18 Feet & Rising struck a deal with Creston in June last year to sell 27 per cent of the business for £1 million. Jonathan Trimble, the chief executive, said he had found it impossible to grow as an independent with clients demanding so much.
But the agency is not conceding much to Creston. Moreover, the holding group’s chief executive, Barrie Brien, seems genuine when he talks about nurturing creative agencies.
Alas, corporate respectability was not enough to save 18 Feet & Rising’s relationship with AkzoNobel.
The Dutch multinational "rationalised" (its word) the roster in November, which led to the agency parting ways with its Cuprinol, Polycell and Hammerite brands.
Nationwide was an even bigger loss. 18 Feet & Rising had pulled the relationship back from the brink in the past but couldn’t halt the latest review – and, boy, did the relationship deteriorate fast. A few months after the split, court documents surfaced showing 18 Feet & Rising was suing the client for taking one of its scripts and producing an ad without crediting the agency. The pair settled in September. The agency won a moral victory but no cash.
18 Feet & Rising’s Christmas campaign for House of Fraser punched above its weight, largely thanks to a canny choice of tune. It was created by Anna Carpen, who has been with the agency almost from the start and took over as the creative partner when Matt Keon left to go back to Australia in 2016.
Carpen and 18 Feet & Rising will look forward to a fresh start in 2016, with fewer distractions.
How the agency rates itself: 7
"Chapter one of the agency’s journey closed and chapter two opened with a bang. The agency’s robustness and imagination to do whatever it takes behind a creatively supportive stance was put on display. The creative output also squared up and this is where the focus and push to succeed must continue."
|18 Feet & Rising|
|Type of agency||Creative|
|Company ownership||27% owned by Creston|
|Nielsen billings 2015||£30m|
|Nielsen billings 2014||£26m|
|Total accounts at year end||14|
|Accounts won||3 (biggest: Virgin Games)|
|Accounts lost||2 (biggest: Nationwide)|
|Number of staff||40 (+5%)|
|Key personnel||Jonathan Trimble, chief executive
Paul Spriggs, chief operating officer
Rob Ward, strategy partner
Anna Carpen, creative partner
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
Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.