School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]


Type of agency & ownership:  Independent creative agency
Nielsen billings 2017: £18m (-43%)
Declared income:  £3.7m
Total accounts at year end: 18
Accounts won: 7 (biggest: British Red Cross)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: Ryvita)
Number of staff: 27 (-33%)
Key personnel: Dan Cullen-Shute, chief executive and founder; Stu Outhwaite, chief creative officer and founder; Ben Middleton, chief creative officer and founder; Andrew Gibson, chief strategy officer
Star player: Ellie Vincent, account manager

Year in review

2017 got off to a rocky start for Creature when founding partner Ed Warren departed, leaving some to wonder whether the band who had got the Seattle offshoot off the ground six years before was breaking up. But the three remaining founders – Dan Cullen-Shute, Stu Outhwaite and Ben Middleton – seemed to seize the opportunity for a fresh start.

In 2016, the agency had been hit by the losses of three main accounts, and halfway through 2017 it suffered another blow when one of its first clients, the Jordans & Ryvita Company, split with it. The management, including newly promoted chief strategy officer Andrew Gibson, quickly moved to fill those gaps. By the end of the financial year Creature had brought in nearly £1m in new revenue, with seven pieces of business, the biggest of which was for the British Red Cross. It also nabbed ready-meals brand Charlie Bigham’s and projects for Facebook, Côtes du Rhone, Carwow, Photobox and Collect+.

Through the ups and downs, the agency has held on to its creative spirit. In the same inventive tradition as its two previous interactive theatre shows, Creature is now developing a factual entertainment TV programme. Its commitment to paying all employees and interns a real living wage is also admirable.

In early 2018 Creature lost butter brand Anchor, illustrating Cullen-Shute’s point, made in a piece he wrote for Campaign, that starting an agency is "insanely hard". But the founders swear they are sticking it out for the long haul, while trying to have some fun along the way.

Agency's Year In A Tweet

"A classic year of two halves: fortunately, the 2nd half of it was fucking great. Loads of good work, loads of good wins, loads of good wine."


Score this year: 5
Score last year: 4
How the agency scores itself: 8
Management strength: 6
Creativity: 5
Innovation: 6
New business: 5
Diversity: 4

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: n/s
Previous: n/s
Change: n/s

Operating profit

Latest: n/s
Previous: n/s
Change: n/s

List of total accounts Retained:

Arla – Anchor

Arla – Lactofree

British Red Cross

Charlie Bighams







Collect +



Green Party


Pots & Co.

Royal Marsden

Ruud Intimates


Top three spending accounts: n/s
Number of retained accounts: 7
Number of accounts that are projects: 14
Biggest win: British Red Cross (n/s)
Biggest lost: Ryvita (n/s)



Haymarket award wins


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