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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.”

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.

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.

Fashion Goes Digital

Since lockdown, our lives have all become more virtual – and the world of fashion is no exception. VCCP’s Innovation Lead, Peter Gasston, investigated this emerging trend for The Marketing Society, and analysed its implications for the future of retail and sustainability.

Read the fascinating piece here.

Give me a compass, not a crystal ball

A view from VCCP’s Founder and Chairman, Charles Vallance: 

Things become axiomatic because, broadly, they’re true.

A stitch in time frequently does save nine. Many a true word is, indeed, often spoken in jest. Clichés such as these stick because they are reliable, if imperfect, guides.

Of the many clichés doing the rounds at the moment, one that seems to be bearing up well to overuse is the old saying that a crisis “brings out the best and worst in us”. Time and again, we see evidence of this essential truth – a truth that applies equally to brands as it does to people.

There is a clue within the wording that provides an important protection against the biggest danger facing brands during the crisis, which is to overestimate how much Covid-19 will change the way your brand should behave. I say this because, although the virus is undoubtedly having a massive impact on behaviours and attitudes, these impacts don’t alter the fundamentals for a brand.

Perhaps the biggest fundamental to consider is that people don’t really change, as Bill Bernbach memorably observed: “It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary… a communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive desire to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”

In a crisis, it is easy to forget the inherently long-term nature of brand-building and to get moved around by the headwinds rather than the tide.

Jeff Bezos is another marketing titan who reminds us of this point. In one of his most famous quotes, he contrasts the frequency with which he gets asked “What’s going to change in the next 10 years” with the scarcity of how often he’s asked “What’s not going to change?”. His conclusion is simple: “I submit to you that the second question is actually the more important of the two – because you can build a business strategy around things that are stable in time.” You can build a brand strategy around them as well.

Obsessing about what is going to change is not only less revealing, it is also more complicated and thus more likely to get you to the wrong answers. According to Bezos, one of the advantages of asking what’s not going to change is that it’s a far easier question to answer: “When you identify those big ideas that are stable in time, they’re usually customer needs. You don’t have to do a lot of research. These things are so big and so fundamental – you know it.”

The implications are clear. While the effects of Covid-19 will be serious and lasting, people and their needs will fundamentally remain the same. So will the brands that succeed. This is not, however, an argument for stasis. Far from it. To paraphrase the old adage I quoted earlier, every brand can use the crisis to bring out the best in themselves and drive out the worst.

The point to highlight, the clue I mentioned lurking in the wording, is that the answer does not lie outside the brand, it lies within. We need to “bring it out”, not graft it on. This is not a time for grandstanding or superficial gestures. This is a time for brands to dig deep into themselves and latch on to what they do best. What they have always done best. They need to be a heightened version of themselves, not a retrofitted post-Covid identikit slapped on from the outside.

I could mention a few VCCP client examples of heightened brand permanence, but that would look like favouritism. So, instead, I’ll use the updated Budweiser “Wassup” ad to illustrate the point. This is an ad that is so old, it first ran in the last millennium, but it’s as true today as it was back then. Bud is, was and always will be about the idiosyncrasies and occasional profundities of true camaraderie. Of course, the updated ad needs the voiceover tweaking to reflect the new socially distanced context, but the overall truth of the message remains the same as when the ad originally aired back in 1999. Moreover, it will remain the same if we fast-forward to 2041. Or 2062.

When the waters are choppy, you don’t need a crystal ball. You need a compass. A compass not only guides you forward, most importantly it tells you where you’ve come from. This is the only way to plan a course and safely reach your destination.

VCCP win Walkers account

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Walkers has awarded it’s advertising account to VCCP after a competitive pitch.

White Door Consulting and Tina Fegent assisted with the process.

Julian Douglas, Vice-Chairman at VCCP, said: “Walkers is an iconic brand, creating some of the most memorable advertising in history, and we are thrilled and delighted to be their partner in creating the next chapter. A massive thanks to the whole team at Walkers and White Door Consulting for running a superb process under lockdown. It showed what is possible and we can’t wait to get started.”

Chime Launches New Inter-Agency LGBTQ Network: Chime Q

Monday 21 January 2019

London, 18th January 2019 – Chime, the global sport, entertainment and communications group, will launch a new LGBTQ network called ‘ChimeQ’ on 24th January. The network will offer everyone across the company’s 54 agencies the chance to learn from experts, share personal experiences and build connections across the diverse LGBTQ+ community within the 2,500 Chime global workforce.

ChimeQ plans to work with leading organisations like Stonewall, NABS, LBWomen, UK Black Pride, InterComms, PrideAM and Out for Sport to run events on a wide range of topics, such as the power of diversity, the benefits of having a mentor and the importance of working on mental health at work.

Chime has agencies that operate across a variety of sectors including sports marketing, public relations, advertising, digital, marketing, research, corporate responsibility and healthcare communications. Chime Q will operate as a multi-interest cross-sector forum for debate, discussion, mentoring, and campaigning.

The launch event on January 24th will include speeches from Lord Seb Coe, Jan Gooding and Phyll Opoku-Gyimah on the power of bringing your full self to work. CSM will also present its ongoing work as the commercial partner for the Gay Games in Hong Kong in 2022.

James Maxwell, Executive Creative Director of Teamspirit and co-founder of Chime Q said: “Even in 2019, we are bombarded with concerning statistics about the number of LGBTQ workers in the UK who feel they can’t come out at work, or experience LGBTQ-phobia in their workplace. We’ve worked hard as a group to foster an inclusive, open, and welcoming environment, but we know there is always more work to do.

“As communication experts, we need to work in a representative and inclusive way through all our processes, hiring and culture. We need every single employee to feel supported. And we need straight allies to be vocal with their support, taking a stand in our industry and society at large. We’re so proud to be launching Chime Q across the group to embolden our LGBTQ+ diversity profile for colleagues, clients and partners.”

Jo Parker, Chief Operating Officer at Chime commented: “Our proposition is built around people, and it’s fantastic to see Chime Q join our women’s network Grapevine to further bolster our diversity & inclusion work. Each of our agencies will benefit from the increased integration and networks that Chime Q enables, fostering our inclusive and dynamic culture. I’m excited for the launch event, and for many more activities that will follow in the future.”

 

Contacts for more information:

Sandy Downs

  1. 020 7861 3834
  2. sdowns@teamspirit.uk.com

Neil Bayley

  1. 07788 352046
  2. nbayley@goodrelations.co.uk

 

Chime Acquires Method Communications to broaden US footprint and create a £20m ($26m) Global Technology practice

Thursday 20 December 2018

LONDON (December 20 2018) — Chime, the global sport, entertainment and communications group, today announced it has acquired Method Communications, a technology PR and marketing agency based in San Francisco and Salt Lake City.

Through the acquisition, Method will become part of the Chime Specialist Group, a family of best-in-class agencies that are challenging traditional agency models. It will grow the group’s technology practice billings to more than £20 million (USD$26 million) and cement its’ presence in the U.S. technology market. By aligning Method with Harvard, an award-winning European technology agency, and inEvidence, the customer advocacy specialists, Chime is building upon its strategy of creating a differentiated global marketing services network for the technology sector.

“David and his team have built an outstanding business by shaking-up traditional agency thinking,” said Jo Parker, CEO, Chime Specialist Group. “This has made them one of the fastest growing and most recognised technology agencies in the U.S., with an enviable client roster. The synergy with Chime’s challenger approach is obvious, and we are excited to bring together our global ambitions to drive impact and value in the technology sector and beyond.”

Method, which was founded by David Parkinson and Jacob Moon in 2010, has grown rapidly and established itself as the agency behind some of the most exciting technology companies in the U.S., including Check Point Software, Domo, Freshworks, New Relic, Pluralsight, Qualtrics, Traeger Grills, Vivint Solar and Vivint Smart Home.

“Like Method, Chime has built its success on challenging outdated thinking. Since day one, we have had a goal of creating the best technology agency in the country, with the best team and clients in the industry,” said David Parkinson, CEO of Method. “From our very first conversations with Jo and her team, it was apparent that we shared a unique focus on culture, values and vision. We are thrilled to be part of Chime and anticipate a phenomenal partnership as we move forward.”

Louie St Claire, CEO of Harvard added: “Technology is now at the heart of every major global narrative. Delivering best practice PR and marketing to brands leading those narratives requires a global footprint. With Harvard in Europe, Method in the US and the global coverage from inEvidence we have a proposition to deliver across the globe and build something truly differentiated for brands with a technology story to tell, wherever they may be!”

Method, Harvard and inEvidence will report into Chime Specialist Group CEO Jo Parker, who also serves as the Chief Operating Officer of parent group Chime. Louie St Claire, CEO of Harvard, will step up to chair the newly-formed tech group to co-ordinate global collaboration across the network and build out its global technology proposition.

 

About the Chime Specialist Group

The Chime Specialist Group has best in class agencies across technology, financial services and sustainability. Operating across the world with offices in London, New York, Santiago to Singapore with over 250 people.

 

About Method 

Method is the communications catalyst for breakthrough brands and category leaders. Founded in 2010, Method helps its clients share their ambitious visions with the world. As The Holmes Report’s 2016 Technology Agency of the Year, we produce award-winning results from Salt Lake City and San Francisco. To explore how Method Communications creates engaging storytelling and compelling narratives for highly successful brands, visit methodcommunications.com or connect through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

 

About Harvard

Harvard is an award-winning PR & Marketing consultancy that works with brands who use technology to effect change. From global giants to the coolest start-ups, every one of our clients puts technology at the heart of what they do to leave a lasting impact. We exist to help them tell their stories in the most imaginative ways possible, and take them to the right people, in the right places, time after time.

 

About inEvidence

inEvidence is the specialist customer advocacy and reference agency within the Chime Specialist Group, part of Chime Communications Limited. inEvidence helps its clients build their brand and grow their business through customer stories, closing more business, more quickly.

 

Press Contacts

Neil Bayley, Chime +44 (0) 07788352046

 

Georgina Greenspan, Harvard

+ 44 (0) 07788 352 056 georgina.greenspan@harvard.co.uk

 

Jacob Moon, Method Communications

801.461.9797 jacob@methodcommunications.com