School Reports 2016: Creature London


Creature exploded out of its "start-up TV agency" box in 2015, producing an interactive theatre show with Les Enfants Terribles called Alice's Adventures Underground. The show was a critical and commercial success, taking in more than £1 million, and marks Creature as one of the few ad agencies sustainably branching out into other forms of creativity. There’s more on the way too: Creature is planning a music festival called Scarborough Fair for later this year.

To show that it’s not just tinkering in entertainment, Creature hired Shaun Savage as a cultural lead to manage the extracurricular projects and to bring a different kind of thinking to briefs.

After pulling out of the somewhat shambolic Budgens pitch and failing to land Waitrose, Creature will have been particularly pleased to win Dreams’ £20 million account in January 2016. A big retail brand lends a grown-up air to the young agency and the extra billings more than make up for the loss of the £15 million William Hill business, with which Creature parted after less than a year.

Creature introduced a CGI monster family to its new client Anchor, and the result was worlds away from CHI & Partners’ efforts for the brand. The first spot was a bit middling but the follow-up was charming and novel. Both were beautifully realised by the animators Kyra & Constantin.

Free from the shackles of its Seattle-based parent company (from which it separated in 2014), Creature is starting to come into its own and the partners look like they’re enjoying every minute of it to boot.

How the agency rates itself: 7

"Nine wins, more brilliant Creatures, £1 million taken for Alice, 1.2 million votes for the Green Party, Living Wage accreditation, launching Scarborough Fair, campaigning against placement poverty, 10 per cent bigger than we were, turning travel agent for Carling, becoming Uber’s first UK agency, Dan on the IPA Council, making Kara Tointon’s favourite Christmas ad, Robshaw kicking for the corner… 2015, you weren’t half-bad; but next year’s going to be even bigger."

Creature London
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership Independent
Nielsen billings 2015 £30m
Nielsen billings 2014 £30m
Declared income £3.7m (2014)
Total accounts at year end 22
Accounts won 10 (biggest: Dreams)
Accounts lost 3 (biggest: William Hill)
Number of staff 48 (+20%)
Key personnel Dan Shute, founding and managing partner
Ed Warren, founding and strategic/creative partner
Ben Middleton, founding and creative partner
Stu Outhwaite, founding and creative partner

Score key: 9 Outstanding  8 Excellent  7 Good  6 Satisfactory  5 Adequate  4 Below average  3 Poor  2 A year to forget  1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

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