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The Drum’s New Year Honours: agencies to watch, brand to watch, one to watch (for the wrong reasons), innovative work to watch

The Drum's New Years Honours aren't all about looking back. Here we honour the brands and agencies that took their first steps towards greatness in 2013 and are destined for bigger and better in 2014. We also hedge our bets on the one to watch for all the wrong reasons and take a look at a new piece of advertising innovation from 2013 which, all going to plan, could be a game changer this year and beyond.

Throughout this week The Drum has been revealing its pick of the top brands, agencies and campaigns of the last year. The full list is available in The Drum's 8 January issue, which is available for purchase from The Drum Store. These categories from our New Years Honours list celebrates those who have caught the attention of The Drum in 2013, and who we predict will be the ones to watch over the coming months. As well as the brands and agencies we think have got it right, one brand has been honoured for all the wrong reasons.Yesterday The Drum revealed its appointment of the year, most exciting launch and the coolest thing we saw in 2013.

Ones to watch (agency)

Space: It may be a small company but Space has tackled campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Desperados, Wimbledon, Samsung and Lufthansa. It does not identify itself as an advertising agency but instead an integrated marketing agency, and its memorable, eye-catching campaigns invite consumers to fully engage in a multi-sensory experience. The agency’s recent Desperados campaign exemplifies this unusual vision. The agency created branded Desperados stages at London-centric music festivals to reach potential drinkers. Space is a breath of fresh air and undoubtedly one to watch over the next 12 months. Gravity Road: According to Gravity Road’s website it develops its own entertainment IP using alchemy, voodoo and ancient astrological maps. This strategy is subject to debate, but we can be certain that this independent start-up is serious about producing beautiful, creative and well-executed campaigns. It works with a variety of clients and prides itself on its smart approach to content creation. One example of this is the agency’s collaboration with editorial partner Grazia and YouTube to produce Fashtag – the first YouTube channel with a real-world location in Carnaby Street. Growing from strength to strength, Gravity Road is set to make 2014 its year. Media Monks: Digital production agency Media Monks made some big changes last year, expanding internationally from its creative headquarters in Amsterdam and opening satellite offices in London, New York and Singapore. Its London base is continually growing in size and reputation and has secured its place in The Drum’s ones to watch.Already a fully established player in Amsterdam, the agency grew its London offering with the appointment of Astrid van Essen as its new managing director in November, moving from her post as client services director in the Dutch capital. The company has worked with brands from Heineken and Stella Artois to TEDX events and consistently produces thoughtful, engaging work, with a typical Dutch flair for design. As well as being relied upon to challenge mediocrity, the agency also throws some of the best parties in advertising, as its summer celebration in Cannes this year attests.

One to watch (brand)

Whisk.co.uk: So here’s a clever idea for you – an app that allows users to browse for a recipe on any cooking website and locate the best store to buy all of the necessary incredients on their website. This allows users to easily plan meals for the week while doing their shopping from home – and offers supermarkets another channel in which to sell their products. It will even suggest recipes to cook with leftovers and the perfect wine to have with your meal. Launched by former contestant of The Apprentice and entrepreneur Nick Holzherr in January after securing over £500,000 from angel investors and venture capitalists in 2012, the web and mobile app looks set to shake up the online food market.

One to watch (for the wrong reasons)

Wonga: Oh dear, where did it all go Wonga? It’s been a tough PR year for the payday lender brand. No sooner had it felt the wrath of the almighty – well the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, at least – when it was given a swift kick by Newcastle footballer Papiss Cissé who was less than happy about wearing a shirt with the Wonga logo on it following the brand’s sponsorship deal with the club.Throw in an ‘irresponsible ad’ ruling from the ASA, some tuppence worth from Labour leader Ed Miliband about advertising morality and the rather embarrassing direct-marketing-to-a-12-year-old-boy incident, and the year has become something of a PR write-off for the brand. However, Wonga did report a 35 per cent leap in profits in 2013. That’ll help pay for this year’s PR.

Innovative work to watch

Google Outside: In an exciting pilot scheme bringing search outdoors, Google Outside was launched in November across 160 sites in London. The scheme employs the same Google Now technology used in smartphones to provide location-based, real-time information to passers by, with digital screens located in 100 bus shelters and 60 tube stations. Incorporating a journey planner, city guide and weather forecast to keep locals and tourists alike up-to-date, Google Outside represents a step forward in the future of search with its combination of bespoke technology, highly visual, accessible information, and its sheer simplicity. Google worked with R/GA London on the concept and strategy behind the trial, while the media agency involved was Manning Gottlieb OMD and the digital campaign was planned, bought and delivered by Talon and Grand Visual.

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Staff Writer

The Drum is a global media platform and the biggest marketing website in Europe. We produce The Drum magazine, 30 awards and events and manage The Drum Network which aims to make independently minded agencies more successful. We also help brands find the right agencies to work with through the Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

All by Staff