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The Showcase 2022

A creative renaissance: The&Partnership's 2022

New creative leadership yielded results

By creative salon

"Better than 2021". That's how Sarah Golding, the chief executive of The&Partnership, describes this year. We think that The&Partnership's 2022 was a real leap on from the previous twelve months - you only have to look at the work that emanated from its Gresse Street HQ to see that.

There now seems to be a clarity of thought around the agency's "entrepreneurial creativity" positioning, led by Golding, CCO Micky Tudor and ECD Toby Allen. And along the way the agency also managed to do "good" with The&Academy. We caught up with Sarah to discuss her year and, below, Creative Salon gives its verdict.

Sarah Golding, The&Partnership's CEO, on her agency's year

What three words would you use to describe 2022?

Better than 2021.

Talk us through some of your agency’s highlights this year?

Launching our own centre of excellence for media and digital apprenticeships in Birmingham – The&Academy – that has hired 22 apprentices in its first year who will learn from the best in the tech business and earn while they work on some of our biggest global clients. The&Academy addresses the growing talent crunch within the creative, digital and media fields and attracts young people from a wide range of backgrounds.

It’s exciting and inspiring that we’re taking a lead in shaping the future of our industry and ensuring the next generation is equipped to lead the UK forward.

Our work as always, but even more so this year. We launched a new brand platform for NatWest which has been really successful in helping reframe NatWest and finance in the eyes of the consumer, particularly young people.

We’ve produced a huge amount of work with purpose this year too. A Pets At Home campaign focussing on Vets and the huge strain they’ve been under since the pandemic dealing with the huge numbers of new pet owners in the UK. RNIB showing the real and devastating impact sight loss can have on a person and highlighting the very real difference RNIB can have and urging others to ‘see the person - not the sight loss’.

Our #ClassOfCovid work for Prince’s Trust highlights a growing crisis in the UK, with 85% of 18-25 year olds saying they feel their employment prospects will never fully recover from the pandemic.

We also spearheaded the creation of the “Pride in London '' campaign, assembling an integrated team of LGBTQ+ people from across multiple WPP agencies – following on from our very own David Adamson founding WPP Unite.

And we closed off the year with a campaign working with patient groups and charities to raise awareness of the forgotten 500,000 immunosuppressed people in the UK. We launched a creative campaign, telling the stories of some of the affected people, as well as supported a silent vigil outside the Parliament and an ad van stunt – all of it asking the UK government to rollout Evusheld urgently so it can help protect the immunosuppressed from Covid-19 as we see rates rise again.

We pulled off a triple crown pitch in retaining British Gas again. This was personal for me. I originally pitched and won British Gas back in 2003 when we were called Clemmow Hornby Inge. Our relationship has evolved over the years as has our agency. I think the strength of this particular client agency relationship is one we’re immensely proud of.

We’ve won some great new business too. Our Manchester office has welcomed Transpennine Express to their roster, while we’ve recently won E45 in London and continue to grow our remit with Mars.

We also reunited the whole agency alongside our media partner agency mSix&Partners, in London under one roof with our sparkling new office. It’s exciting to all be in one building again and not running up and down Rathbone Place in the rain!

What one thing are you proudest of this year?

Our commitment to purpose whilst remaining creative to the core. We’ve given our people space to breathe and show true passion and entrepreneurial creativity through their work. With campaigns for both clients and pro-bono projects we’ve highlighted some of the most important issues of our time and hopefully ensuring the world we live in doesn’t leave people behind.

As mentioned above our work for The Prince’s Trust, RNIB, Pride and Evusheld have been particular highlights.

And what’s been your biggest challenge?

Like many agencies, we work with many clients in categories that have come under intense pressure and scrutiny this year. With the cost of living crisis taking a stranglehold on the UK, we need to guide our clients through potentially the most difficult time for businesses since the end of WWII.

It’s not just about budgets and encouraging our clients to keep marketing to consumers. It’s about ensuring they are having the RIGHT conversations and interactions with them.

British Gas is a great example of that. When Liz Truss announced her ‘mini budget’ we worked hard with the client to ensure their customers knew exactly what it meant for them - something the government was failing to do. The print campaign we ran was so successful it was highlighted on Good Morning Britain as an example of what the government should be doing to help the people.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

A holiday?

I’m also looking forward to building on our streak of memorable campaigns for our clients but more than that, I’m looking forward to seeing how we ramp up The&Academy – excited to see it go bigger and beyond Birmingham. We also relaunched our Girls onTour initiative – as High-Vis Creatives this year – which addresses the talent pipeline issue amongst creatives in the industry. So excited to see where that goes in 2023 – we aim to go to more schools and colleges around the country to talk about advertising!

And what one change would you most like to see in our industry next year?

A return to brave. Standing up for the right ideas, the right causes and the right people.

God knows we are going to need it in 2023.

Creative Salon on The&Partnership's 2022

There's something of a creative renaissance quietly happening at The&Partnership. 2022 marked the first full year of Toby Allen's tenure alongside Micky Tudor as creative leads at the agency. Allen has already made his mark, uniting with Tudor to drive confident work across a range of diverse clients, from Vets At Home to INEOS handwash range - and pretty much everything inbetween.

"Owning" Christmas might seem a silly adland conceit but it's a fun game to play and The&Partnership can make a strong claim to have done just that this season. The agency's "Avalanche" spot for Argos was joyful (and triumphant), and distinctive and a superb continuation of its strong work on the brand. It sealed a year of creative bar-raising at the agency that bodes very well for 2023.

As well as moving the creative output up a gear, progress in 2022 included streamlining and simplifying the business's operating framework to give the agency a renewed clarity and focus.

Meanwhile retaining the British Gas account after so long was a powerful sign of the strength of the depth of the relationships Sarah Golding and her team have established with their clients - indeed, these clients form a very solid bedrock from which it builds its concept of "entrepreneurial creativity".

Creative Salon Says: Under the formidable steer of Golding, it's never been wise to under-estimate The&Partnership and 2022 showed that the agency is as ambitious and driven as ever. The creative output moved up a definite gear this year and a new cleaner structure sets the business on course for another concerted, energetic push ahead in 2023.


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