Now, the agency co-founded by former Rapier executive creative director John Townshend, is beefing up its data analysis function by launching a new division, Now Numbers, which will place data at the heart of the agency’s creative strategy.
Simon Wall, one of the original founders of Fuel, has already delivered major projects for the agency’s clients – including Smart Energy GB, Nuffield Health and the Royal Academy of Engineering – using data to drive strategic and creative direction. Data was also central to Now’s recent Ocado win.
He joins as significant shareholder in the business, which was set up in March 2011 by Townshend, former Partners Andrews Aldridge planning director Kate Waters and ex-COI chief Mark Lund. Lund left in 2014 to become UK group chief executive of McCann Worldgroup.
Wall will help inform all of the agency’s creative output and will work alongside chief strategy officer Waters and executive creative director Remco Graham.
Townshend said: “Data has changed every walk of life apart from traditional advertising. Usually used to optimise performance at a CRM level, at Now we are using it in a fundamentally different way. We can use data analytics to help direct creative strategy, to make strategies more robust and to connect directly with the creative work and inspire creativity.”
Fuel launched operationally in January 2003 with four partners, Wall, Jonathan Buck, James Harrison and Nick Horswell. Partners Andrews Aldridge co-founders Phil Andrews and Steve Aldridge also took a stake in the business. The data unit was a key part of Engine Group’s £18m acquisition of Partners Andrews Aldridge in 2008.
Wall said: “Now has always been an agency that has embraced data and its ability to drive the creative strategy – the birth of Now Numbers is simply a reflection of the rapidly growing importance of that relationship for clients.”
Waters added: “We love the creativity of data. It lets you come up with more lateral answers to problems, and to be more certain to commit to a direction wholeheartedly. For clients it justifies bold ideas and supports the case for creativity.”
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