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SLING & STONE ACQUISITION

Tuesday 09 November 2021

We are delighted to announce that VCCP Business has acquired Sling & Stone, a multi-award winning PR and communications agency with offices in Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles.

Sling & Stone launched in 2010 with a specific focus on startups, high-growth tech and challenger brands shaping the future. The agency has grown to three countries, 70 people, multiple agency of the year and best place to work awards, and a world-class client roster.

Through the acquisition, Sling & Stone will become part of VCCP Business, and will work in partnership with leading technology agencies Method in North America and Harvard in the UK, as well as advocacy specialist agency inEvidence. The combined global PR and communications group will help clients everywhere shape the future of how we live, work, and play.

It will grow our group’s technology billings to £30 million, with a 250+ strong team, cementing our global presence.

Sling & Stone, which was founded by Vuki Vujasinovic 11 years ago, has enjoyed rapid growth partnering with some of the most exciting startups, category-defining unicorns and publicly-listed industry leaders, including current clients Twitter, Google, Stripe, Xero, and Zip.

Jo Parker, Group CEO VCCP Business, said: “From the moment we met Vuki and his team, we had so much in common — a challenger mindset, a global ambition and a culture of collaboration and openness. We are really excited to work with all the Slingers and to build on our shared global vision.”

Vuki Vujasinovic, Founder and CEO of Sling & Stone, said: “We’ve been partnering with innovative and important brands for more than a decade now, playing a key role in their growth. Working with these types of clients is what we’re good at, and what we love doing.

“I’m so happy that we’ve found the perfect growth partner in VCCP Business. We have a shared vision to focus on telling these stories that are reshaping the world around us.

“Sling & Stone has always been mission-driven and ambitious, and we know our future is going to be even stronger with the smarts and the skills of the VCCP group backing us. We get to immediately plug into the global scale and skills of VCCP Business — unlocking reach and expertise for our clients, campaigns, and team.

“This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for Sling & Stone, and we’re just getting started.”

PLANET MARK ACCREDITED

VCCP Business, along with VCCP and the rest of the Chime agencies, is proud to have received the Planet Mark sustainability certification – joining just a handful of accredited advertising, marketing and PR members.

Certification to the Planet Mark is based on the commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability within our business operations, by measuring and reducing our carbon footprint and engaging our stakeholders. Holders are required to measure and reduce their annual carbon emissions associated with business operations by a minimum of 2.5% every year. It also measures the amount of time and money invested in community work.

We are delighted that through our Planet Mark Certification, we are protecting an area of endangered rainforest thanks to their partners Cool Earth; a charity working alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation and in particular supporting the Asháninka community in Central Peru. We are also helping the Eden Project, an educational charity whose aim is to build connections with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work together towards a better future.

We recognised that still have much work to do and we won’t be resting on our laurels, but this accreditation is important because it reflects our holistic approach to sustainability – measuring not just environmental but also community impact – and has enabled us to understand and focus on areas for action and also where we need to collect data better.

We’re committed to playing our part in fighting climate change and reducing our carbon footprint through ongoing, meaningful action. That’s why we will be also committing to becoming Net Zero and are working on science based targets in order to define our target date. Stay tuned.

GLOBAL CMO RESEARCH FINDINGS

No one could have predicted Covid-19 and how much it would derail the year as it has. Now, as we embark on building back better, the timing feels right to share the insight from our latest research with fifty CMO’s of the world’s largest B2B companies. Read how improving customer experience remains the No.1 challenge for all global CMOs. And of the five underlying principles of great customer experience, Integrity is ranked highest and Personalisation ranked lowest.

Download here ‘Maintaining Relevance through Customer Experience’, the summary report of the findings and our interpretation of what the priorities are for B2B CMOs. Please get in touch if would like to discuss how we can help your business respond to your B2B challenges.

DELIVERING UMBRO’S HISTORIC KIT LAUNCH

HOME, ALTERNATE AND PRO TRAINING KITS UNVEILED

Last month we helped our client Umbro with a historic kit launch in line with the brand’s partnership with England Rugby. Launching the 2021/22 Home, Alternate and Pro Training kit ranges, we championed and unveiled a bespoke Women’s Rugby kit; a first in rugby’s professional era.

Umbro worked in collaboration with members of England’s Red Roses squad, taking inspiration from the player’s pride in the jersey, to create the new kits which features subtle rose thorn detailing around the collar and shoulder area.

In launching the new England Rugby range, and continuing to support the commitment by the British brand to champion the women’s game, we also spearheaded Umbro’s newest creative campaign, It’s Time.

The It’s Time campaign will begin to roll out across Umbro’s multi-sports properties and highlights the holistic preparation that goes on throughout a week to allow athletes to perform when it counts.

From rest, active recovery, analysis, training and travel, the It’s Time campaign tells the story of a week and how that directly links to performance on a match, race, or event day.

Our team managed all elements of content capture and talent management during three shoot days at Twickenham Stadium, adhering to strict COVID19 protocols in the process.

With the help of our creative team we created all launch assets and deliverables that would sit across England Rugby, Umbro, and retail partner platforms, alongside printed assets which now feature across the England Rugby Store.

The launch was amplified across Umbro’s paid, owned and earned channels with support from brand ambassadors in the men’s and women’s squads. As part of the launch we also announced Umbro’s partnership renewal with England Rugby, which sees their deal with the national team extend until 2028.

CSM MENTORING CHALLENGE RETURNS FOR SIXTH YEAR

CELEBRATING OUR MENTORS AND MENTEES

For the sixth year in a row, we proudly present the CSM Mentoring Challenge in partnership with Sports Business Journal. As the landscape of sport is changing with the rise of women in executive leadership positions and athletes who have ruptured stereotypes through their advocacy and impact driven work.

Part of equalizing the playing field is making sure that young women build a strong network, have a foundation to grow, and are equipped with the skills to be the next Game Changer. The CSM Mentoring Challenge brings together ambitious women early in the careers in the sporting industry and top-level female executives who have been recognized as a Game Changer by Sports Business Journal.

As part of the greater programming of the 2021 SBJ Game Changers Conference, we kicked-off the CSM Mentoring Challenge festivities. We invited all our mentors and mentees to an exclusive drinks reception in New York City to formerly introduce each pairing- as we transition back to live events.

The next day, all were invited to the conference- virtually and in real life. Vanessa Taveras, SVP of Properties, 2020 Game Changer and long-time mentor, joined SBJ’s panel on mentorship. The women in our program were able to learn and network with the incredible industry leaders.

HISENSE CROWNS PLAYER OF THE FINALS

SERGIO BUSQUETS PRESENTED WITH THE HISENSE TROPHY

Hisense have a strong, constantly evolving relationship with UEFA as an official partner of the UEFA Nations League Finals, which this year we helped take to the next level.

Continuing Hisense’s EURO 2020 campaign, #UpgradeYourHome which aimed to bring the experiences/emotions of the tournament into the home, we helped fans get closer to the newly acquired Hisense Player of the Finals official competition. This was achieved by hosting a competition on Hisense social channels concurrently with the tournament, to give one football fan the chance to receive their very own Player of the Finals trophy, and national jersey of their choice.

We were responsible for putting the rights in place for Hisense Player of the Finals, developing a highly anticipated, branded trophy reveal as well as helping with the #POTF social competition. With 152 total posts picked up and shared across five different Hisense markets, our #POTF content reached an impressive 3.6M views, making it our second most viewed content category of the tournament. Our content surrounding Skill of the Day caught the eye of our fans the most, receiving a staggering 7.1M views across Hisense and UEFA platforms.

VCCP LAUNCHES GIRL&BEAR

VCCP Group supercharges production offering with the launch of global content creation studio, Girl&Bear.

Girl&Bear becomes the new home to makers from across the VCCP network and will deliver world-class content creation, global production services and a bespoke technology solution.

Spanning the full range of content production, the studio’s capabilities will include film, audio, design, print, photographic and digital production and brings together 250 makers with VCCP’s expertise and focus on craft. Alongside the makers within the studio, Girl&Bear will continue to work with production partners to ensure access to the best talent in the industry.

Challenging the modern production dilemma of choosing between beautifully crafted creative, or efficient delivery of assets at scale, Girl&Bear will deliver craft without compromise. Bringing cutting-edge technology and automation into the production process in the right way, at the right moments will ensure Girl & Bear’s makers around the world can work more efficiently as well as give clients a seamless delivery experience.

Girl&Bear will service VCCP’s global network, offering clients borderless content production across eight markets including London, where it is headquartered, Madrid, Prague, San Francisco, New York, Singapore, Sydney, and Shanghai. Girl&Bear will also offer cost-efficient production at scale in every region of the world through offshore solutions which will be run out of the Czech Republic, South Africa and Asia Pacific.

Brought together by a team of passionate makers, Girl&Bear will be led by Managing Director, Claire Young, Executive Head of Production, Anthony Austin and Global Head of Operations, Dan Montalbano. Young has over 20 years of production experience working at some of the industry’s most well-respected creative agencies including Mother, exposure, JWT, and has led production for VCCP London for the last six years. Montalbano has led global operations for the VCCP Group for the last two years and brings both client-side and top-tier London agency experience from brands including National Geographic, Barclays and agencies Razorfish and AKQA.

Girl&Bear are also working with VCCP Group towards achieving B-Corp status.

Committed to uncovering, supporting and attracting new and diverse talent both in front of and behind the lens, Girl&Bear are working with partners Free The Bid, BRiM, Justrunners, Brixton Finishing School and SCA to help create a diverse and inclusive workforce. In November they will host the Shiny Awards, which champions underrepresented directors. For more information about Girl&Bear, visit www.wearegirlandbear.com

VCCP OPENS AN ACADEMY IN STOKE

VCCP has today announced the opening of a new office in the birthplace of the British creative industry, Stoke-On-Trent. It becomes the agency’s first UK office outside London and reflects the challenger network’s ambition to open up and attract more diverse talent. In its initial phase, the office will function as an Academy with staff from VCCP London working to raise awareness, provide training, work experience, mentoring and paid internship schemes, with a future apprenticeship scheme set to launch next year.

Set against a backdrop of recent art colleges and advertising school closures and a global pandemic that has exacerbated the situation, the pathway to the industry has become narrower with more and more opportunities being removed. People outside London are struggling to see advertising and media as a career option, especially those from low-income areas or from diverse backgrounds.

Stoke has one of the highest rates of economic deprivation, especially amongst black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Within the creative industry, cities like Stoke are often overlooked in favour of Manchester or Leeds when setting up outside the South East.

Open to people in Stoke and surrounding areas, VCCP Stoke Academy will tackle three major recruitment barriers faced by the industry which include a lack of awareness of the creative industry as a potential career option, a dearth of pathways into entry-level jobs around the country and the extremely high cost of moving to and living in London where most entry-level job opportunities are to be found.

To find out more about VCCP Stoke Academy please visit https://www.vccp.com/news/2021/oct/vccp-opens-an-academy-in-stoke

FUNNEL VISION

Originally published in Campaign UK.

Is your funnel top-heavy, bottom-heavy, or perfectly proportioned? This question has come to dominate budget discussions, almost more than raw value for money.

And there is a good reason for our funnel fixation. There has always been a balance between top-of-funnel brand building and bottom-of-funnel trading. However, the tech-driven delta between the two has widened dramatically over recent years. Nowadays, if you get the balance wrong you could be wasting millions (or worse, you may actively be damaging your brand). Get it right and you have successfully mastered the most complex and intermeshed media matrix that has ever confronted the marketing community.

The upside of this new complexity is the prospect of unprecedented levels of ROI for those marketers canny enough to avoid its various pitfalls. That’s because we live in a world that has long superseded Marshall McLuhan’s dictum of the medium being the message. Now, the medium isn’t simply the message, it can also be the sale.

This is what makes funnel optimisation so critical and so lucrative. People can see your ad, respond to it and transact from it all at the same time, on the same screen in the same controlled ecosystem. And this transactional element is by no means limited to digital or streamed services and products. With the right media mix, you can sell out of an analogue product from an analogue location in minutes without customers moving more than their index finger. Fashion houses have been harnessing this dynamic for years through pre-sales and fashion drops. And these are simply microcosms of the wider e-commerce system. The medium is becoming far more than the message. The medium is becoming the market.

If you would like to continue reading about our point of view on the marketing funnel please visit https://www.vccp.com/news/2021/oct/charles-vallance-in-campaign

Chime Pride Get Together

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Our annual Chime Pride Get Together will be taking place on Thursday 25th June. This speaker panel event will be followed by Q&As and a chance to hang out after.

The speaker line-up is seriously impressive so make sure you don’t miss out:

Sandy Downs and Melissa McGowann – Chime Colleagues: Introducing the event, educating us on the connected history of pride and black people as well as helping us understand terms, pronouns and some queer slang.

Christopher Kenna – Founder and CEO of Brand Advance, diversity advocate in media and advertising and military veteran: Talking about his experience in this new environment of Pride and BLM and helping us understand the importance of reaching queer, niche audiences in their communities.

Ethan Spibey and Soren Scharf – Founders of Proud Beer, queer activists and campaigners: Talking about the challenge of running a queer brand that is both representative and gives back to a diverse community.

Rich Miles – CEO and co-founder the Diversity Standards Collective: Telling us about their research, project and findings into racism and their new programme to help organisations in the aftermath of BLM protests.