Wilderness 2019 Wrapped
I often find it difficult to look-book and reflect on the year that is drawing to an end. It’s not in my nature to dwell on the past and I’m driven by what is to come.
That said, I have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot of people to thank for the rollercoaster that has been 2019.
Starting with a Bang
We started 2019 with a bang here at Wilderness picking up two clients in the first few weeks of the year. Firstly, we were delighted to be brought onboard by Entertainment One to support their family division across the global social media accounts for much-loved kids brands Peppa Pig and PJ Masks. This further cemented our position as a leading agency across kids’ TV and entertainment brands, having worked on the likes of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Snowman, Spot the Dog and Scooby-Doo to name a few.
We followed up this win by sleighing a huge client in HBO, following a competitive pitch process, we were handed the UK social accounts just weeks before the biggest TV event of the decade, yes the start of Season 8, the final season, of Game of Thrones.
It is a testament to our incredible team that they not just handled this but smashed the launch and on-going management of the HBO UK accounts creating a unique brand voice and cutting through the massive online chatter to shape and define the conversation. Obviously, this didn’t come without its issues and we weathered the backlash to the final season with a proactive fan-first approach. This led the account to go viral ahead of the third episode with an agile approach and cheeky tone of voice that was picked-up by mainstream international press including Vanity Fair, Buzzfeed, The Independent, Business Insider, and others.
Launching in Amsterdam and more new work…
The second half of the year saw us launch our EMEA office based in Amsterdam led by the fantastic Meredith Mogenson, formally of Saatchi, Grey, and Publicis in NYC.
This was followed quickly by our first client win in Amsterdam for Stanley. Supporting the outdoor brand launch their social channels in the UK with new markets across Europe to follow.
We were delighted to win a competitive pitch to support Crimestoppers in their three-year Hidden Harms campaign, with a campaign in 2019 focused around race-related hate crimes. Working closely with met police we identified areas of London with high levels of these crime types and look to target potential bystanders through paid social ads.
For our team to affect an issue such as this in a positive way and see high volumes of leads to the Crimestoppers website for those affected to report a crime was hugely rewarding. We are excited to be continuing to support Crimestoppers in their work throughout 2019 and beyond.
It’s not been all plain sailing this year. As with many independent agencies, we have lost clients, had budget cuts on campaigns, and hardest of all had people leave the business.
We grew the team by 40% in the first half of 2019, not only that but we moved into our new London HQ and our first dedicated office and rebranded the agency with a defined proposition and purpose. All this led to a big shift in agency culture which led to some tough months and plenty of internal soul-searching.
We came out of the other side of that with a renewed sense of purpose and conviction that we are on the right path ensuring we focus our energy on creating a positive working environment delivering world-class work for our clients and partners. Personally, I’ve learned a lot and feel that we have a stronger team for having got through some of those growing pains of growing an agency team.
A mad scramble to the finish
I write this blog two days from the end of the year. Filled with tea and running on a few hour’s sleep we are within touching distance of finishing a great year. The last few months have been a mad scramble but it has seen win some amazing new clients, produce some of our best work as an agency and put ourselves in an exciting position for even greater growth next year.
We have recently been supporting the team at NOW TV with the launch of much-talked-about launch of Watchman. Working with the team at NOW TV has added to our credentials in this area alongside the likes of NBC Universal, HBO, and the Discovery Network and we are excited to be supporting the NOW TV team with additional campaigns throughout 2020.
With Christmas comes a focus on our work with much-loved kids properties The Snowman for Penguin Ventures and for the release of the Snail and the Whale for our long-time client Magic Light Pictures (makers of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, and Stickman).
I’m looking forward to sitting down with my daughter on Christmas Day to watch the latest Magic Light creation (voiced by Rob Brydon, Sally Hawkins, and Dame Diana Rigg) and that will be a great endpoint to a huge year.
As we move towards 2020 and a new year I’m excited to see our UK and EMEA teams develop and grow and finding new ways to work as an agile cross-border team.
We are developing our training and upskilling program, the Wilderness Social Academy, to set a standard across the industry and support the next wave of social media talent. As well as this we are expanding our Performance Marketing for startups offering Pack and have some exciting new fast-growth businesses we are partnering with, in the new year.
We will also be placing a focus on our Paid Media offering extending our capabilities into Programmatic and CTV and forging even closer ties with the social platforms we currently work with every day.
Thank you to all the team who have worked tirelessly to make Wilderness a success and to our partners and clients for continuing to support and place faith in us. 2019 that is a wrap, bring on 2020.
Tom Jarvis, Founder and Managing Director – Wilderness Agency