The & Partnership - previously CHI & Partners - has been one of the most consistently successful independent agencies launched in the UK since the early 2000s, earning the admiration of clients and other agencies for effective creative work and an enviable new business record. Significantly, it bypassed the cult status that traditionally nurtures start-up agencies (for example, St Luke's, Mother, Naked and others), but set itself up from day one as one of the big boys. Its key strength has been a fearless support of "big ideas", an approach usually considered over-ambitious for a small independent agency. Unlike some other powerhouse start-ups (such as Adam&Eve for example), CHI & Partners remains notionally independent, although WPP acquired just under 50% of the company in Spring 2007, leading to the launch of a New York office. Five years later CHI established an extensive presence across Asia as well by joining forces with WPP's Bates Asia micro-network to form Bates CHI & Partners. In 2013, umbrella company The & Partnership was created to consolidate all CHI's various affiliated units, and the London agency adopted that umbrella name at the beginning of 2018. It has risen steadily up the local rankings since launch. Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated UK billings of £104m for 2018, but the agency also handles some clients - notably Toyota and Lexus - across multiple countries which makes the actual sum much higher. The agency's main corporate entity is The & Partners Group Ltd. It recorded revenue - billings - of £557.5m in 2018, with gross profit of £85.1m and net profit of £9.3m. The main agency has operations in 11 countries; not just the UK and US but also Canada and eight European markets. There are also several satellites. M/Six is a media investment joint venture with WPP. Others include CRM specialist Rapier, PR agency Halpern and content creator ATN (previously AllTogetherNow). The original founding directors retained 50.1% of the business following the deal with WPP, which acquired the balance of shares. Co-founders Simon Clemmow and Charles Inge - the C and I of CHI - resigned in 2018. Johnny Hornby - the H - remains group chairman & CEO as well as the largest shareholder after WPP with between 25% and 50% of equity. Sarah Golding is CEO of the UK business.
Capsule checked 15th January 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 12th Apr 2021: "Light Up Your World". Advertising TVs is always tricky. How much can you really say about a box that just sits in the corner or on the wall? The usual approach is to depict punters "lost" in a world of themed entertainment - gladiators, police thrillers, dinosaurs and so on. To their credit, The & Partnership are trying something slightly different in their first global campaign for LG Electronics' TVs. This punter ends up lost in a slightly more abstract - and rather beautiful - alternate reality of different light shows. Plenty of cash has been thrown at the production design for these lighting installations. TVs are, after all, now LG Electronics bread and butter following the exit from mobile phones. Also much more fun to advertise than kitchen appliances...
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Nov 2020: "AbraCaDaisy & The Incredible Lucy". Catalogue retailer Argos opens the UK's Christmas advertising floodgates with The & Partnership's sequel of sorts to last year's original 'Book of Dreams' campaign. It's a very likeable campaign but, in our eyes, doesn't equal the spectacle of its predecessor. Is it perhaps a bit too cluttered and dimly lit? And Gary Barlow's cheesy 'Incredible' doesn't get those feet tapping (or air drummers drumming) like retro classic 'Don't You Forget About Me'. Nevertheless, it summons a welcome smile to the faces of Britons who are now staring down the barrel of the new national lockdown. Even with those separate theatre boxes, this looks like the sort of family Christmas we might be denied under new "Tier 4" restrictions...
Adbrands Daily Update 16th Mar 2020: "So Stylish Suki Can Wear It". In these troubling times, we need something to keep a smile on our lips beneath the facemasks. (And, also, let's make the most of any new ads that come along, since the flow is likely to start drying up within a week or two as the industry goes into shutdown). The & Partnership doubles down on their already hilarious furniture-as-fashion concept for general retailer Argos, recruiting supermodel Suki Waterhouse to poke a little fun at herself. The results are absolutely brilliant and Suki's poker-faced performance is a delight. "I'm holding a duck" could easily become 2020's answer to Old Spice's classic "I'm on a horse".
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Feb 2020: "Here To Solve". Leading UK utilities supplier British Gas has for years tended to plump for cutesy animations featuring a cartoon penguin to promote its range of services. All very nice, but seemingly targeted more at children (or childish adults) than real homeowners. There's a complete change from new agency Nucleus, the dedicated unit in which incumbent agency The & Partnership will work alongside Wunderman Thompson, Mediacom and PR giant BCW. That evolution has prompted a big improvement in T&P's creative approach. These two spots are a splendid mix of true-to-life household situations, brilliantly observed and giving every appearance of being entirely spontaneous, despite the fact that they have clearly been designed to cover all social bases. Same-sex marriages, mixed race families, disabilities and even female plumbers are all given a gentle nod, but to be honest, with the ads' infectious energy and warmth, you'd hardly notice. An excellent result. So long Wilbur the annoying penguin. You won't be missed.
Adbrands Daily Update 6th Nov 2019: "Read Yourself Better". Social media gets another kicking this week in a fine new film from The & Partnership for the Wall Street Journal. We're devotees of the WSJ's business and general news coverage ourselves, even if we do have reservations about several of the paper's opinion columnists, who tend to be ultra-conservative apologists for the current resident of the White House. Still, the overall argument is a compelling one, and it's always fun to see social media get a punch in the eye.
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