School Reports 2016: Poke


Poke's second full year as a Publicis agency was an impressive one. Its move from Shoreditch to the UK group’s Baker Street HQ may have felt like wrenching a digital agency from its spiritual home but, with the support of the Publicis UK chief executive (and former AKQA boss), Guy Wieynk, Poke’s declared revenue has jumped from £3.6 million to £8 million. Not bad for a shop run by founders still working their earn-outs.

Some of Poke’s revenue is a result of new accounts including Google, Orange and Virgin, as well as additional business from existing clients such as Nestlé, SCA and Garnier (L’Oréal).

Poke’s best work of the year – and up there with its best work ever – was a ten-part YouTube series pitting vlogging stars against each other to promote EE’s sponsorship of Wembley Stadium. "The Wembley Cup" followed two teams of vloggers as they prepared for a grudge match at the stadium and received more than 40 million views. YouTube is now using the campaign as a global best-practice case study.

The agency, which promoted Angus Mackinnon to group creative director in 2015, also collaborated with Publicis London on the "life’s questions" campaign for UBS and launched "Nobel Perspectives", a digital platform for the bank that will feature 40 interviews with Economic Nobel Laureates.

Poke has been marked out as one of the success stories by Arthur Sadoun, the global chief executive of Publicis Worldwide, but this is no time for resting on its laurels. With the new push for integration among the various Publicis Communications businesses in 2016, driven by Robert Senior, Poke has a busy year ahead.

How the agency rates itself: 8

"An amazing year in our new family home in Marylebone led to growth in creative work, team and performance for Poke. A YouTube first with The EE Wembley Cup, two world-class creative directors joining, the launch of the "Nobel Perspectives" digital platform for UBS, the co-creation of an immersive marketing suite for Here East, a luxurious redesign for the shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser and designing a customer experience vision for Virgin.

Type of agency Digital
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Declared income £8m
Total accounts at year end 13
Accounts won 5 (biggest: Orange global)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 68 (+36%)
Key personnel Guy Wieynk, chief executive, Publicis UK and western Europe
Nick Farnhill, founding partner and chief executive
Nicolas Roope, founding partner and executive creative director
Tom Hostler, founding and client partner
Angus Mackinnon, group creative director

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.