Retail agency Rhubarb launches with The Rebel Group as first client

Former BMF creative Helen Cowley has launched retail agency Rhubarb Advertising with The Rebel Group as its foundation client, Mumbrella can reveal.

The sporting goods retailer has moved its strategic and creative business from inhouse to Cowley’s start-up, with new TV, radio and catalogue work to launch in the next fortnight for the company’s Autumn Winter apparel campaign. The rebel Group’s brands include Rebel Sport and Amart.

Cowley, who worked at BMF for eight years before finding herself leaving in December, said that there was a gap in the market for a good specialist retail agency.  

Retail advertising is guilty of “the sledgehammer approach”, said Cowley, who is the agency’s founder and creative director, leading an initial team of three plus contractors.

She said: “Australian consumers do not need to be shouted at. There are neater and cleverer ways of saying you’ve got a sale on.”

Cowley’s campaigns at BMF include Aldi’s ‘smart shopping’, P&O’s ”biggest cruise sale’, OPSM ‘eyehub’ and Budget eyewear ‘Get the designer looks’.

She has also worked at agencies including George Patterson, and BMP Needham and Bates Dorland in the UK.

Among competing retail agencies, Cowley will find herself up against the likes of IdeaWorks. She said: “There aren’t many of us around at the moment, because no one wants to do retail. It’s considered cheap and dirty.”

“The biggest problem for retailers is that they’re not properly looked after by their agencies.”

Rory Scott, GM of advertising and merchandising at The Rebel Group said: “After working with Rhubarb on a couple of projects and seeing the standard of work they delivered, we felt they really understood our business. We wanted a mix of experience and fresh thinking.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.