Universal Music teams up with Host and One Green Bean to launch new creative agency

bring agency logoUniversal Music has partnered with PR and creative agencies One Green Bean and Host to form a new entertainment marketing agency, aimed at bringing brands together with artists and influencers including Lady Gaga, Mike Tyson and Troye Sivan, Mumbrella can reveal.

The new offering, Bring, will consist of a core team of eight sourced from the Universal Music brand team, and it will draw on resources from Host and One Green Bean, as needed, creating content campaigns and activations.

Roddy Campbell, who will lead the agency as managing director, told Mumbrella the agency will look to “create culture”, and will not be limited to working with Universal artists but reach out to other partners.

Campbell will step back from his current role as head of business development at Universal while Cameron Farrelly will be the executive creative director, having spent the past year in that role for Universal Music Group in Australia. Host and One Green Bean founder, Anthony Freedman, will also be involved in leading the new agency.

roddy campbell anthony freedman cameron farrelly

Management team: Roddy Campbell, Anthony Freedman and Cameron Farrelly

Discussions about launching the agency started in the middle of 2015, with Campbell telling Mumbrella: “We had staffed up our own resources over the years but to become a full-service agency and become a credible resource for brands you go and buy your own agency or develop what we think is a smart structure with these agencies.

“It’s a very scalable operation and we wanted to have something that was capable of activating a huge brief from day one, but we didn’t want to spend millions of dollars to get to that point.”

Both Campbell and Freedman declined to go into the specifics of the deal other than to describe it as a “partnership”, although the companies have a loose relationship already with marketing holding group, Havas, having a large stake in Freedman’s agencies, while Havas’ main shareholder, Bolloré Group, is the main shareholder in Vivendi, Universal’s parent company.

Freedman has a track record of launching successful agencies which innovate the existing industry model, launching Host in 2000 and One Green Bean in 2007.

Asked why he had chosen Universal as a partner, Freedman told Mumbrella: “When I think about the entertainment space there was a feeling there’s an opportunity for a company that creates culture and is immersed in popular culture.

“So having a partner in the creation of an agency like Universal gives you a level of access that would be very difficult for an agency to achieve on its own.”

Creative in Residence: Lady Gaga

Creative in Residence: Lady Gaga

Both Freedman and Campbell stressed they would be looking beyond Universal’s artists to the wider group, which includes talent management and Universal Pictures, for more creative people to partner with.

Bring will look to pair up artists and influencers with brands through a ‘Creative In Residence’ program, giving brands “privileged access” to high profile talent including Lady Gaga, Ellie Goulding, boxing icon Mike Tyson, Instagramer @hellomissmay and actors Kevin Hart and Ice Cube as well as local artists.

Universal’s in-house creative team currently works with agencies and brands, and Campbell said while they would be focusing more on working directly with clients there was still scope for partnerships with other agencies.

“It’s a versatile operation and we work with agencies at the moment and we don’t really want that to end, so although we have the ability to do all these other things ourselves there’s important relationships there for us, especially with media agencies,” he added.

Welcome To Bring from Bring on Vimeo.

Campbell pointed to the recent success of agencies such as Special Group and Emotive in pitching in ideas to clients as examples of how smaller outfits can work with big brands.

He added: “There’s great examples of agencies popping up and stealing a campaign and getting a chance, and there’s brands being a bit more willing to take risk on content led campaigns rather than reach-led campaigns.”

Influencers will also be part of the offering, and One Green Bean’s recently-launched measurement tool, Crowd Atlas, will be used by Bring.

Freedman described the challenges brands were facing as “how to persuade people to spend time with them” when people have more access to different content.

“If that’s the challenge for brands now then finding interesting ways to entertain people or provide utility whilst communicating something pertinent about a brand is a very important capability,” said Freedman.

Both men said the agency was already working with clients but declined to be drawn on who they were.

Bring will launch initially in Australia and quickly scale to New Zealand; however, Campbell is coy on the chances of it going global.

Alex Hayes



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