School Reports 2016: Goodstuff Communications


Goodstuff Communications continues to offer something unique in the media world. It acts like an independent and yet has the backing of Omnicom, so it can draw on the holding group’s buying and infrastructural might.

In 2015, Goodstuff continued to make gains in new business, picking up the £10 million account for Hiscox ahead of M/SIX and PHD. Goodstuff also expanded its relationship with Zoopla to include non-TV work previously handled by Vizeum. Smaller wins included the property site easyProperty, the soup brand Glorious! and the airline price-comparison site Cheapflights.

The agency’s biggest loss was the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre account, which moved to Initiative after a pitch prompted by a management restructure. The other client to go out of the door was Huawei, which handed its UK media to OMD UK in May after a pitch. Given that the Chinese tech giant had stopped working with OMD by the end of the year and hired Maxus in February 2016, the departure could be seen as a blessing.

Following new-business successes in 2015, the agency’s staff ranks grew by a whopping 31 per cent. Its six-strong senior management team, meanwhile, led by the affable Andrew Stephens and Ben Hayes, remains stable.

Goodstuff could do with a blockbuster win to show it is able to party with the big boys or even rival the size of fellow independent the7stars. That said, if Goodstuff were to win a client that dominated its roster, the shop would risk becoming just another member of the herd. And no-one wants that.

How the agency rates itself: 7

"A storming start to 2015 with Hiscox and Zoopla consolidation. Disappointingly, we struck out on a couple of big pitches across the summer, but bounced back with a strong finish to the year. Some notable work highlights, from House of Fraser’s Christmas campaign to more content creation for Taylors of Harrogate and Celebrity Cruises. Hitting a headcount of 55 means we’re geared up for an even more successful 2016."

Goodstuff Communications
Type of agency Media
Company ownership 35% owned by Omnicom
Nielsen billings 2015 £44m
Nielsen billings 2014 £38m
Declared income £4.2m
Total accounts at year end 38
Accounts won 7 (biggest: Hiscox)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Mothercare/ELC)
Traditional media 89%
Digital media 11%
Number of staff 55 (+31%)
Key personnel Ben Hayes, co-founding partner
Andrew Stephens, co-founding partner
Simon Wilden, partner
Bobby Din, partner
Paul Gayfer, 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.