Cello Group Digital Marketing Marketing

Super Group profiles - Part 2

By The Drum, Administrator

October 11, 2007 | 15 min read

1. The Mission Marketing Group (theMission)

The Mission Marketing Group plc is a network of creative communications agencies with locations around the UK. The Mission are focused primarily on agencies that are based outside the M25. This gives the Group a significant cost profile and competitive advantage. The agencies that join The Mission are selected for their long-term ability to help their clients succeed. The team has a personal stake in the continued success of the group in the future.

Key Directors:

The Right Hon Francis Maude MP - chairman

A leading figure in the UK business and political scene who has previously served as chairman of Incepta Group.

Martin Banbury - deputy chairman

Founder of the mission and previously founder/chairman of Communicator, a sales promotion and direct marketing agency. Prior to that, Banbury worked on the client side of the industry at Procter and Gamble and Britvic.

Iain Ferguson - chief executive officer

Formerly executive vice president at Havas, one of the world’s largest advertising and communications groups. Ferguson has extensive agency and client management experience worldwide.

Tim Alderson - chief financial officer

Previously CFO of the highly successful FTSE quoted marketing services group Creston PLC.

Brian Child - non-executive director

Formerly UK group chairman and CEO of McCann World Group UK, and former chairman of the Marketeer Association.

Jerram Shurville - group commercial director

Former CFO of Havas UK and also general manager of their specialist Communications Division.

2007 news

TheMission has added three companies to its portfolio this year. In March, the group made two significant acquisitions, completing deals to bring Bastin Day Westley (BDW), a specialist property and real estate marketing agency, and IT specialist agency April-Six into theMission portfolio. However, the most significant deal was for Story – the Edinburgh and Leeds-based agency.


Big Communications

April Six


Bray Leino

Fuse Digital



TheMission is based where their clients are - like them they aim to benefit from lower establishment costs. They attract top-flight people who seek an exciting work environment enhanced by improved quality of life. And they invest in technology and in improving their already strong environmental credentials to help them work sustainably, efficiently and effectively.

Results International’s prediction

The Mission is focused primarily on agencies which are based outside the M25. The recent acquisition of Story a leading direct marketing agency, based in Edinburgh, has taken it operations north of the border. However, the company still does not have a presence in Manchester, the No2 city in the UK, so it can reasonably be expected that this will represent a priority for it.

2. Cello Group

AIM listed market research and consulting group, incorporated, and based mainly in the UK. Combining the latest techniques in market research, data and added-value thinking, Cello brings together experience, knowledge and qualified management to deliver the very best in client marketing solutions. We operate globally for a wide range of blue chip clients in most major sectors and we offer an innovative and effective service to rival any of our global competitors.

Cello is founded on three platforms of best-in-class specialist marketing services companies, each sharing the following characteristics:

ï Potential to become leaders in their area of client service

ï Blue-chip client relationships with a record of client loyalty

ï Experienced, high quality management teams

ï Tight quality control and profitability

Cello’s mission is to help the management teams of these three platform businesses achieve their growth ambitions, both organically and via acquisition, in order to deliver the very best in client solutions and professional fulfillment

Key Directors:

Kevin Steeds – executive chairman

One of the founding partners and shareholders of the Citigate Group in 1988, Steeds was also instrumental in the agency’s reversal into the Incepta Group. In 1999, he relinquished his group finance director role to take on the responsible for the group’s UK public relations, design, and branding and research divisions. From 2002 to 2004, he was non-executive chairman of Media Square plc, helping the group increase its market capitalisation from £2m to £25m. He stepped down from Media Square in June 2004 to concentrate on his Cello role.

Mark Scott – chief executive

From 1994 to 1998, Scott was a senior executive at WPP Group plc, latterly being appointed operations director for the group - with responsibility for the group’s European and Asian acquisition programme. Since then, he’s been executive vice president of Lighthouse Global Network LLC - where he helped acquire and consolidate more than 15 marketing services companies – and senior executive of private equity film, Lake Capital Management. In addition to his Cello role, Scott is a director of Ashridge Strategic Management Centre.

Mark Bentley - finance director

Bentley joined Cello as finance director and company secretary in 2005 after spending much of his career to date with the Incepta Group. He joined Citigate Dewe Rogerson in 2000 as financial controller and spend the following five years in various financial positions. From February 2001 he was appointed as finance director of Citigate, but later added chief operating officer of the company to his responsibilities. From June 2002 he also became finance director of the Citigate SMARTS regional network of offices.

2007 news

It’s been a busy year for Cello so far. In March, it extended its healthcare marketing credentials with the acquisition of The MSI Consultancy Limited (MSI) - a leading healthcare marketing consultancy. It followed that up by adding to its research offering with an investment in online researcher nQual and the acquisition of mruk (Market Research International) in June. In July, Cello secured a controlling share in Hill Murray Group, the holding company for financial services specialist marketing agency cchm:ping, with options to acquire the balance of the shares. The latest deal, which was completed in September, resulted in Cello acquiring the 100 per cent share capital of Magnetic Advertising, a specialist direct marketing support business.


Research and Consulting:

Insight Research Group

Leapfrog Research and Planning

The Value Engineers

RS Consulting Group


SMT Consulting

Digital People

The MSI Consultancy

mruk research

Response Communications:

Target Direct Group

The Leith Agency






Magnetic Advertising

Results International’s prediction

Cello continues to be strict in its focus on research and consultancy companies as shown by the spate of recent acquisition including mruk research for £1.5million and MSI for £5.7million. The MSI acquisition represents a significant boost to Cello\'s healthcare operations where its Insight Research Group has a presence. Despite having acquired most of its businesses outside London it is not focused on regional acquisitions as such.

3. Hasgrove

Hasgrove is the parent company of a number of communication brands in the United Kingdom and Europe. It offers clients consultancy and implementation across a range of disciplines from brand design to creative advertising; public relations to European public affairs; from on-line marketing to new media development and even, TV and broadband as well as corporate video production. Hasgrove operates through 3 well-established independent brands and their related companies: Interel based in Brussels, Paris, Prague and Antwerp offers expert corporate PR and PA advice and knowledge; The Chase is a design agency based in Manchester, London and Preston; while Connectpoint offers an integrated marketing and advertising mix from its Manchester city centre headquarters. Hasgrove believes in attracting ‘best of breed’ companies into the group and offers those companies the opportunity to benefit from the company’s management and financial ethos which includes a growth strategy based on brand development, careful expansion and investment in management and people.

Key Directors:

Rod Hyde – chief executive

Hyde has worked for major private and public sector organisations and founded his own innovative software company in the late 1980s, which went onto enjoy creative and financial success before he sold the business on in 2000. His career has spanned a number of industries and since 2000 and he has acted as an advisor and financial engineer to a number of UK based SMEs. He also worked closely and advised leading private equity companies.

Rob McLoughlin - deputy chairman

An award winning TV Presenter, producer and entrepreneur based in Manchester, McCloughlin is a former director of Granada Television and helped the company to become the largest commercial producer in Europe and a major part of ITV plc. Aside from his work in front of the camera, in 1998 he founded Precise Communications Group before merging it with Unique in 2001 after taking the business from zero to a turnover of more than £7million in 48 months. He has advised major organisations across Europe on ‘change management’; communications and political developments.

Jean-Léopold Schuybroek - chief executive officer

Schuybroek is the executive chairman and a co-founder of the Interel Group, one of Hasgrove’s 2006 acquisitions. He started his career as a special advisor to UNESCO in Trinidad and Tobago and went on to serve as the managing director in the South American, Caribbean and Pacific region of Teleprint International, a Swiss telecommunications and information company. He has also been president of ICCO, the international association of public relations consultancies, and is past president of BGPRA - the Belgian association of public relations consultancies. He is presently chairman of ICCO’s Membership and Governance committee and a member of ICCO’s executive committee. In May 2005, Schuybroek was elected president of Public Relations Organisation International, Inc. (PROI).

AgenciesAgencies2007 news

After acquiring Cabinet Stewart, a Brussels-based EU public affairs business in February, speculation has continued to mount over Hasgrove’s next UK acquisition. The speculation came to an end last month when it was confirmed that the group had acquired Pavilion Communication Services and Odyssey Interactive. The deals come to a combined maximum consideration of £13.8million. Both based near Manchester, the two agencies has resulted in the group confirming its intentions to have a north west headquarters for its UK agencies.



The Chase



Odyssey Interactive


Hasgrove’s aim is to grow and develop key “best of breed” brands. With Connectpoint, The Chase and Interel we have three great companies with management that can demonstrate a deep understanding of the business and potential for growth. Within Hasgrove, we have wide ranging experience of building and developing companies. Our approach is to grow the core businesses and disciplines and where appropriate we encourage the combination of these disciplines for the benefit of our clients. We will continue to add best of breed communication brands to the group. Our method is to identify strong brands and companies with a vision and a management that can carry the vision forward. Hasgrove supports, but does not impose, growth and change.

Results International’s prediction

Hasgrove is the parent company of a number of communication brands and has a presence in both the UK and Europe. The company\'s strategy remains somewhat unclear. However, the acquisition of Pavilion for £9.9million at the end of September suggests that the company may intend to become more digitally focused.

4. The Direct Marketing Group (TDMG)

The Direct Marketing Group is a collection of four very talented, award winning advertising and direct marketing agencies and three direct marketing support companies, with locations around the UK and London.

They are more than simply a network of companies under one umbrella - this is not new. What is new is that all Direct Marketing Group companies are committed to excellence in DM and achieving outstanding results, which means more success for their clients and increased profitability for the group. The group now employs over 300 staff and has a turnover of £50 million.

Key Directors:

David Jones - chairman

The ex-chairman of Next, Jones is also the former deputy chairman of supermarket group Morrisons. Despite two successful spells with those retailers, it’s now Littlewoods Shop Direct Group where he operates as chairman.

Martin smith - chief executive

Smith is the founder of The Direct Marketing Group and previously group managing director of Millennium Marketing and Communications Group. Prior to that he was group marketing director of Saga.

Kevin Lavery - agency group managing Director

Previously executive creative director of Millennium Marketing and Communications Group, Lavery is an advertising and direct marketing specialist with over 30 years experience having started his career with O&M in the early 70s.

2007 news

In June, JDA and Whitewater were acquired by TDMG and joined 50-plus specialists Millennium and charity marketing agency DMS in the group’s portfolio.




Push Button




Coltec Parker

Results International’s prediction

TDMG is a collection of four advertising and direct marketing companies. The recent acquisitions of JDA and Whitewater, may take some time to digest and this new group\'s strategy is yet to be fully articulated. An AIM flotation may also be occupying their minds.

5. Digital Marketing Group

Digital Marketing Group plc aims to provide its clients with a range of digital direct marketing services, coupled with database marketing skills. By doing this, Digital Marketing Group plc believes it can offer clients the ability to coordinate their “online” and “offline” direct marketing strategy and the skills necessary to input, collect, analyse and apply customer data in order to generate more effective digital direct marketing, higher brand-consumer loyalty and improved profitability.

Digital Marketing Group plc operates in both the “online” marketing and “offline” direct marketing sectors. The particular business focus of Digital Marketing Group plc will be the integration of “online” and “offline” direct marketing, which the Digital Marketing Group plc Board calls digital direct marketing.

Key Directors:

Stephen Davidson - chairman

Davidson is the current chairman of SPG Media plc and Enteraction TV Ltd, as well as a non-executive director of Inmarsat plc, Betex Group plc and EBT Mobile China plc. He has spent his career in a various investment banking roles - most recently at WestLB Panmure, where he was global head of media and telecoms for investment banking, before becoming vice chairman of investment banking. From 1993 to 1998, Davidson was also finance director and then CEO of Telewest Communications plc. In addition, he was chairman of the Cable Communications Association from 1996 to 1998.

Ben Langdon - chief executive

As the former chairman of Euro RSCG UK, it’s been Langdon’s reputation that’s helped establish the Digital Marketing Group’s profile since its inception in 2006. From 1996 to 2003, he worked at McCann Erickson where he was promoted from chief executive of the London business to UK group chairman. In 2000 he was promoted to European regional director of Universal McCann - the media planning and buying business - and then in late 2001, at the age of 38, he became regional director for McCann Erickson WorldGroup, Europe, Middle East and Africa (‘‘EMEA’’).

Sarah Guest - finance director

Guest is a qualified Chartered Accountant, whose previous roles include the UK financial controller position at George Wimpey plc and European director of accounting and control and UK financial controller for Clear Channel Entertainment.

Gary Stevens - executive director

Stevens has worked in direct marketing for over 16 years, having started his career at London-based Teledata. In 1991 he left Teledata and co-founded HSM and manages the Inbox Digital division with the group. A member of the Direct Marketing Association, Stevens remains CEO at HSM.

2007 news

This year, Digital Marketing Group has added to its agency portfolio with significant acquisitions. In January, the group sealed a deal to buy the 100 per cent share capital of Cheeze and Alphanumeric Group (trading as Jaywing) for a total consideration of £24million. In July, the AIM listed organisation acquired the entire share capital of Graphico New Media and Hyperlaunch. The firm paid a maximum consideration of £8.6million for Graphico and £3.5million for Hyperlaunch.




Inbox Digital

Dig For Fire




Noize (online PR)


Digital Marketing Group development strategy consists of two key elements: ‘Buy and build’ - through the acquisition of a number of businesses with complementary skills in digital direct marketing - and ‘organic growth’, driven by the inherent growth within the acquired businesses and the application of a group business development programme.

Results International’s prediction

Ben Langdon pursues a strong acquisition-led strategy which has been prolific in less than a year since the company was launched and has enabled the group to build up a considerable presence in the digital space. It may be time to digest the acquisitions it has already made and take some time out to prove its business model.

Cello Group Digital Marketing Marketing

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