School Reports 2013: Goodstuff Communications

Virgin Media
Virgin Media

Score: 9  Last year: n/a

The little agency with the big voice had a remarkable year in 2012. Goodstuff won a raft of new business, created inspired work for clients, was recognised with awards and doubled in size. It topped this all off by winning Campaign’s Media Agency of the Year, proving that quality combined with determination can amount to more than a large agency headcount.

Goodstuff’s 2012 was packed with action. It had remodelled its business at the back end of 2011 and relaunched as a full-service media agency (after seven years as a pure comms operation). It made a smooth transition into buying media for its clients, no doubt helped by the fact it has Omnicom Media Group’s buying prowess as a resource. OMG increased its stake in the agency last year, but remains a minority shareholder so the agency can trumpet its independence.

What Goodstuff displayed in 2012 was what every agency should strive for: an ability to balance new-business wins with fantastic work for clients, with one not detracting from the other. The agency was as dedicated to delivering award-winning work for the likes of Virgin Media, via its dedicated unit Fifty6, and Ann Summers as it was in reeling in new business from clients including Dorothy Perkins and Secret Escapes.

The 26-strong agency is in safe hands, led by the founding partners Ben Hayes and Andrew Stephens, and the strategy-heavy management team serves its niche well as a media agency that cares about the big idea. The sixth partner,

Bobby Din, who heads up trading, also adds an interesting dimension to the full-service proposition. No wonder it is pushing out creative campaigns that the largest media networks should be mouth-wateringly jealous of.

Goodstuff Communications
Type of agency Media planning and buying
Company ownership Independent (minority stake
held by Omnicom Media Group)
Key personnel Andrew Stephens partner
Ben Hayes partner
Simeon Adams partner
Simon Wilden partner
Paul Gayfer partner
Declared income £1.7m
Accounts at year end 25
Accounts won 12 (biggest: Secret Escapes)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: SsangYong)
TV 54%
Press 14%
Outdoor 10%
Radio 2%
Search 5%
Other 15%
Number of staff 26 (+109%)

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

How Goodstuff rates itself: 8

"To win Campaign’s Agency of the Year in our first full year after adding media buying to our core creative media planning business is beyond expectation. We knew the industry needed a different model that put independence and creativity at the fore, but the awards, new business, profile and talent coming our way has been beyond our wildest dreams. And whilst the Partners get most of the profile, it’s the Goodstuffers who deserve the credit, so thanks to them."