Lucky Generals (UK)

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Lucky Generals is the London-based creative agency founded in 2013 by three former directors of MCBD following its ill-fated absorption into digital shop Dare. It has been something of a critical darling in industry circles ever since its launch - CEO Helen Calcraft is one of London's best known and most widely liked ad executives - yet Lucky Generals' performance has in reality only recently begun to live up to expectations, with a number of small but significant new business wins during 2016, accompanied by generally solid creative output. Revenues for 2016 were around £4m. Calcraft is supported by fellow MCBD-ers Andy Nairn (planning partner) and Danny Brooke-Taylor (creative partner). The agency's name comes from a saying attributed to the Emperor Napoleon, who wanted not brilliant generals for his army but lucky ones. The trio jointly owned the business until early 2017, when Omnicom acquired it for a lavish payment of £15m upfront plus an undisclosed future earnout. The partners declined Omnicom's suggestion of a full merger with TBWA London, so for now Lucky Generals operates as a standalone unit within the TBWA UK Group. However Helen Calcraft was appointed as chief executive over the enlarged group. Adbrands does not currently offer a business profile for this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.

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Capsule checked 27th September 2017

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Apr 2018: Ads of the Week: "Mariah Carey". The whole world knows about Mariah Carey's reputation for being difficult. Even Mariah Carey knows about Mariah Carey's reputation for being difficult. But the hardest of hearts would have to forgive any diva-esque outbursts after this sublime film from TBWA's Lucky Generals agency for Hostelworld. The setup, needless to say, is that Carey's new rookie assistant has accidentally booked her into a hostel - not a hotel - in Barcelona. It's a lovely little film, in which Carey plays up to her acknowledged faults with considerable charm. The Generals have done something similar before for Hostelworld, with such faded luminaries as Charlie Sheen, 50 Cent and Chris Eubank. But MC is their biggest star to-date, and this, in its own modest way, is their finest achievement. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Feb 2018: Ads of the Week "Alexa Has Lost Her Voice". Here's the full Amazon Alexa ad from Lucky Generals, and it's just as good as the teaser spot had indicated. When Alexa loses her voice, the only solution - given that this is a Super Bowl ad after all - is to rope in a few celebrities to help out. Needless to say, they don't do quite as good a job as hoped... Unlike British agency Lucky Generals, who bring, we'd argue, a higher level of wit and imagination than was apparent in Alexa's previous Super Bowl spots with Alec Baldwin. It may prove to be a bit too clever for a Big Game audience (given the average quality of a few of the other ads scheduled to run), but we love it. And how great is it that a plucky little UK agency gets to do one of the Super Bowl's biggest ads?

Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Nov 2017: Ads of the Week "Give A Little Bit". It's been a disappointing season so far for Christmas ads, but we're rather keen on Lucky Generals' seasonal spot for Amazon. It's not really a Christmas ad - no glitter on offer (thankfully) - but it's clearly designed for the holiday shopping rush. The key element, though, is that it's entirely upbeat and positive. No family arguments, no stress and worry, none of M&S's gift burglars (however well-meaning); just a song and a few smiles and the joy of receiving a present. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd Feb 2017: After several weeks of rumour and speculation, Omnicom's TBWA network confirmed the acquisition of London creative agency Lucky Generals. That agency will not be combined with the existing TBWA London unit, but will co-exist as a separate entity under its own brand and management team within the wider TBWA UK Group. Nor are Lucky Generals partners Helen Calcraft, Andy Nairn and Danny Brooke-Taylor expected at this point to take on any direct management responsibility for TBWA London, despite the simultaneous departure of its chief executive Richard Stainer and chief strategy officer Amelia Torode. According to Campaign, the Lucky Generals partners will assist TBWA worldwide CEO Troy Ruhanen in his search for a new leadership team.

Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Jan 2017: Omnicom was reported to be in talks to acquire a stake in highly regarded London independent Lucky Generals, initially with a view to boosting the profile of the under-performing local outpost of TBWA. Despite a succession of different managers, TBWA London has struggled for years to recapture the glory it enjoyed in the late 1990s and early 2000s under creative director Trevor Beattie and chief executive Andrew McGuinness. Omnicom is no doubt hoping to replicate the successful merger of DDB London and Adam & Eve. That trick has already worked in Germany where TBWA's local outpost was re-invigorated by the management team behind creative hotshop Heimat. Lucky Generals' three founders Danny Brooke-Taylor, Helen Calcraft and Andy Nairn might be able to work similar magic at TBWA London. However, a merger with TBWA was later ruled out on grounds that the Lucky Generals trio wanted to expand and develop their own brand. No deal has yet been finalised.

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