Review of the Year 2006
The creative industries in Scotland proved that growth in the industry is achievable – especially if you work hard. And hard work is something that has not been avoided in 2006 as Scotland’s agencies went through stages of posturing, shuffling, hiring and positioning which led, in many cases, to sustained periods of winning.
It’s been an eventual year, and as 2007 draws ever closer, there is a small window of opportunity for reflection on the year gone by.
Jauary started with a bang for former Barkers’ advertising director, Mike Kemsley, who launched his eponymous agency, luring his former Barkers colleague Norrie Leckie, and former clients Forrest and Macdonald Furnishing, Viking International and National Tyres and Autocare.
Meanwhile, Scotsman Publications got a new MD, with Michael Johnston (son of former Johnston boss Freddy) replacing Steven Walker just days after the firm took control of the newspaper group.
At the latter end of the month, Frame won the advertising account for the McEwan’s Ale portfolio, marking the first activity by the brand in a decade.
Family kicked off February by hiring former Scottish Design of The Year Michael Fraser. He had been creative director at Graphic Partners until June 2005.
In less positive news, Pure Design collapsed into liquidation. However, as the one-time industry giants ceased trading it was announced that Republic Productions had brought on board the majority of Pure’s staff and clients.
The month continued badly with the second blow being the departure of the £7m Carling account out of The Leith Agency after five years. The move results in five of its London-based staff being made redundant.
Meanwhile, Curious Oranj merges with Glasgow rival Coltas to create The Curious Group, following Curious Oranj being placed into liquidation.
Finally, in February, Third Eye Design wins the Scottish Design Consultancy of the Year title. Agency MD Mark Noe picks up the Managing Director of the Year award.
Carolyn Laing, former director of BD Network returns to Scotland to join Good Creative; The Leith Agency launches its debut ad campaign for Irn-Bru32 giving viewers a first glimpse of Derek the cuckoo and wins SEAT fleet work; while Standard Life appoints MediaCom to handle its press planning and buying.
Carter Anderson succeeds Nick Lang and Norrie Leckie as creative director of Barkers.
Elsewhere, The RLA Group, which has offices in Belfast and Bournemouth, hires John Dalziel, former O&M business director, to launch a new Edinburgh office; and SMG briefs Elmwood to reposition Scottish Television.
Later in the month, Arnold Clark pulls its commercial production out of SMG and defects to Edinburgh-based Greenroom Films; Alan Ainsley leaves Stand to join Leithal Thinking; and Sage appoints Spider Online, the first time it’s appointed an external agency to a web project.
Spring brewed up a storm as the Scottish Rugby Union appoints Newcastle-based Cravens to its advertising account. But The Union reversed the business migration by winning The Seychelles Tourism Board to develop a new brand and marketing plan.
Third Eye Design made the news again as it raided London for a new creative director for its New York office, hiring Alexia Cox from Michael Nash Associates. And, back in Edinburgh, almost a year after leaving sales promotion agency Arc, former managing director Joe McAspurn launched a new promotional marketing agency Ignition; Feather Brooksbank won the Setanta Sports media account from MediaCom - the second win of the month for Feathers, which also scooped the Pomegreat brand account.
As the circulation war hots up, the Daily Record launches a new brand advertising campaign to try and stave off its rival, The Scottish Sun.
Edinburgh-based talk radio station Talk 107 started the month by hiring 1576 to create its second phase of advertising; Feather Brooksbank won the £4m media strategy account for News Corp; Frame scooped the Marketing Services Company of the Year title at The Marketing Excellence Awards; ScottishPower reviewed its £4.5m advertising business, held by The Bridge since 2001 while Citigate Smarts announced it was rebranding as IAS Smarts.
There were a number of departures too. Design stalwart Joe Hall launched his own agency, leaving 999 just two years after his former agency Blue Peach merged with the Scottish design giants; The Big Partnership confirmed that one of its founders, Graham Isdale, had left the agency and Trimedia’s UK regions managing director Graeme Jack quit to go client side to Robert Wiseman Dairies.
In what was a bumper month for news, Bell Graphic appointed new creative director Ricky Regan from Pointsize; and The Lighthouse lost its founding director Stuart McDonald to Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. May also saw the Roses Advertising Awards in Manchester, where Newhaven topped the medals table and also scooped the Chairman’s Award for its work on Tennent’s.
Another month and another awards do: The Scottish Design Awards. The awards sees a fairly even split, with no one company running away with the gongs. Graphical House, however, scoops the Grand Prix Award for its BBC Scotland work, while Studio LR won the Chairman’s Award for its Ideas Leave Objects Standing project. Ian McIlroy is also presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In June, Jim Faulds also announced a ‘mutual’ decision to leave his chairmanship at Navyblue; Newhaven was appointed by Scottish Opera and Line geared up to launch the new Edinburgh Film Festival website.
Meanwhile, at the Scottish Media Awards, Newsquest won both Media and Publishing Company of the Year, News International won the Chairman’s Award and Real Radio scooped Broadcast Company of the Year.
In the biggest news of the month, Newhaven scooped the £4.5m ScottishPower advertising account, after a hard won battle against the incumbent, The Bridge; The Leith Agency and London-based Leagas Delaney.
Still smarting after its Carling loss, July saw The Leith Agency merge its London office with Farm Communications, which had recently been bought by Leith’s parent group Cello.
Mike Lynch, board director at Navyblue, joined Nevis as commercial director; GRP bolstered its place on the Toyota roster; and Stand won the nine-way pitch to redesign Barr’s Iconic labels.
MTP undertook the Scottish-based production task for the follow-up to the Sony Bravia ‘balls’ ad. A hard task to follow, the shoot is the talk of Glasgow in July.
Elsewhere, Malky Brown, former head of digital at IAS Smarts, joins Line as board director; D8 launches the new identity for The Six Cities Design Festival and Elmwood kicks off a hunt for a new Scottish MD after it’s revealed that Nick Ramshaw is set to move to the agency’s head office in Leeds.
This month saw Alan Nicholls, below-the-line creative director at 1576 and founding member of Metis, leave the agency for BOB Marketing; The Media Shop retained the LearnDirect media account following a three-way pitch; and Mark Gorman quit his role as chief executive at IAS Smarts. Meanwhile, Adrian Searle returned to Freight following time at the National Theatre of Scotland. The month also marked The Scottish Sun’s succession over the Daily Record as Scotland’s best-read newspaper.
Aberdeen-based Fifth Ring expanded its operation opening an office in Dubai following the acquisition of Signature Dubai and, keeping with the expansion theme, Third Eye Design prepared to open an office in London with the acquisition of George & Vera.
Glasgow-based animation specialist ISO wins a brief to work with E4 Music, while Newhaven partners the Scottish Rugby Union to work on its professional team activity.
The Leith Agency restructured, appointing Richard Marsham as managing partner responsible for the Edinburgh office. Meanwhile, the Chip Shop Awards took place in Edinburgh as part of the Festival, attracting attention from agencies across the globe.
The Cello Group invested in newly launched digital agency Blonde, while BOB is appointed to handle the marketing activity for No Catch Cod, a new fish brand launched by Johnsons Seafarms.
Kwik-Fit appoints a new marketing director, Chris Bosworth, following the departure of Douglas McKenzie; while Liz O’Connor, one of the founders of Glasgow advertising agency The Bridge, leaves the agency.
Family won a place on the Visitscotland advertising roster, working on the business tourism brief and the agency announced the arrival of former TBWA/Edinburgh creative director, Pete Bastiman.
S1 announces it is looking for a new creative agency following The Union’s resignation of the account; and Dennis Chester, the former chairman of Faulds Advertising, is banned from being a company director for twelve years; the aftermath of his involvement in the closure of the agency in 2003. At the time of closure, Chester paid himself a dividend of £750,000 despite the agency owing almost £3m.
Feather Brooksbank scooped the planning and buying account for Freixenet; Tennent’s Lager brokers a deal to sponsor Scotland’s football team; and The Union retained the £1m Miller Homes advertising account.
After appointing Line to work on its website, Edinburgh International Film Festival begins a hunt for a new design agency while Frame launches a new TV campaign for Bulmers.
The mighty GRP five-a-side team romps to glory winning the Tennent’s sponsored Creative Cup for the second time.
Frame kicked off the month by appointing former Gala Coral sales and marketing director, Richard Sowerby, as non-executive director while Nick Barley, editor of The List magazine, is named as the new director of The Lighthouse after a lengthy search.
DA Group lures Erika Pelser from London-based iD Factor to be its first creative director for its fast-growing Yomego entertainment division. The Union is crowned Scottish Advertising Agency of the Year at the Scottish Advertising Awards. Newhaven walks away with the Grand Prix for its Tennent’s TV advert. And John Denholm, co-founder of The Leith Agency, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rounding up the rest of the month, Real Radio - which bought Q96 earlier in the year - appoints The Bridge to rebrand the station as 96.3 Rock Radio while 442 completed the re-branding for Highlands and Island Airports.
As the year draws to and end, S1 announces it’s shortlisted Navigator, The Leith Agency and Newhaven for its high-profile advertising account. Meanwhile, Tsuko launches mForm, a new online mortgage brand and Newhaven’s first ads for ScottishPower break.
Lawrence Craig, chairman of Curious Group, launches Valt – a single malt Scottish vodka. However, the news is tempered by rumours that Reid Furniture, a long-standing Curious client, is set to review its business.
The year ended with Edinburgh-based search giants Bigmouthmedia being sold in a multi-million pound deal and Radio Forth MD Adam Findlay announcing that he is to quit to fulfil his ambition of sailing into the Mediterranean sunset with his family.