Cello boss: Losing Farm will have "zero impact" on us


By Cameron Clarke | Editor

March 16, 2012 | 3 min read

The loss of London advertising agency Farm will have “zero impact” upon its parent group Cello, the group's chief executive Mark Scott has said.

Last month it was announced that Farm’s founders, Gary Robinson and Owen Lee, along with 14 other members of staff, would be disassociating themselves from Cello in order to merge with Inferno on 1 March.

But Scott told The Drum that their departure would only serve to “free up space and investment” for other agencies within The Cello Group, such as its advertising shop The Leith Agency.

He said: “Every business comes to a stage where it needs investment to grow and we didn’t want to invest in [Farm]. That’s the bottom line.

“We want to invest in the digital extension of the core business. It was a very thought through decision.”

Scott went on to give the biggest indication yet that The Leith Agency, which is based in Edinburgh but has had a London office in the past, would return to the capital to occupy the space vacated by Farm.

“The Leith is a great business now,” he said. “In Scotland it is the player. Now it is extending its ambition as a brand and its activity further afield.

“Within it, the digital capability - it’s got a sub-brand called Blonde - is doing very well indeed. The first thing we’re doing is extending that digital capability into London. We’ve got an office on Tottenham Court Road which houses about 65 people. That space has been freed up because Farm has gone, and we’re filling that with digital capability.

“The exact branding of it is up to John [Rowley, the Edinburgh-based managing director of Cello]."

Asked if it would just be the digital side extending into London, or the Leith's advertising business as well, Scott said: “It’s John’s call, it’s a fluid situation because it’s all only happened in the last few weeks.

“The Leith brand is great. It’s got longevity and credibility on its side. It will extend itself inevitably.”

Scott was speaking to The Drum after Cello this week revealed its “as expected” financial results for 2011, reporting a headline profit of £7.1m.

“We had a pretty good run towards the end of last year which really is a 2012 benefit. New business and new activity picked up again, the main thing for us being pharmaceuticals.

“We entered 2012 feeling reasonably optimistic and buoyant and with a clean balance sheet.”

Scott said the group’s ambition for 2012 is to extend its international presence. It has offices in New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco and last year opened in Singapore.

“The main push for Cello really is getting more overseas, including our Scottish compatriots who are getting more international in their activity focus.

“We are hopefully going to open a second office in Asia, we’re looking at Latin America this year, we’re expanding the States to support that proposition.

“South America is a good opportunity as well for pharmaceuticals. We are hopefully going to start something in Brazil before too long.”


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