The Middle Years of a Digital Marketing Agency

As we approach our 15th Birthday on May the 24th we continue with our story of the ups and downs that we have had over the years.

After our successful campaign for the release of The Fast and the Furious and buoyed by the success of the movie and our tiny contribution towards it we started working more closely with Universal Pictures working on other iconic titles such as Jurassic Park and American Pie.

One day we were introduced to two lovely hardworking girls who were managing the international marketing for a company called DreamWorks, they liked our work and wanted to know if we were interested in working with them on a kid’s movie about a big green Ogre. Of course we were and before you knew it we were deeply engrossed in Shrek.

Ladbrokes was another client we added early on and it was extremely interesting working on such a different client but still needing to carry across the user engagement aspects that we do with movies to our creative for the gaming industry.

Our growth from here to 2008 was a slow but steady organic expansion, we had nailed digital marketing though it was and still is constantly changing but we hadn’t mastered new business. As our clients changed jobs they would often bring us with them introducing us to new companies, brands and products.

From our first three clients Universal, DreamWorks and Ladbrokes we started working with Mansion.com, Poker Stars, InterCasino and William Hill. Then it was Readers Digest, Harper Collins and Hodder & Stoughton followed by Viacom, Nickelodeon, and Turner Broadcasting.

All of this growth came from our clients, the marketing managers and directors, the project managers and brand managers, the creatives and developers, the directors and CEO’s all people that we had worked with in the past and had liked us enough to bring us in and recommend us to their next company.

At this point I would like to digress slightly from our history to say that all of our clients who have been kind enough to take us with them have been brilliant (and those who have not been able to). We thoroughly enjoyed the projects we worked on and these are in a large part attributed to the management skills of our clients. They encouraged, cajoled, demanded, praised, cursed, swore, applauded, celebrated, flattered, left us alone, acclaimed and complimented us as needed to ensure that we delivered successful projects on time and on budget and these sort of management skills are appreciated and respected. Many of these good people have become friends over the years and for that we are grateful.

We outgrew our home/office and moved into 47 Farringdon Road where we expanded to 12 people, we met other agencies, had fun, learnt new things, created some amazing campaigns, helped brands grow and made friends.

Then we were offered the opportunity to build a massive Bingo site as part of a Joint Venture with another gaming company. It was a brilliant opportunity and the project would take a year to complete and we would then move onto creating other gaming software such as Slots and Scratch Cards. We were still landing new clients and things were looking good, we had grown to 22 people and we moved premises to a bigger office at 56/60 St John Street, still in Farringdon..

Then Disaster with a capital D, struck. We had completed the Bingo site and the gaming company wanted to end the Joint Venture. We found out later that they were clearing off loose ends as they were putting themselves up for sale with the Bingo site being their biggest asset.

We were stuck with lot of developers and no more gaming software to build, our cash flow plummeted supporting all the staff but we couldn’t just make them redundant, they were good friends. Eventually realising the situation many of them found other jobs and we just didn’t replace them, we wished them all well and I am sure all of them jumped a rung or three due to their experience with us.

Then the banking crisis of 2008 hit and this major recession had our clients stopping campaigns half built, pulling projects, cancelling pitches and slashing budgets. It was really tough and we dropped from 22 down to 12 people in a big spacious office.

As things were looking their bleakest, with no projects coming in we were recommended to Eidos the console games developer/publisher and started working on Batman Arkham Asylum followed by Just Cause 2 and Pony Friends 2.

Things were tough and a lot of competitor agencies disappeared over that period, many of whom were good friends but we made it, we scraped through by the skin of our teeth and slowly started to find more clients but this time not only focusing on entertainment, we wanted more solid and “serious” businesses and started to slowly change our focus and decide to get a bit more serious ourselves.

We matured, slowly but surely.