A gang of four former Unlimited Group and Indicia executives – Ian Bates, Beth Pope, Nick Barthram and Sarah Platt – have joined forces to launch Bristol-based consultancy Firehaus, which the founders claim will offer a creative-led “fresh perspective” to brands and agencies alike.
Creative partner Bates, who stepped down from Prophecy Unlimited in February, first worked with brand partner Pope at The Real Adventure, where she was joint managing director.
The agency was subsequently merged with EMO to form Prophecy; Pope then moved into an Unlimited Group role as partner and chief client officer. However, she stepped down in June last year to work as a consultant.
Strategy partner Barthram first met Bates at Indicia and worked with him again at Prophecy, where he was planning partner. He also quit last year to join Play Sports Group as strategy director.
Meanwhile, finance partner Platt, who has also worked at Indicia, has been at Artemis Clarke and Bath Festivals since June last year. Earlier in her career, Platt had spells at Wincanton and Arthur Andersen.
Firehaus has also gathered what it calls “The Fire Crew”, a 23-strong band of “associates, provocateurs, collaborators, analysts and anarchists”, including former EMO boss Nick Davies, ex-Prophecy Unlimited associate creative director Tim Lines and MyAgency founder and ECD Matt Turner.
According to the agency blurb: “We passionately believe that creativity fuels competitive advantage. So we’re here to offer fresh perspectives to brands, agencies and startups who feel their full potential is yet to be realised.
“We’re independent in our ownership and thinking. We get data. We get tech. We get media. But most of all, we get that brands need ideas to make them matter to people who are increasingly switching off. Too many brands have either forgotten why they exist or never really knew. We believe this has to be resolved if they’re to compete, let alone succeed.”
The founders are also “proud to take our place in the blossoming Bristol cultural vibe, independent of the London-centric agency bubble”.
They add: “We’re genuinely technology and media neutral too – doing what’s right by our clients rather than an agency profit centre. And as we have no vested interests in any particular channel or format, our solutions are transparent. In our Haus there’s only ever one objective – giving brands an edge.”
Bates said: “We’re structured for creativity, and the Crew is central to this. By unshackling diverse, complementary talent we can riff on each expert contribution to create innovative ideas. It’s intellectually and emotionally refreshing. We’ll think differently for sure but it also means we behave differently. We’re big when we need to be, small when don’t. There’s a strong commercial component to that too.”
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