Rapier is a UK-based direct & digital agency, for several years a unit of The & Partnership, previously CHI & Partners. Originally regarded as primarily a direct marketer, it broadened its range from 2006 onwards into traditional creative advertising. It was the UK's fastest-growing agency in 2009, breaking into the ranking of the top 30 agencies for the first time as a result of work for Virgin Media and Lloyds TSB. Nielsen estimated billings of £65m that year, up 150% on the year before, and Campaign named Rapier Direct Agency of the Decade. Such accolades always seem to precipitate a crisis. Following the sudden departure in 2010 of creative partner John Townshend after 16 years at the agency, Rapier lost both its biggest accounts, causing billings to plunge by more than 75%. The original agency filed for administration in 2012, but was rescued by CHI & Partners, which acquired its assets and goodwill. The business relaunched as a 50/50 joint venture with chief executive Jonathan Stead, who had originally founded the agency in the late 1980s as Rapier Stead & Bowden. The new Rapier has maintained a low profile since its relaunch, but business appears to have rebounded, with turnover reaching £9m in 2016. Stead bought back The & Partnership's shares at the end of 2017 to take full control of the business. 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 26th September 2018
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