Scotland Focus

By The Drum, Administrator

July 4, 2005 | 17 min read

Each month Adline gives a comprehensive rundown of agencies in key centres outside of London. However, have you ever wondered what types of services are offered by agencies north of the border? Here is a run down of some media and marketing services that are currently available and also, sometimes more importantly, the clients that they are working with.

Adline would like to note that the following are ranked alphabetically covering all disciplines of the marketing services from advertising to design, new media to media buying.

We hope you enjoy the work that our Celtic brethren are currently doing (and not a thistle in sight).



1576 celebrated its tenth year of business in 2004 and was launched by three former employees of The Leith Agency. Since launch, the agency has established itself as a top five Scottish agency as a result of a strong focus on creativity. Advertising clients of the agency include VisitScotland, Glenmorangie, Swinton Insurance and Direct Holidays. Creative director, Adrian Jefferey, monitors the agency’s creative output while Ruth Lees handles strategic planning. The agency has grown by 12 members of staff in the last year, now employing 32 people. During 2004 1576’s managing director, David Reid, signed up 17 new clients to the agency and posted its best ever financial figures.


Arc, previously known as IMP prior to the agency being taken over by the Arc Worldwide group, was launched in Scotland in 1997 and now employs 15 staff at its Edinburgh office and 140 staff in its London office. Arc Worldwide has 42 offices in 36 countries. Key clients for the agency, which is headed up by Joe McAspurn, include Belhaven Brewery, Abbey, BuildStore, Jim Beam Brands, Maxxium UK, Proctor & Gamble and Whyte & Mackay. Traditionally a sales promotion and direct marketing agency, Arc made its mark in the above-the-line advertising arena when it scooped a number of awards at the Scottish Advertising Awards 2004 for its outdoor poster work for Belhaven Best.


Now headed up by Chris Wallace, Barkers was established in 1963 and is a stalwart of the Scottish advertising industry, employing 85 people in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, Barkers is widely regarded as a safe pair of hands. Its client list includes many major companies and public organisations such as the Scottish Executive, Scottish Water, Behar Carpets, National Tyres, Drambuie, Scottish Prison Service, Hudson and Abbey, along with 18 universities, 15 local authorities, 6 NHS area boards and 10 charity/housing associations. It is very strong in recruitment advertising, a division of the business that is headed up by another industry stalwart, Alan Kelly.

The Bridge

Established in 1996 after a management buy-out, The Bridge is highly rated by clients for its creative product, its strategic thinking and its overall professionalism. Headed up by Brian Crook and creatively by Jonathan D’Aguilar and Liz O’Connor, the agency is best known for building the HEBS (now Health Scotland) brand and results of its ad campaigns have demonstrated a very tangible health benefit for Scotland’s population. Other clients that benefit from The Bridge’s effective and strategic approach include the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, Abbey, NHS 24, Unilever (Scottish Blend), Scottish Rugby Union and learndirect. Employing 31 staff, the agency is based in the Merchant City of Glasgow, and in 2001 launched a design arm called Freight.

Citigate Smarts

Nowadays part of a completely integrated agency, the advertising part of Citigate Smarts was formed as Smarts by Rob Morrice and Pete Martin, in 1990. In 1999 the agency merged with Citigate Communications, subsequently becoming part of the global Incepta Group, and an integrated marketing communications agency into the bargain. These days Morrice assumes the role of regional chief executive, with Mark Gorman responsible for heading up Citigate Smarts Scotland, which has offices in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Citigate Smarts’ advertising clients include Morrison Bowmore, National Museums of Scotland, Young Scot and Scotsman Publications, and, although now part of an agency which offers multiple marketing services, including PR, design and online, the company continues to pack a strong punch in the advertising sector. The expanding agency also has offices in Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast and Dublin.

Family Advertising

Family was founded in 2002 by directors Ian Wright, Jill Taylor, Kevin Bird, and David Isaac, following a breakaway from Yellow M, and has firmly established itself as one of the best advertising agencies in Scotland. Last year saw the agency being appointed onto the much sought after Scottish Executive roster and have a variety of clients in the advertising area of the business, including Burn Stewart Scottish Distillers (recognised in the 2004 Scottish Advertising Awards), Dunfermline Building Society, Lloyds TSB, Martin & Frost and WL Gore Associates. The agency has gone from strength to strength in recent times and will no doubt have yet another prosperous year ahead.


Formed nearly 19 years ago, GRP is one of Glasgow’s longest surviving and most successful advertising agencies. Having had a successful rebranding last year the agency has gone from strength to strength in recent times employing 41 members of staff in total. The agency offers a full service for its clients -from advertising to design and new media. Clients that benefit from these range of services include Toyota, Rangers Football Club, Saga Radio.

Jump Marketing

Ann Duncan, Derek Cotter, Reg Young and Moyra Harvey launched Jump Marketing eighteen months ago – after successfully landing the Burger King account, an account that previously lay with the now defunct Draft. The company currently employs eight full-time members of staff, along with one part-time member. Along with Burger King, the firm’s clients include Belhaven Breweries Caledonian Breweries and Grampian Country Food.

The Leith Agency

The Leith Agency was launched in 1984, and during the last 21 years it has become widely regarded as one of the most successful brand advertising agencies ever to come out of Scotland. The Leith now employs 85 people and has an office in London launched in 2000. Brands that have benefited from The Leith’s advertising in the last 21 years include Barr’s Irn-Bru, Standard Life, Tennent’s Lager, Clydesdale Bank, Northern Electric, ScotRail, SECC and Bass plc. Its client list now includes the likes of Coors Brewers, Standard Life Bank, Scottish Executive and CR Smith.


A breakaway from The Leith Agency, Newhaven was a little different from most start-up agencies, in that it already had the prestigious Tennent’s advertising account under its belt.

Just over two years later and the agency has expanded both its staff and its client list, now working with names which include Scottish Equitable, Whyte & Mackay, National Galleries of Scotland and the Scottish Executive, as well as its award-winning Tennent’s advertising.

Navigator Responsive Advertising

Navigator joined the Cello Group, t, at the end of last year. The agency has a combined wealth of experience that covers a vast range of industries, both from the agency and client perspectives. Offering strategic planning, research and database expertise, Navigator’s advertising is geared for response. From direct response television adverts to responsive press campaigns and incentivised promotions, Navigator works for a range of clients, including AEGON UK, Bank of Scotland, Britannic Asset Management, De Vere Resort, Dumfries and Galloway Tourist Board, Forbo-Nairn, HBOS, Highland Park, IF, Remy Martin, Scottish Courage Brands, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Equitable, Scottish Widows, ScottishPower and Famous Grouse Whisky.


While Story may have been initially launched as a direct marketing specialist, in the two-and-a-half years the agency has been going it has increasingly become a threat on the above-the-line advertising scene. So much so that in the last year alone Story has won advertising briefs in competition against traditional above-the-line agencies, which has seen business such as Ardbeg and Stagecoach take their business to the agency. Creatively the agency is headed up by Dave Mullen, whose creative credentials are widely praised by his peers, and this is borne out by the raft of Scottish, UK and international awards his work has won. Sue Mullen heads up the agency as managing director, and she is still heavily involved with client business on a day-to-day basis despite having a respected account management team. Clients that also use the agency’s direct marketing offer include Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank, First Direct, Direct Holidays, ntl: home and Marks & Spencer’s Money.


999 Design Group

999 Design has been operating in Glasgow for more than two decades and has built a solid reputation as one of the UK’s leading design agencies. As part of a recent restructuring process 999 acquired rival Glaswegian design agency Blue Peach, which saw the agency’s staff, and respected managing director Joe Hall, join the 999 team. Owners and founding directors, Bill Gaughan and Richard Bissland, have expanded their consultancy into London and Manchester and now employ 40 staff. The design consultancy has worked on design projects with some` of the biggest brands in the UK, including Sony, Reebok, Orange, Highland Spring, Scottish Enterprise, Warburtons, ScottishPower, Sunderland Golf and Scottish Water. New contracts with BT, Department of Trade and Industry, BBC, Christies Auctioneers and Freeview were also announced in the last year.


BD-NTWK was launched in 1991 as a sales promotion and direct marketing agency, but got into design in the mid-90s when Tank was launched as its own graphic design arm. Tank is no more, but design still forms an important and integral part of the BD-NTWK business. The agency’s client list is impressive and boasts many household brand names such as Coca-Cola, The Famous Grouse, McCain, Coors Brewers, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Lurpak and Aardman Animations, the company behind Wallace and Gromit. Headed up by Claire Kinloch, the company employs more than 100 people in Glasgow and London, with 80 per cent of the workforce now based in the English capital working on briefs for the clients mentioned.


One of the biggest agencies in the field of design, CuriousOranj has 22 members of staff working on clients that include University of Aberdeen, Edinburgh College of Art, Virgin Radio, SMG and STV. The agency had an eventful year last year with the creation of CuriousGroup, which saw it join forces with McConville Architecture to offer a range of services that also include interior design.


Elmwood launched into Edinburgh in March 2002, expanding the agency’s presence out-with England, and its headquarters in Leeds. Since then Elmwood has opened in London, and, just last year, expanded into Australia. With 50 employees working across the company’s four offices, Edinburgh is seen as an important part of the Elmwood offering. Headed up in Scotland by Nick Ramshaw, Elmwood has, this year alone, scooped a raft of new business, including work from Jenners, HBOS, NHS and Glenmorangie.


Hookson was launched as a breakaway from Tayburn by Brian Hook and the now departed Jason Dobson in 2001, and now employs ten staff in locations in Edinburgh, London and Dublin. The consultancy is a results-focused business that takes a media neutral approach to a client’s marketing challenges. In the four years the consultancy has been trading clients such as The Royal Bank of Scotland, Whyte & Mackay, Caithness Glass, Wedgwood, University of Ulster and Harris Tweeds and Yarns have all bought into their approach. This growing consultancy was also appointed to the preferred supplier list of Scottish Water during 2004.


This year sees Navyblue celebrate its tenth year in business. The celebrations are twofold, as the agency also moved to new and impressive offices at Corn Exchange in Leith. Last year saw a raft of new appointments with Jim Faulds joining as the agency’s chairman and Alan Ainsley as design director. Furthermore, seven staff, including three former directors, from Northcross, formed a joint venture with Navyblue to establish Navyblue 3D Design. Having already created Scotland and Republic of Ireland’s bid to host Euro 2008, last year the agency won a pitch to design London’s high-profile bid to host the 2012 Olympics..


Redpath has recently celebrated ten years in the design business, and in those ten years the agency has grown to 14 staff and has become a highly respected design consultancy working for a range of clients both home and abroad. Headed up by Richard Irvine, and led creatively by Andrew Hunter and Ian Lauder, the consultancy is not one that simply focuses on pictures and imagery. Clients that have bought into the Redpath approach include SportScotland and The Royal Bank of Scotland, which have used the consultancy for literature and communications; NHS Scotland and St Martin in The Field, which have used the consultancy for identity work; and Highland Park and Somerfield, which have employed the consultancy for packaging and branding.


Founded in late 2002 Stand, under directors Stuart Gilmour, Maggie Croft and Mark Stephenson, has quickly become one of Scotland’s most respected and high-profile design consultancies, producing frequently award-winning creative for a client base which includes Interbrew UK, Jim Beam, Maxxium, BAFTA Scotland and Slater, Hogg & Howison.


Founded by Erick Davidson in 1979, Tayburn’s name has become synonymous with the Scottish design industry.

Proudly based in Edinburgh, the company has since expanded to open offices in Liverpool, London and Istanbul, and numbers 60 staff members. An eventful year in 2004 saw the company negotiate a takeover of Edinburgh-based rival Newton.eh6, open its Liverpool office and succeed in winning 23 pitches in the space of 12 months. Tayburn, it seems, is going from strength to strength. Meanwhile Clients currently enjoying the agency’s professionalism and creativity include Scottish & Newcastle, Diageo, Glenmorangie and Lloyds TSB.

Third Eye Design

Third Eye Design’s handles a wide range of design briefs, from branding to packaging and from websites to annual reports. The consultancy works for a wide range of clients, both in Scotland and outwith its borders, including The Royal Bank of Scotland, clothing brand Mackintosh, high-quality confectionary brand Kschocolat, Glasgow School of Art and Aberlour Children’s Trust.



Bigmouthmedia is in the business of search engine optimisation, e-marketing and internet marketing. One of the pioneers of search engine optimisation, the company has more than seven years’ experience in the field.

Along the way Bigmouthmedia has won many SEO awards and the company’s client list is enviable. Clients include names from all sectors of business, from media to communications, to recruitment and airlines; names like MTV, Sony PlayStation, Marks & Spencer, Sony Ericsson, Bank of Scotland, Alitalia, King Sturge, Laura Ashley, NSPCC, Comic Relief, Starbucks, Disney and many more.

DC Interact

With offices in Edinburgh and London, DC Interact has built an impressive client roster that includes the likes of Coors, Tesco Personal Finance and ScottishPower. The agency clearly has no interest in being all things to all people, deciding instead to offer a specialist service in new media solutions to clients. DC Interact was highly praised for its account handling and professionalism, while also being noted as particularly good value for money. Clients include Littlewoods, Penguin, Calvin Klein and the Liberal Democrat Party.


Realise is one of Scotland’s largest new media agencies, employing 42 staff. Based in Edinburgh’s Leith district the agency works for a long list of blue chip clients including Standard Life, Schroders, HBOS, Investec, DTZ, Masons and the National Trust for Scotland. Over the last year Realise has launched a number of new websites for established businesses – Charlie Miller, Havelock Europa and Scottish Investment Trust, being only a few. The agency was ranked number one interactive agency in Scotland by New Media Age and recently appointed a new non-executive chairman in the form of highly-respected Scottish businessman, Iain MacDonald.


Whitespace, based in Edinburgh, has built a strong reputation for itself in the fields of both online and print communications. A team of 17 staff work on a wide range of online clients including the much sought after Scottish Executive brief. Other clients in the field of online communication include Bank of Scotland Corporate, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Dobbies, Belhaven Pubs Division, QMS, Kenmore, Global Friends of Scotland and Aspect. Whitespace now splits its time and client list 50–50 across online and print work, showing the importance in consistency across all platforms of communication. The agency was founded, just over seven years ago, as an offshoot of 1576.



Formed by PR veterans Cameron Grant and Julie McGarvey on 1 January 2001 (hence 3x1), the consultancy has gone on to win a number of industry awards and been acclaimed both in Scotland and South of the Border. Scottish Courage, Highland Spring, St Andrews Bay and the Seafish Authority.

Beattie Communications

Journalist Gordon Beattie founded the eponymous PR firm in 1986, offering a range of communications services, including both external and internal communications, PR, interactive services and IT consultancy. The agency currently operates across nine offices throughout the whole of the UK, becoming, according to the agency, the largest independent communications consultancy in Britain. Clients that the agency has worked with include Birthdays, Bovis Lend Lease, BP, BT and Kwik-Fit Insurance Services. The agency has also in the past year expanded the networks offering into Manchester and launched an automotive division that is aimed at targeting vehicle manufacturers and the supply chain in the UK and oversees, based in Birmingham.

The Big Partnership

The Big Partnership has done a good job of shaking up the Scottish PR scene since its arrival in 2000. Formed by directors Alex Barr, Graham Isdale and Neil Gibson, in the space of just a few years the company has expanded throughout Scotland and now employs 40 staff, across offices in Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen, as well as its Glasgow headquarters. In addition to this, last year saw Big taking over rival Scottish PR and communications agency Catchline, which continues to trade under its own name in Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh. The Big Partnership offers expertise in a range of sectors, including corporate, business-to-business, consumer, shipping, oil and gas, sport and education, and currently works for a diverse client list which includes Aberdeen Football Club, Clydeport, Deloitte and the Scottish Executive.

Media House International

Jack Irvine’s name has been synonymous with the PR industry in Scotland for a number of years. Formed in 1991, the agency now has four offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and New York, and has handled numerous clients that have been splashed across national newspapers on many occasions. The agency over the past year, for example, has worked on issues such as the smoking ban in Scotland, the land reform campaign, Smithfield market campaign and care for the elderly. Irvine is indeed the man in the know when it comes to PR advice in Scotland.

Some of these companies also feature unabridged in the Scottish Recommended Agency Guide – an in-depth research study conducted over the last six months among Scottish-based clients. To order your copy please contact Diane Canning at


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