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Opinion and Insight

Meet The Agency Who Approached The Ad Model Digital-First and Changed Irish Advertising

Effectiveness is effortless for In the Company of Huskies, the most awarded digital agency in Ireland

Meet The Agency Who Approached The Ad Model Digital-First and Changed Irish Advertising

There’s no denying that digital is significantly disrupting the advertising and marketing industries. The way we connect, communicate and consume has changed forever. In this connected landscape, the balance of power in the brand-consumer relationship is increasingly weighted towards the consumer.  As a result, our expectations, experiences and engagement with brands are transforming – brands now recognise that they need to play an active role in people’s lives across multiple touch-points and to do so they need a trusted partner to help them navigate the complexity.

The marriage of creativity and data is not a new agency response to the challenges faced by brands today, but In the Company of Huskies approach is different. The Irish agency has a long-standing pedigree in digital and have over the last two decades experienced impressive growth and expansion acquiring a competitor agency and adding big brand creative firepower to build a ‘creative agency with a deep digital DNA bred to transform brands and businesses.’

At the heart of their success, the agency yields the ability to effectively combine data and creativity or they as they put it ‘magic and machines’ to unlock business growth and redefine the brand-consumer relationship. They do this for a host of national and International clients including Kerrygold, 1800 Tequila, Roe&Co, Nissan, Smurfit Kappa and Fáilte Ireland. 

As a result, they’ve racked up multiple awards including a remarkable seven ADFX 2018 nominations in recognition for its effectiveness of its work clients Nissan, Frank & Honest, Failte Ireland and St Vincent’s De Paul. It is the only Irish agency to be awarded Digital Agency of the Year six times by Digital Media Awards, and recent highlights include global recognition for its creative work on Nissan, Frank & Honest and Londis.  Over the years this has seen them go from strength to strength, winning an enviable client base of both domestic and international clients.



Deep Digital DNA
 
“Our digital expertise built over many years means we have a sustained and proven record of transforming business performance in digital comms. We have evolved and perfected our ability to combine data and creativity to develop solutions that deliver brand fame and performance for our clients." Says David Hayes, Director of Social, Search and Performance Media

For Nissan, Huskies targeted a younger audience in the bespoke Irish launch of the new Nissan Micra. The results were spectacular with its share of the small car segment growing from 5% to 10% making it the best performing market (and campaign) in Europe. 

Damian Hanley Creative Director at In the Company of Huskies explains: “Our campaign with Nissan would not have been possible without our Digital DNA and expertise that brought the brand’s experience across the customer journey. Today the average research timeline for a new car purchase can span months. Within that time, countless moments occur where consumers turn to their devices to answer a question or to address a need. In the past people used to visit a car dealership multiple times, now it’s often just once. The car showroom has moved online and in response, we know we have to capture their hearts and minds across the new consumer journey.”

Magic and Machines  

It has taken significant time to perfect the agency operating system to deliver the results. It hasn't been without its challenges however, it seems that Huskies have a distinct advantage having gone through the inevitable forming–storming–norming process. This has made for a truly different style of agency.

“The best work happens in the huddle - not in a single department,” says Allison Baker Planning Director at In the Company of Huskies. 

Whilst debate continues about the compatibility of data and creativity, Huskies believe their approach has perfected the marriage. From a ‘machines’ perspective, David says: “Digital technologies and data are providing us with greater intelligence, targeting, delivery and measurement capabilities but it also allows us to inform ideas which sharpen the team’s creative output.”

This is the foundation of great creative says Damian: “Some people think creatives don’t like data. That we turn our noses up at it. Or it ruins the creative spark. But great creatives like anything that provides them with an insight. We must “Interrogate the product until it speaks.” We live that at Huskies. Insight lies in the bowels of your client’s product – the interviews, the customers and in the data. Data is one of the most powerful tools of the interrogator.  It’s like hooking the product up to a lie detector test while sitting in an electric chair. It’ll tell you everything.”

Evolving from its digital roots, creativity is now an agency-wide vision in the company’s ethos, driving all insights, knowledge and skills. “Just as it takes the whole village to raise a child, it takes a whole agency to raise an idea! Huskies have combined many different skills and knowledge across a wide spectrum.  We have an open culture where the idea is king rather than any one individual or department. We believe we are the agency every client wishes for – one that solves problems in the most relevant way possible” says Damian.


Letting the Product Speak 

Whilst recently partnering with supermarket chain Londis, In the Company of Huskies crafted a campaign that truly showcases the cohesion of their magic and machines mantra. 

They took raw sales data and transformed into a creative idea, winning three ICADs (Institute of Creative Advertising and Design Awards), this summer. 

Damian says “Our analytics team mined the sales data of every store over the last year. Going through the data was actually great fun, which I never thought I’d say! The results were fascinating. Finding out that Kilkenny spends more on their dogs than cats, Carlow buys most curry powder and indigestion tablets. Longford buys the most Marmalade, but the least bread. Which made us wonder, ‘what do they do with it?’”


From the data insight, In the Company of Huskies created an interactive map of Ireland, social posts and award-winning TV ads.


A Tech & Creative Capital?

Looking to the future of the agency, Damian says that creativity remains top of the agenda to sustain success. “The future of Huskies and its clients will always be secure as long as we keep creativity at the top of what we offer. Not creativity that’s narrow in focus, or the preserve of one department. It requires the combination of knowledge, insights and digital DNA across the agency.  Everyone is involved in creativity because that is what an agency produces” he says. 

With regards to the industry as a whole, David is optimistic about Ireland’s prospects as Europe’s tech and creative capital. He says: “The country is perfectly placed as an international player given the rich pool of talent, agency mix, tech companies and of course the opportunities that Brexit offers the industry. Ireland is an excellent location to be based from an international perspective and we’re excited to be in this market at this time. Dublin is perfectly placed to become a leading creative hub in Europe!”




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Genre: Digital , People , Strategy/Insight