both create and influence modern culture at lightning speed. Progressive brands need to be social at their core in order to stay culturally relevant and to take advantage of the growth opportunities created by social commerce innovation, which have shortcut the journey from inspiration to conversion.
"We see this as brand building at the frontier of marketing and Matt has the perfect skills, experience and vision to help our clients with this.”
Harrington added: “Social is where culture thrives. For so many brands, it’s now the heart of the ecosystem and where the most innovative creators are making, connecting and influencing. I’m delighted to get the opportunity to help bring so many great minds together to collaborate and enable our clients to connect more deeply with new audiences.”