School Reports 2016: Brothers and Sisters


In 2014, Brothers and Sisters underwent a series of changes, not least welcoming a new chief executive, Matthew Charlton. These changes started to bear fruit last year.

The agency won a brief to promote a new app for Aegon UK and landed the short-term loans company Sunny. It also picked up the dental payment-plan specialist Denplan. It’s not a sexy account but the shop created a surprisingly good TV ad encouraging people to fix their teeth for the sake of their selfies – although it was later banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Brothers and Sisters’ most successful work was for its long-term client Sky. A Sky Sports film inserted Thierry Henry into iconic moments in the Premier League and was viewed by 20 million people on Facebook – the social network’s most successful ad in EMEA at the time. The agency’s first campaign for Carphone Warehouse starring Keith Lemon did so well online that it was used on TV as well.

To sharpen its creative output, Brothers and Sisters created a head of comedy role, which was handed (on a part-time basis) to Lucy Robinson, a producer of The 11 O’Clock Show and Pramface.

The year wasn’t without its lows. The e-cigarette brand Blu launched a review in February, and Brothers and Sisters did not contest the account. The agency also said goodbye to the cinema chain Vue (but later won the cinema ad company Pearl & Dean) and Cafédirect.

In 2015, Brothers and Sisters proved that it can create interesting, shareable work and also perform strongly in a pitch environment. This year, it needs to add more high-profile clients to really get the agency moving.

How the agency rates itself: 8

"It’s been a spectacular year of progress. We made big things for big brands. We ticked all the boxes we set out to tick. Genuinely famous and shared film work, innovative use of content and digital, pitch wins, strong financial growth and happy, fulfilled staff who enjoy making great creative that really matters. In a market where truly independent agencies are becoming rare beasts, we hopefully put ourselves at the front of that pack."

Brothers and Sisters
Type of agency Creative advertising
Company ownership Independent
Nielsen billings 2015 £53m
Nielsen billings 2014 £54m
Declared income £7m
Total accounts at year end 20
Accounts won 4 (biggest: Sunny)
Accounts lost 3 (biggest: Blu)
Number of staff 70 (+35%)
Key personnel Andy Fowler, founder and executive creative director
Matthew Charlton, chief executive
Phil Teer, chief strategy officer
Kevin Brown, managing director, Making
Lucy Robinson, head of comedy

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.