School Reports 2013: I8 Feet & Rising

Virgin Media
Virgin Media

Score: 7  Last year: 7

2012 was the year that 18 Feet & Rising, at the tender age of two, became a global mini network, launching its first international office in Sydney.

In an admirable display of chutzpah, the agency, led by the chief executive, Jonathan Trimble, acquired a stake in the Australian shop Colman Rasic and rebranded the shop as 18 Feet & Rising. In other news, the shop picked up some new business, made key hirings and upsized to bigger offices on Clipstone Street.

18 Feet & Rising fended off Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R to pick up the National Trust advertising business at the beginning of 2012.

It went on to win the £3 million ad account for Cuprinol, the AkzoNobel woodcare brand, after a pitch against DHM, The Brooklyn Brothers and The Corner. The agency was also hired to create the launch campaign for the new cleaning product Replenish without a pitch. Other

new-business wins included the marketing for the Government’s National Citizen Service, the Center Parcs strategy brief and the ad account for the children’s bike-maker Early Rider.

18 Feet & Rising’s most senior hiring was the JWT Sydney creative group head Stephen de Wolf as a creative director to work across the client portfolio including LoveFilm, Nationwide and Virgin Media.

The shop’s work last year had its moments, but could have done with more of the dynamism that is in evidence in other parts of the business. The highlight was the oddball LoveFilm campaign at the start of the year featuring a family in a matching set of onesies and a pair of "gangsta grannies". Other work included a tongue-in-cheek poster campaign for Virgin Media and some TV work for its biggest client, Nationwide.

Overall, a relatively successful year for 18 Feet & Rising, but the shop could do with gaining a few more significant clients that will allow it to display more of its irreverent spirit.

18 Feet & Rising 
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Jonathan Trimble chief executive
Matt Keon executive creative director
Tim Millar chief strategy officer
Jon Busk managing director
Rob Ward strategy partner
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 11
Accounts won 7 (biggest: National Trust)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 31 (+35%)

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 18 Feet & Rising rates itself: 7

"Adolescence brought awkward growth spurts, a new home for an enlarged tribe, the beginning of a view beyond the UK and a stable of new creative platforms. All of this must now yield work becoming of the standards we set ourselves, despite the entropy of current times."