Once arguably the UK's most celebrated and high-profile digital agency, Dare slowly faded from the limelight as a result of a series of possibly ill-considered corporate realignments. It remains a significant force, but now it works mostly behind the scenes on digital consultancy and IT engineering rather than marketing-based projects. Founded in 2000 by former BBH executive Mark Collier, Dare enjoyed a spectacular few years of success, eventually earning the accolade from Campaign in 2009 of Digital Agency of the Decade. (Such accolades always seem to tempt a reversal of fortune). By then, Dare had been acquired by Canadian marketing group Cossette, who merged it in 2010 with another 2000s star, traditional London creative agency MCBD. That combination, under the Dare name, never gelled and led to a series of account losses and executive departures. Meanwhile Cossette's parent Vision7 encouraged Dare's expansion into North America, only then to sell all its US and Canadian operations to the Chinese group BlueFocus. Dare and Vision7's other international operations were cut loose. Dare was eventually acquired by digital consultancy Oliver Group, which subsequently rebranded as Inside Ideas Group. Dare is now the main "design engineering" unit within that group, working alongside Oliver - which now mostly focuses on helping partner clients set up their own inhouse agencies - and a few other specialised marketing units. Dare's turnover for the year to June 2017 was £10m. Inside Ideas reported turnover for the 18 months to Dec 2017 of £155m. Oliver owner Simon Martin is CEO of Inside Ideas Group; Michael Olaye is CEO of Dare. Subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
Capsule checked 17th October 2018
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Account assignments & selected contact information
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Historical profile information for Dare
Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Daily Update 10th Jan 2019: Brandtech consultancy You & Mr Jones, led by the former Havas Creative CEO David Jones, has acquired majority control of Inside Ideas Group and its various subsidiary agencies including Dare and Oliver. No price was disclosed. "When we launched in 2015," said Jones, "we set out to disrupt marketing using technology and to create a brand-new model for clients. Simon Martin is a brilliant talent and with Oliver he's created an equally disruptive model that's delivering brilliant creativity in-house and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for global brands. Plugging Oliver’s in-house model - and its sophisticated content creation and management technology platform - into our You & Mr Jones tech ecosystem is a very powerful combination. Together, we can create enterprise-level marketing solutions at an unprecedented scale and transform profoundly how a brand does its marketing."
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Oct 2015: London agency Dare, orphaned by the acquisition of Cossette and related Vision7 agencies in North America by BlueFocus, has finally found a buyer. It was acquired for an undisclosed sum by Oliver Group, the privately owned digital marketing agency led by Simon Martin. Dare will retain separate branding, working alongside Oliver from the latter's offices in the City. The deal does not include Dare's other UK siblings, direct marketer Elvis or branding agency Identica.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd July 2015: Canadian group Vision 7, now owned by BlueFocus, completed the renaming of the two digital shops which have been operating under the Dare name. The Toronto office became Camp Jefferson a few months ago; Dare Vancouver now becomes Camp Pacific. The UK agency Dare is now entirely separate, still owned for now by private equity firm Mill Road, along with what were previously Vision 7's international operations.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Dec 2014: Chinese marketing group BlueFocus was confirmed as the successful bidder for Vision7 North America, the parent entity for Canada's top Francophone agency Cossette, also a major force in English-speaking advertising, and the local offices of Citizen Relations and digital agency Dare. That business was put up for sale earlier this year by private equity owner Mill Road Capital. The price tag was quoted at $210m. BlueFocus will control an 85% stake in the business, with the remaining 15% shared between senior management. The Chinese group also vowed to support the continuing expansion of Cossette into the US and the growth of its Citzen PR operations there. The deal is the biggest step yet by BlueFocus into Western markets. The sale doesn't include the European operations of Vision7, including Dare UK, Elvis and Identica. These will continue to operate independently.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th May 2014: Ads Of The Week "Violence Is Violence". Dare London's new PSA for domestic violence charity ManKind will make men and women alike question their own assumptions about what constitutes spousal abuse, focusing on a largely ignored aspect of a worryingly common problem. The difference between the public's reactions to the two different scenarios is really quite startling. Very clever, very effective, and a strong return to form for Dare's London office.
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