Start-up Agency of the Year 2021: Neverland

Start-up Agency of the Year 2021: Neverland

The Gold winner in this Campaign Agency of the Year Awards category is Neverland.

Entrants in this category all had very strong submissions, with judges finding it difficult to choose among them. Neverland, founded in 2019, triumphed over the other entries. It has described 2021 as a ‘blockbuster’ year, one in which it increased its headcount, going from 10 people to 35, with a 20% BAME representation and it also took on a new floor in its office building.

Income and profitability increased significantly on the back of wins including Kopparberg, Getir and Ladbrokes. The agency’s Euros campaign for Ladbrokes set new heights, focusing not on the bet, but on the game. The film captured the tension and excitement of football, using hundreds of drummers to evoke the anticipation that football fans feel during a crucial penalty.

For Kopparberg, Neverland devised a campaign celebrating the enduring role of the brand's fruit cider in pop culture. The ad begins back in 1977, when Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers allegedly created the high five. In subsequent years, the gesture made its way into pop culture, uniting punks, athletes, businesspeople, party-goers and sesh-heads alike. It ends with the tagline "to firsts that last" – the name of Kopparberg’s new brand platform.

Neverland invested heavily in its office space to make it a more attractive, happy and creative space to work. In a move that was different to what many others were doing in the industry, it doubled its square footage, creating more space for people to work, and teams to come together.

Judges said the agency demonstrated strong growth in an uncertain market, with campaigns that ‘tapped into the mood and spirit of the nation’. “The agency built and invested in a strong culture, with wellbeing and progression at the heart,” they said.

Silver: New Commercial Arts

The agency, which launched in May 2020, describes itself as ‘born with brand communications and customer experience creativity fused together in its DNA’. NCA was set up by Adam&Eve founders James Murphy and David Golding, alongside Ian Heartfield, formerly chief creative officer of Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, and Rob Curran, formerly chief experience officer of Wunderman Thompson.

Wins in 2021 include Alzheimer’s Society, the agency’s first charity client, Zurich Insurance, Moneysupermarket.com and Habitat. NCA formed a partnership with Glasgow School of Art to support talent from non-traditional, local backgrounds. It opened a Glasgow office in July 2021,with seven staff, including three graduates of the product design course at The Glasgow School of Art's Innovation School.

Bronze: Bump

Bump.Agency has carved out a niche space in the music marketing industry. Staff to date have been recruited and retained through the Government-backed ‘Kickstart’ scheme, which creates jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are otherwise at risk of long-term unemployment. In its first six months of operation, it has worked with Kanye West and industry-leading brands like the audio equipment company company AI- AIAI, Ninja Tune, Twitch.tv, the dating app POM (Power Of Music), and Pirate Studios.

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