PRWeek Awards 2011: New Consultancy of the Year

In June 2010, Chris McCafferty set up what he believed was a new type of PR agency. He had no launch client but a strong vision for a truly integrated shop that sat at the crossroads of traditional and digital PR.

New Consultancy of the Year: Kaper
New Consultancy of the Year: Kaper

It would create campaigns and content for a modern, always-on media world, and would blend his background of in-house digital work - as European comms director for MySpace and head of PR for MSN - with his agency experience at Shine Communications and The Red Consultancy.

He approached advertising agency Karmarama and the pair set up Kaper as a joint venture. This has allowed McCafferty to combine ad agency–style planning, strategy and creative thinking with the storytelling eyes of a PR agency. The partnership also gives Kaper access to the branded content and production expertise of its second partner agency Kream (also a 50/50 joint venture for Karmarama). This means the agency has the expertise to plan and create all moving image, film and branded content in-house.


The future-proof PR agency

Ginny Paton, managing director, House PR

Nearly a year on, Kaper has six client-facing staff and is on Unilever's consumer PR roster. Clients include big names such as AOL, Pot Noodle, the Southbank Centre, Bombardier Beer, La Senza and Mambo, plus start-ups such as Direct Ski, m8 Capital and PT's Biscuits.

The agency has beaten first year revenue targets by 40 per cent and achieved profits of 11 per cent. It generated nearly 80 per cent of its fee income itself, and the remaining 21 per cent was the result of joint work with Karmarama.

Unilever's senior brand PR manager Sam Smith says she hired Kaper because it offers a 'unique and fresh take on PR'. She adds: 'It takes our standard brief and delivers creative solutions that are unique, original and interesting, and forces us to rethink our approach, often adapting the PR creative to work in other channels.'

Looking to the next 12 months, Kaper is on target to make £500,000 in fee income with a 20 per cent margin. In addition, private equity fund Phoenix Equity Partners has agreed a large investment in Karmarama, Kream and Kaper.

This is the agency to watch.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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