Winner – Play PR
Many of us will look back on March 2020 with little fondness. Not so the team of four who launched Play PR, a sister agency to 72Point, that month. Play ended its first year with 10 staff, and profitable with fee income just shy of £1m. Its team is 40 per cent non-white and 60 per cent female, and it has created a '30% Charter' to ensure that at least 30 per cent of suppliers or external resources used are from a diverse background.
Play launched with three clients – eyewear brand Cubitts, health brand Swisse Me and electric toothbrush maker Ordo, and has subsequently worked with more than 20 others, including Craft Gin Club, Moonpig and Pioneer Pro Audio. Having pledged to work to a 60:40 ratio of retained clients versus projects, at the end of 2020 the agency resigned several retained accounts in an ultimately successful move to free up resource to win and work on more profitable client work.
Its campaign work has included some eye-catching creativity including investigating the best 'ye olde' swear words, launching a travel agency that only wants you to go to Great Yarmouth, and exploring the rise of hatfishing (the use of headgear to disguise baldness on dating apps, in case you were in any doubt). One client says that the Play team “makes PR more fun”.
Having launched at arguably the most uncertain moment in modern history, don’t expect Play to press pause on its impressive progress any time soon.
The judges said
An agency that really feels like it is breaking the mould. Impressive results in its first year and great to see that diversity and representation is a key focus.
Highly commented – Shook
Launched by an ex-Engine Mischief duo in July 2020, by the year’s end Shook was profitable, and had eight staff and clients including Smart Energy GB and Onken. During 2020 it also created The Refugee Dictionary for the UN Refugee Convention and a campaign for Adult Cerebral Palsy Hub, which gets a Public Affairs high commendation in these PRWeek UK Awards.
Fight or Flight