School Reports 2017: Now


Score: 6
Last year: 6

How the agency rates itself: 7

Last year may turn out to have been a defining one for Now. Not only did it set out to boost its creative potency and make data a central part of its offering, but it pushed industry boundaries with some offbeat initiatives.

With Remco Graham, a Cannes Lion winner at Mcgarrybowen, having taken over creative command from Steve Paskin at the beginning of the year, Now had chalked up a couple of significant wins by the half-way mark.

In February, Intu, owner of shopping malls including the Trafford Centre and Lakeside, named Now and its Blue 449 pitch partner winners of an assignment to help turn the company into a national brand.

Perhaps a more crucial indicator of Now’s future path, though, may be the midsummer climax to a four-month pitch process that saw Now appointed by Ocado, the UK’s biggest online supermarket, as its creative agency.

The Ocado win may be meaningful because of the agency’s declared intent to put data at the heart of its activity. This has manifested itself in the launch of the Now Numbers division, led by new hiring Simon Wall, a former PHD executive and co-founder of data consultancy Fuel (now part of Engine).

Equally interesting has been Now’s moves to embrace the unconventional. The agency has created a model to help Public Health England allocate its budget, taken a minority stake in The Pool, an online women’s magazine co-founded by Lauren Laverne, and helped launch a brand, Betty, to dispel the taboos around periods.

Will 2016 prove to have been the year when Now began determining its identity and working out exactly where it wants to go? The answer is likely to become clearer this year.

How the agency describes its year in a tweet

2016 was the year we went from start-up to grown-up. We won new clients, brought in exciting talent, and became an investor.

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