The Leith Agency is arguably the last of Scotland's major homegrown advertising agencies. Though it also operates an office in London, it is best-known as a champion of Scottish brands, not least soft drink Irn-Bru, for whom it has produced a succession of often very cheeky campaigns over the years. It was founded in the Leith district of Edinburgh in 1984 by John Denholm, previously a senior executive at Saatchi & Saatchi's local satellite Halls advertising. Over the next few years Leith and rival Edinburgh agency Faulds, also established in 1984, gradually divided Scotland's leading advertising accounts between them. Leith became known for edgier or more controversial executions, and even opened its own London office in 2000. More conservative Faulds struggled to keep up and closed its doors in 2003 following over-expansion. Leith on the other hand continued to prosper, and was acquired in 2004 by newly formed marketing services umbrella Cello Group. However, as Cello has slowly but steadily consolidated its focus on healthcare marketing, Leith has become increasingly isolated as the group's main consumer advertising business. In 2020, Leith absorbed sister digital agency Signal, but the business is becoming further sidelined by Cello's repositioning as Cello Health Group. Richard Marsham is CEO of Leith, and also a director of Cello Group. Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated billings of £15m for 2019.
Capsule checked 6th July 2020
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Adbrands Social Media 3rd Dec 2018: The animated film of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman has been a perennial Christmas TV treat here in the UK for more than three decades. Scotland's own soft drink Irn-Bru first co-opted it for a humorous parody in 2006. Now they're back again. The new film from long-time agency Leith is a direct sequel, following on exactly where its predecessor ended: our young hero's Irn-Bru has been nicked by the Snowman; now he wants it back. Stylistically, the film is once again spot-on, replicating the original film's swirling pastel animation, and accompanying choral song perfectly: "You greedy Snowman thief, I'm coming after you..."
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