School Reports 2013: Gravity Road

Bombay Sapphire
Bombay Sapphire

Score: 7  Last year: n/a

There may be some people out there for whom the name Gravity Road continues to draw a blank. It’s perfectly understandable, as the start-up, founded in May 2011, is positioned as a creative "studio business", as opposed to a creative agency. So, you could argue, it fights its battles in territory unfamiliar to most. But make no mistake, smart agencies realise that the content arena is where advertisers are heading, and if they aren’t devoting resource to it, then they should be.

And so to Gravity Road’s debut School Report, after its first full year of trading, where there is much to be proud. The agency’s ledger of clients started to fill up with the capture of the AOL Huffington Post ad account as well as global lead agency status for creative and content for Bombay Sapphire.

These provided some significant creative opportunities with a series of well-executed – and innovative – ads that featured Huffington Post bloggers based around the site’s "conversations start here" positioning.

For Bombay Sapphire, Gravity Road created a new vehicle for its arts platform that encouraged members of the public to submit film treatments for a script written by the Oscar-winning writer Geoffrey Fletcher. The competition was supported by a series of brand films exploring imagination and a stop-frame animation on the film-writing process.

Bigger still was Gravity Road winning a place on the roster to create dedicated fashion content for new YouTube channels. It found itself alongside established players such as ITV, BBC Worldwide and Liberty Bell – not bad for an agency only 18 months old at the time. Further evidence of its roots as a "studio business" comes from a commission from Channel 4 to create a comedy series.

There was considerable goodwill at launch to the founders, both of whom achieved much success at Bartle Bogle Hegarty (Mark Boyd) and Drum (Mark Eaves). So far, they haven’t disappointed. Expect more of the same in 2013.

Gravity Road
Type of agency Creative agency/content company
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Mark Boyd founder
Mark Eaves founder
David Pattison chairman
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 8
Accounts won 8 (biggest: Bombay Sapphire)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 17 (+400%)

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 Gravity Road rates itself: 8

"A big first year: highlights include the AOLHuffPost full service win, strategy work for Coca-Cola and Sainsbury’s; global creative content for Bombay Sapphire; and a talent partnership for Pandora focused around Girls Aloud’s high profile reunion.  Ambitious entertainment projects, independent of clients, also came centre stage. This included funding from YouTube for an original channel launch, and a new comedy show commissioned by Channel 4. This exceptional mix of output is exactly why we launched."