Radar – now within range

by Herman Manson (@marklives) Radar has had its offices in the midst of a construction site for just over a year. It’s an easy allegory to describe the agency, which has been working hard to reinvent itself following the departure of three of its four partners just over a year and a half ago.

In 2006, four friends (Baphumze Msengana, Tricia Snowball, Karen Meyer and Jason Ray) left Ogilvy to launch Under the Radar (UTR) a specialist below the line agency. They had, says Ray, the last of the four left at the agency, believed that it was time to launch a new kind of agency that backed away from its reliance on traditional media, and had been in advanced talks with WPP, through Ogilvy, to back them. They got as far as looking for premises, but final approval just never arrived, so they departed and set up on their own.

Ray, who was Head of New Business at Ogilvy before helping launch UTR, says he knew the start-up agency would be OK when Old Mutual gave him an access card to Mutual Park at his going away party. The agency had signed Old Mutual as one of its founding clients.

UTR would live by three core rules, still in place today, says Ray. They would only work with clients they liked, they would avoid communication layering so that the client would always deal with the most senior person on the job, and accessibility and a focus on quality time will mean real agility inside the agency.

Under the Radar had been just that, operating under the radar from most of the advertising and marketing industry, but this is set to change. Ray has bought out his three partners, amicably, he says (one is rejoining agency as a staff member), and has evolved its full service communications offering. The agency has been rebranded as Radar.

The embedded Agency

by Herman Manson (@marklives) The founders of ad agency Derrick, Livio Tronchin (ex-Jupiter Drawing Room Cape Town), Mark Stead (former CD at KingJames RSVP) and Myles Hoppé (former brand manager at the company behind the Joule), late last year packed up their office and moved in with the launch team of money management service 22seven.

The brainchild of Christo Davel, best known for his work on 20Twenty, the ground-breaking online bank that folded alongside Saambou, the Derrick team had been commissioned to move into the new start-up for a two week stint that made them feel like part of the start-up (and worked them just as hard!) rather than an agency apart.

22seven needed things to happen fast, in real time, and the procedures and processes in place at ad agencies was going to be a hindrance. So it all got tossed out the window. And while it was an exciting ride it did highlight vulnerabilities on both sides of the client/agency divide.

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