School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]


Type of agency & ownership:  Independent next-generation entertainment company
Nielsen billings 2017: n/s
Declared income: £9.2m
Total accounts at year end: 29
Accounts won: 14 (biggest: n/s)
Accounts lost: 0
Number of staff: 68 (+13%)
Key personnel: Al MacCuish, co-founder and creative chairman; Kit Hawkins, co-founder and executive chairman; Mel Exon, group chief executive officer; Ed Warren, group chief creative officer; Katie Lee, managing director
Star player: Ellie Parker, project executive

Year in review

Sunshine describes itself as a "next-generation entertainment company", and in 2017 that came to fruition. While adland traditionalists puzzled over what, exactly, Sunshine does, the company got on with the work, growing its business by 45% year on year.

Its success was helped by the addition of strong talent. Gravity Road managing director Katie Lee moved to the same role at Sunshine, while Ed Warren, co-founder of Creature of London, joined as group chief creative officer. Emily Liddington also came on board as vice-president of live experience with the aim of growing that side of the business.

On the experiential front, Sunshine helped Google showcase its Pixel phone with Poem Portraits, a collaboration with stage designer Es Devlin. The installation invited guests to donate words that accumulated in portraits of poetry and faces. Following that project, Sunshine worked with Devlin again on The Singing Tree for the V&A Museum, a Christmas-tree installation, consisting of human and machine-generated voices.

Sunshine also got the green light to produce its own properties, such as a feature film about the band Chumbawamba. It also scored an Emmy nomination for the documentary My Beautiful Broken Brain.

For BBC Earth, Sunshine recruited academic happiness researchers to investigate how watching animals makes people feel. That resulted in the Real Happiness Project, an entertainment property consisting of year-long content, events and technological innovations.

Sunshine is expanding in New York and Los Angeles this year and, with more projects in the pipeline, its work promises to remain outside the box.

Agency's Year In A Tweet

""Don’t interrupt the things people love, be the thing people love" ~ @_SunshineCo #hellosunshine"


Score this year: 6
Score last year: 7
How the agency scores itself: 7
Management strength: 7
Creativity: 7
Innovation: 7
New business: 8
Diversity: 6

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: n/s
Previous: n/s
Change: n/s

Operating profit

Latest: n/s
Previous: n/s
Change: n/s

List of total accounts

Retained include:

A+E Networks

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Roald Dahl Literary Estate

City of Angels FC

HotPod Yoga

Project-based include:

7-Inches for Planned Parenthood

AEG Presents


Be Cool Be Nice

BBC & Sky: Hope Works

BBC Worldwide


Greenwich Peninsula

Gucci Chime for Change


Neal’s Yard Remedies



Star ALE

Universal Pictures

Top three spending accounts:

A&E Networks (£2.9m)

Kering (£1.3m)

AB (£1.7m)

Number of retained accounts: 9
Number of accounts that are projects: 20
Biggest win: n/s
Biggest loss: No losses



Haymarket award wins