The new direction will see the agency eventually part ways with holding group Unlimited Group, which holds a 27% stake in the business. It is understood that negotiations are ongoing.
While the repositioning will not see And Rising outright eschew big-brand advertising accounts, around 50% of the business will be focused on “scale-ups” — a type of business typically at a more advanced developmental stage than a start-up, often in series B funding rounds or beyond and looking at market growth.
“I think if you’re moving forward beyond a group, it’s about specialising,” chief executive Jonathan Trimble told Campaign. “Scale-ups are a huge part of the economy and an area where a lot of advertising growth is coming from.”
And Rising’s management team remains unchanged and will continue to be led by Trimble, creative partner Anna Carpen, strategy partner Rob Ward, managing director Andrew Barnard, executive creative director Will Thacker and head of production James Faupel. The agency has also moved to new premises on Bloomsbury Way.
And Rising said the new strategy builds on a broader ambition to support companies looking to have a positive impact on the world, which the agency itself backed when in 2016 it became the first UK ad agency to be awarded B Corp status, which recognises companies pursuing social good alongside profit.
The agency, which parted ways with House of Fraser earlier this year, and which last year lost its National Trust account, has been heading down this “scale-up” road for some time. Clients including ClearScore, a fintech brand for which it created a Ben Wheatley-directed ad last month; healthy snack company Popchips, and 2018 wins Wheyhey, Thriva and Seedlip are cases in point.
Trimble added: “It’s become clear that the future world we’ll live in depends upon the success of scale-ups. It’s the most vital segment of business right now, inventing markets and challenging the existing ones.”
According to the Scaleup Institute, scale-ups generate around £900bn in turnover across the UK.
The agency is offering its clients a subscription model that that rejects the typical retainer fee model, “allowing brands to tap into its teams, resources and creativity as an extension of their own”.
Trimble noted that “rolling retainers don’t fit how investment cycles work”, adding: “The subscription model gives clients really flexible access to the team and the fees reflect that. It’s good for us because we can deliver high-value projects and move on quickly.”