Yesterday we listed our top PR agencies of the year, and today we look at 2013's unsung heroes.
It produces some of the most consistently successful supermarket advertising in the UK and regularly outperforms its peers in blind product surveys – so perhaps it’s time we give Aldi the credit it deserves. Propelled by its down-to-earth and uniquely British ‘Like Brands’ ad campaign from McCann Manchester, this German brand has risen to become the fastest-growing supermarket chain in Britain. Once the butt of jokes for its pile em’ high sell em’ cheap philosophy, it is now troubling the nation’s established supermarket chains by tempting their middle-class shoppers with product quality to match its wallet-friendly prices.
It’s rare that a police force is looked upon as doing anything particularly forward thinking and innovative, but the social media guys have been working wonders on Twitter and communicating with their region. So much so that The Drum understands that when it comes to a missing person’s inquiry, they even contact all who may have retweeted information once the person is found, to delete their messages in order to protect the person in question’s future online presence. Fantastic work.
Framestore received acclaim in 2013 for its work on the sci-fi/thriller film Gravity, as well as for its native advertising work for McLaren. VFX Framestore created a computer-animated series called Tooned, featuring the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 racing team, which ran on Sky and sold 20,000 DVD box sets, as well as growing a social fan base of over one million people. The company also worked on the Doctor Who 50th anniversary trailer. Framestore also looks to help students and those interested in jobs in the visual effect arena by hosting Twitter Q&As.
Rockabox, a leader in video engagement technology, has completed a £3m Series A funding round in 2013, as well as making a series of appointments in H2, including a CEO for Europe tech and distribution and a chief creative officer. The company, which turned five in 2013, has helped unveil campaigns for Tom Hanks film Captain Phillips, Honda, Diesel, Unilever, Estée Lauder, Hackett and House of Fraser, as well as for Fifa 14 using its Shutters platform. Rockabox currently has bases in London and Barcelona, and is planning to expand in 2014.
Former group head of e-commerce at Arcadia – who left the retail group last year and was on gardening leave until the end of 2013 – Tait has long demonstrated his tireless commitment to the industry by using his spare time to share his expertise with start-ups, acting as an advisor and mentor to those looking for hot tips on getting off the ground. He is a trustee at Cockpit Arts, an award-winning social enterprise and the UK's only creative business incubator for designer-maker businesses. Added to that, he will always try and make time for a beer despite his crazy diary, which immediately makes him a Drum favourite.
Andy Mihalop, MediaCom
Who couldn’t love a man who parachuted into his own wedding on a beach in New Zealand? To those who know him MediaCom’s head of biddable media and performance Andy Mihalop is undoubtedly an industry treasure. His career has seen him in director roles at Doubleclick, i-level, and Aegis before going client side and becoming head of digital for Moneysupermarket, where he spearheaded one of the smartest data-driven strategies in the market, leading to the creation of one of the first private brand trading desks.
Jane Austin, Persuasion Communications
Austin is a real legend within the advertising circuit, known and loved by many, but also a true PR professional – heavily invested in the best interests of her clients, but never while rubbing a journalist up the wrong way, unless utterly necessary. Every year she sets up camp in the Carlton Terrace for the whole week at Cannes arranging meetings and proving to be a very useful constant for the week for anyone looking to meet someone of interest or hear what is happening.
Ellie Edwards-Scott, Quisma
Ellie Edwards-Scott deserves a mention in the unsung heroes category for her tireless work growing Quisma’s cross-channel approach and publishing some very insightful tablet research this year. Edwards-Scott is also instrumental in SWAT (Senior Women in Ad Tech) and is passionate about championing women in the space.
Stephen Jenkins, Millennial Media
Jenkins is tireless when it comes to the promotion of Millennial Media and is a proper agency marketer, usually enthusiastic, cheerful and full of ideas. Apparently he plans to live a quieter lifestyle while attending future events – but The Drum doesn’t believe it for a second, although we do wish him luck in trying.
Chris Hassell, Ralph
There are so many unsung heroes out there that it’s simply impossible to name them all. Which is why Chris Hassell, a founder of Ralph, is an excellent choice. He personifies the vibrancy of the independent scene. In fairness, the agency is not completely unsung – being recognised at BAFTA and the Emmys. However, with campaigns for Dexter, Breaking Bad and more recently the new Mandela film under its belt, we believe Chris and his team do not get the recognition they deserve.
Ric Evans, SapientNitro
Ric Evans saved our lives. A concept such as producing a magazine live in front of a live audience was always going to be risky. But that is exactly what we attempted with The Drum Live. Frankly it would never have worked without the professionalism of Evans and his team at SapientNitro, where the event was held. If that was not enough he then delivered again when we held our 4 Minute Warning conference there. Absolute star.
Mo Lishomwa, Adobe
To all who know her Mo Lishomwa is a bit of a legend, but unlike those in the industry who feel comfortable courting the press, she tends to keep a fairly low profile. Yet she is one of the most proactive, innovative and creative thinkers in the business. She manages to balance a hectic life at the forefront of digital creativity, by combining the magic combination of painting and yoga.
Ginni Arnold, Weve
Launching Weve, the joint mobile marketing and wallet initiative between EE, O2, and Vodafone, into the cynical UK press arena is no mean feat, which is why The Drum is giving special kudos to its head of communications – a job she seems to have tackles virtually single-handed from a communications perspective. She has a refreshingly open manner when it comes to working with journalists and as such is a genuine pleasure to work with.
Jeremy Green, Creative Circle
Jeremy Green had the thankless task of taking on the Creative Circle in midst of a recession. But over the last year or so he has reinvigorated the organisation. The creative community has a voice again, thanks to his ambitious relaunch of the Circle magazine. And the Creative Circle Awards are going from strength to strength, which is why we believe he deserves a little recognition himself. The Drum will be publishing extracts from Circle magazine next year.
Erich Wasserman, MediaMath
If anyone can make the world of programmatic trading and real-time bidding sound interesting it’s MediaMath’s Erich Wasserman. An absolute dynamo of a person Erich’s passion and enthusiasm for how the digital ecosystem is evolving, even to the most sceptical of journalists, is both infectious and exhilarating. He can turn any dry-seeming subject into the most fascinating of topics in mere seconds, which has been a much welcomed surprise by all who have encountered him at The Drum.
Andrew Boulton, Together Agency
Andrew Boulton’s Writer, Reader, Rascal blog is a treasure chest of copywriting advice delivered with charm, humour and no shortage of colourful metaphors (sample post: Writing bland copy is like punching a duckling). Admired by his peers in the copywriting profession, Boulton was also shortlisted for columnist of the year at the PPA Awards.