NEWS26 September 2011

Essential deal adds ‘challenger brand’ to SPA line-up


UK— SPA Future Thinking CEO Jon Priest has described Essential Research, the company’s latest acquisition, as “a challenger brand”, bringing some youthful exuberance to the group’s offering.

Priest says the seven-year-old firm is “young and fresh” with an “edgy and exciting” feel to it – “kind of like SPA was after being in business for five years”.

“It’s difficult to maintain that when you have a £20m turnover,” Priest said, “so Essential give us that position in the market that we’ve vacated – that’s why we’re keeping them separate.

“As a metaphor it’s a bit like HSBC and First Direct. If SPA is HSBC then Essential is the First Direct challenger brand within us.”

Essential Research is based in Chelsea and will continue to be headed by one of its three founding partners, Luca Antilli, as managing director. Of the other two founders, Stuart Knapman has been given the role of senior director within SPA Future Thinking but will retain an interest in Essential, while Alex Charlton will leave the company.

The acquisition was SPA Future Thinking’s second deal of the year following the purchase of Munro Group in April. Priest says the company is continuing with its “buy to build” strategy, which is now into its second year.



13 years ago

One has to ask, though, whether this is really the best approach for SPA - other agencies have still managed to maintain a 'young and fresh' feel even as they've continued to trade. SPA seemed to have lost that sparkle around 4-5 years ago, but really these buys aren't guaranteed to help it regain it.

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13 years ago


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