the showcase 2023

Full throated: Accenture Song's 2023

Accenture Song has a new focus, which is beginning to reap rewards

By creative salon

Accenture Song kicked off 2023 in style, hiring the Publicis Groupe UK chief Dame Annette King to lead its global marketing practice. It was a powerful statement of intent that was quickly followed by the promotion of Will Hodge and Zoe Eagle to co-chiefs of the UK creative business when managing director James Denton-Clark quit.

The new team was united under the aim of driving growth by creating breakthrough ideas that inform the entire consumer experience. And 2023 has been filled with just that. From powerful campaigns to all-encompassing rebrands, Accenture Song has leant into the technological and commercial might of Accenture while also ensuring that it’s solving problems with creative solutions for the likes of Plusnet, Arla and the British Army.

To uncover the creative shop’s successes this year, we caught up with its co-chiefs.

Will Hodge and Zoe Eagle, co-chiefs at Accenture Song, on the agency's 2023

What three words would you use to describe 2023?

Gutsy, pivotal, unwavering

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

This year at Song, we welcomed a new line-up of top-tier talent and a new energy to help us shape our most ambitious era yet.

Being at the helm of the Song ship as a newly appointed partnership, we felt the full force of what it means to have two very different skillsets and engines in the tank to take on the challenge of building something we feel truly proud of.

With Zoe previously serving as Managing Director of Song, and Will as Chief Strategy Officer, we were able to hit the ground running when it came to taking on the role of Co-Chiefs. 2023 was certainly the year we were able to elevate our ambitions and sit alongside a greater number of C-Suite clients, as the demand for transformation grew and we were presented with the opportunity to showcase the breadth of what Song can do.

To usher in a new chapter for our creative department we promoted ECDs Vix Jagger and Pablo Gonzalez De La Pena Bermejo, and we set about redefining what it means to exist at the intersection of creative technology and culture. We tore up the rule book when it comes to traditional agency expectations and ran full tilt towards the technology that dares to shape and shift our world as we know it. We’re determined to look at what it means to be creative through this new lens; to push our talent to play and persist despite the unknowns, and to give our clients the opportunity walk the talk when it comes to transformation.

To get there we welcomed a raft of new faces into the Song family, including the honourable Dame Annette King who stepped into the role of marketing practice lead, where she will oversee the global creative capabilities for the group.

Under the guise of Laura Brown’s endless energy and enthusiasm we overhauled our approach to New Business and Marketing and put it at the centre of the agency to help our culture be led by the constant prospect of new opportunities. All hail our new Head of Growth and Brand.

The partnership between Brand Design and Brand Strategy now defines how a brand delivers value in today’s connected world, which is exactly why we appointed our first Head of Brand Design Camille Yin, who will work closely with our ECD’s Vix and Pablo.

As TikTok continued to dominate creative conversations, our clients and talent were given a front row seat to what true social success looks like under the leadership of Melo Meacher Jones, who joined as Head of Social and Influencer. Six months in and we’ve landed our first win for our much-loved client Plusnet.

On the work front, we helped Plusnet transform both their creative brand and product offering to make it fit for today’s modern, value-seeking customer.

We continued to ask big questions in order to get to some big truths when it comes to understanding what the next generation of Soldiers want to feel, with our ‘You belong here’ campaign for the British Army. We followed this up with the coveted APG award for our long-standing success with the Army over the last 7 years.

In a bid to help The United Nations’ accelerate private sector action to achieve the Social Development Goals we partnered with the UN to launch the ‘Forward Faster’ initiative and created one hell of a film that debuted in New York at this year’s General Assembly.

And in our first year as Song Social, we managed to take out Tik Tok’s Greatest Creative Award for our ‘Ode to Bakery’ campaign with LIDL!

What one thing are you proudest of this year?

In a year like this nothing can have been more powerful than finding our voice. We are all proud of each other and the giant strides we’ve made in shaping up and standing tall around a proposition that’s designed to deliver for clients in the time we live in now, not where we were before. The successes – and overcoming any of the challenges in between - comes down to the extraordinary talent that we have here at Song.

And what’s been your biggest challenge?

Keeping up with the ambitions and goals we set for ourselves whilst continuing to build a culture whereby balance, curiosity and play are still very much a part of who we are.

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

We’re here and we’re ready, so whatever 2024 has in store. The things we’re most excited about are the big client challenges we’ll be facing, the solutions we haven’t yet imagined, the new and wonderful ways we’re going to apply the myriad of skills and technologies to our clients’ businesses with sharp clarity and creativity.

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

Bigger ambitions to do the type of work that keeps our talent inspired and engaged, and our clients at the top of their game.

Creative Salon on Accenture Song’s 2023

2023 was a year filled with the bolstering of its talent for Accenture Song. While Jon Wilkins, former global chief strategy officer and Nik Studzinski, former chief creative officer, both departed from the agency, Vix Jagger and Pablo González de la Peña were elevated to executive creative directors. The agency also appointed its first head of brand Camille Yin, innovatively connecting brand strategy and design in a bid to support its new ECDs. Laura Brown was appointed head of growth and brand and Melo Meacher Jones joined as the agency's new head of social and influencer.

All of these moves are a clear statement of intent for the agency as it paves its own new creative and integrated path. So not surprisingly, the year was full of innovative work that exudes the agency's new found identity.

Accenture Song began 2023 by creating a myth-busting campaign for NCS (National Citizen Service) that aimed to reframe the often pervasive criticism faced by teens from wider society. The work displayed the ways in which young people engage with a wide range of passion points from gaming, to TikTok scrolling, to mental health advocacy, highlighting that these areas should be celebrated as they provide teens with the foundational skills and strengths essential as they transition into adult citizens.

In the same vein, later in the year Accenture Song launched another powerful future-facing campaign for the United Nations Global Compact. The agency’s Sustainability Studio unveiled the 'Forward Faster' initiative with hopes of accelerating private sector action to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of the campaign, the film - in which two children recite inaccurate quotes from leaders of the past - launched during the 78th United Nations General Assembly to a captive audience of CEOs, CSOs, officials, and government leaders.

The creative business also impressed this year with its rebrand for Plusnet ‘That’s a Plus’, which aimed to meet the online and social consumption of today’s consumers. The brand underwent an entire redefinition from a narrative and visual identity perspective, with Accenture Song ensuring that every touchpoint across the customer experience was a consistent and motivating brand experience. Jo Carman, Plusnet’s brand and commercial chief, believes that the company’s truthful and honest relationship with Accenture Song made the work a great success. Carman added: “It is next to impossible to build a brand like Plusnet without a strong agency network with trusted counsel and creative know-how.”

Accenture Song clearly impressed Plusnet as the creative business went onto win its organic and paid social media account in November, with Carman praising Song's "innate passion for social storytelling" during the pitch process.

Towards the latter end of the year, the agency also unveiled a powerful British Army recruitment campaign with Capita that challenged the misconceptions among the 59 per cent of young people who do not believe they would fit in in the British Army. The cross-platform campaign spoke directly to young people by showing that there is a place for them in the British Army, where their instincts and abilities are needed and valued.

With campaigns to one side, success also came in the form of a major account win. Arla Foods - which already worked with the agency on advertising campaigns - appointed Accenture Song to lead its creative transformation across Europe, covering every aspect of the Arla brand experience. In 2024, a new creative platform will be rolled out, led by an integrated creative campaign. Co-chief Will Hodge has pledged that Accenture Song will help Arla shape the “next iteration of what its business looks like by driving growth through creativity”.

Creative Salon says: The agency celebrated its first full year as Accenture Song this year and what a 12 months it has been. The agency brand has now bedded down to become a really interesting fixture on the agency landscape - who remembers Karmarama now?

With Accenture Song UKI's MD Bill Scott helping guide the business in the right direction, the beginning of Will and Zoe’s journey at the helm of Accenture Song has already proven to be successful. Next year, we look forward to seeing the full impact of the recent arrival of Dame Annette King.

This is a formidable but excitingly fresh and energetic team, backed by the might of Accenture. Expect big things in 2024.


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