School Reports 2018: Spark Foundry


Type of agency & ownership:  Media agency, owned by Publicis Groupe
Nielsen billings 2017: £75m (+32%)
Declared income: n/s
Total accounts at year end: 28
Accounts won: 7 (biggest: Bel Group)
Accounts lost: 3 (biggest: Capital One)
Number of staff: 232 (no change)
Key personnel: Nigel Waring, managing director; Rob Hocknell, managing partner; Liz Ragoo, managing partner; Simon Jones, managing partner
Star player: Lucy Gallagher, executive assistant

Another year, another rebrand – it’s no wonder Spark Foundry is struggling to find its identity and role in the industry.

In July, Publicis Groupe opted to ditch the 18-year-old Mediavest brand for good, opting instead for a moniker to conjure up images of bearded hipsters reinventing the industry. The media world is yet to grasp what this reinvention means in practice.

Such navel-gazing has contributed to a very modest new-business record. Spark Foundry lost the media planning and buying for Capital One, with a whiff of consolation coming in the form of cheesemaker Bel Group, which handed the agency its global account in April.

Much emphasis has been placed on the development of an "entrepreneurial" spirit within a "powerhouse" organisation. Charles Crotty was selected to lead a new digital strategy unit, and Spark Foundry has picked up several start-up clients, including home-improvement app Plentific and men’s grooming brand Scrubd, as well as Chinese smartphone firm OnePlus. This may prove a rich seam for the agency.

In the short term, the agency has looked into its past for a helping hand, recruiting Mediavest veteran John Antoniades as managing director, global business, with a remit to improve performance outside the US.

So, after a tricky 2016, last year represented another step backwards, while 2018 got off to the worst possible start with the departure of UK chief executive Rachel Forde, a capable and respected leader. Under the temporary oversight of Antoniades, Spark Foundry will be hoping to finally find a secure footing to begin an ascent over the next 12 months.




4 5 6

Agency's year in a tweet

Start-up spirit, powerhouse soul. New biz, new faces, new direction, new name, and our fun-loving culture only gets better. Bring on 2018!

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


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



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