Cicero launches consumer arm and targets acquisitions

Cicero, the public affairs and corporate PR specialist agency, has announced the launch of a new consumer division and revealed plans to make acquisitions.

Consumer boss Rowan Adams: formerly of Sky, Thorpe Park, the BBC and MTV
Consumer boss Rowan Adams: formerly of Sky, Thorpe Park, the BBC and MTV

The new consumer arm is led by Rowan Adams, former head of comms at start-up bank Tandem. He joined in March and has so far led two consumer campaigns for Cicero: promoting Ladbrokes during the Eurovision Song Contest, and delivering support for The Sun ahead of the General Election.

Cicero CEO Jeremy Swan said: "Our clients are looking for more and more creativity, irrespective of discipline. Whether it be corporate, public affairs or digital campaigns, many, including our b2b and institutional clients, are looking for a different take.

"Our consumer division will support our existing client base in this regard, as well as delivering projects for brands that are completely new to Cicero, with our work for The Sun this month a clear example of our future intent."

Currently, Adams is the sole person working in the consumer arm but Cicero is recruiting for the division.

Swan told PRWeek the company would focus on "a combination of organic and acquisitive growth" for expansion, with plans to make three to four acquisitions in the next two to three years.

PR rather than public affairs agencies are a more likely target, Swan said. Asked if consumer PR shops were also a focus, he explained: "We are looking for a range. We are looking to see where the largest growth is. Consumer is definitely one, and digital is as well."

London-based Cicero is ranked 56th in PRWeek’s UK Top 150 Consultancies report, with UK revenue of £5.3m in 2016, up 14 per cent on the previous year. Swan said the "medium term" aim is to enter the top 30.

Adams previously held senior roles at the then Tesco-owned Blinkbox streaming service and at Sky, with wider consumer experience in-house at Thorpe Park, Chessington, the BBC and MTV. He also worked at agencies House PR and Premier PR.

Adams said: "I am delighted Cicero has given me the opportunity to lead this new part of their exceptional offering. We will develop campaigns that define consumer attitudes and can be measured by business growth, not PR fluff.

"Having worked hand-in-hand with CMOs, we understand the ongoing challenges facing established and grassroot brands alike. The next year is going to be an exciting one and I am looking forward to speaking with brands who are ready to kick the hornet’s nest."

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