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Manchester agency Love hires Sky senior creative for imminent London office opening

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By Cameron Clarke | Editor

February 27, 2013 | 3 min read

Manchester-based Love is to open its first London office next week with former Sky senior creative Jim Chambers as its design director.

Chambers will head up the new office alongside the agency’s current head of art, Mike Hughes, who is relocating to the capital after four years with Love in Manchester.

Love London will initially be based in King’s Cross and will be staffed by ‘five or six’ creatives, its directors say. They are now recruiting for ‘middleweight’ talent to join Chambers and Hughes.

For more than a decade, Love has been one of the best-known names in design and advertising outside London, having produced acclaimed work for the likes of Umbro, Sony and Dr. Martens from its Northern Quarter headquarters.

In March last year Love opened an office in Shanghai, where it has developed a fruitful relationship with drinks giant Diageo and in particular its Johnnie Walker brand.

It is understood that persuasion from Diageo was among the factors that convinced Love’s bosses the time was right to open in London.

Dave Palmer, one of Love’s founders, said the opening was about having the “scale to take advantage of new opportunities” but insisted the agency has no plans to stray from its Manchester roots.

He told The Drum: “In the beginning, we want the London office to feel almost like a ‘pop-up’ shop, and the office will be staffed entirely by creatives – there’ll be no account managers. We’ve always felt like a bit of an underdog being outside London and now we feel like that underdog mentality will serve us well.

“We have ambition to grow but our centre of gravity is not moving to London. Love has always been very Mancunian; there’s always been a contrariness to what we do and we won’t lose sight of that. That wouldn’t be fair to the people here whose hard work over the last few years has put us into this position.”

Love has been the subject of much takeover talk over the years as its reputation has grown in Manchester, but Palmer said there was never any question of the agency selling out or becoming an extension of a network.

“We wanted to do this independently,” he said. “That independence is core to what we’re all about.

“There have been many more rumours than actual phone calls down the years. The one serious approach we had was from Hasgrove but we didn’t see how we’d fit into their business or what we’d gain from that.”

Palmer and his fellow directors are now putting the finishing touches to the London plans and will spend the next few weeks interviewing candidates for the remaining vacant positions.

The newly appointed Chambers linked up with Love’s team for the first time this week having left his post at BSkyB, where he was most recently responsible for its Christmas ‘Talent’ campaign.

A founding member of 4Creative, Chambers has also held art director roles at Antidote and The Guardian’s in-house creative agency, and has worked with clients such as Shell, Virgin Atlantic and Glastonbury Festival.

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