Warner Music just sent ripples through the boardrooms of the UK advertising industry.
In his first major move since being named Warner’s global recorded music boss, Max Lousada has poached Chris Bovill and John Allison from 4Creative – the in-house agency at UK TV network Channel 4.
They will join Warner’s London HQ in late summer to lead ‘The Firepit’ – which encompasses a creative content division, innovation lab and state of the art recording studio.
Make no mistake: Bovill and Allison (pictured) are highly prized amongst the upper echelons of the creative advertising world.
In their five years at 4Creative, the executive duo won three highly-coveted D&AD Black Pencil awards, in addition to Campaign’s Campaign of the Year (2016) and Advertiser of the Year (2015) gongs.
Bovill and Allison’s rebrand of Channel 4’s idents is now shown in the British Design Museum – while their ‘Yes I Can’ Paralympics campaign (see below) forms part of the national curriculum in UK schools and has been adopted by the U.N. for its worldwide disability awareness initiative.
They were also responsible for the BAFTA-winning ‘Humans’ campaign.
So why, in traditional terms, is a ‘record company’ like Warner Music UK splashing out to hire expert ‘TV ad execs’?
Because media is increasingly converging online – and Max Lousada sees a big opportunity to directly generate branded video content with Warner artists, rather than relying on third-party agencies.
In other words, for Warner Music UK to become much more than a ‘record company’.
Lousada – who will continue to run Warner Music UK in addition to his new global responsibilities – said, “In an always-on world, compelling narratives around music, artists and popular culture have never been more sought after and, having been at the forefront of entertainment for 70 years, Warner Music is uniquely placed to unlock them.”
So we can expect to see Warner Music UK artists – which include the likes of Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Gorillaz, Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie and Liam Gallagher – start taking advantage of Bovill and Allison’s talents… all in combination with third-party commercial partners.
“Chris and John are among the most celebrated creatives of their generation. Their fresh, bold and inventive perspective has helped redefine some of the world’s best-loved brands, while Brian has played an important role in the growth of VICE, one of today’s most pioneering media companies.”
Max Lousada, Warner Music
Prior to Channel 4, Bovill and Allison worked at advertising agencies Fallon and TBWA London, making multiple-award winning work for brands from Cadbury to Skoda.
In conjunction with their hiring, Warner’s The Firepit is also welcoming Brian Murnin as SVP, Business Development.
Another new media expert, Murnin (pictured inset) was previously VP, Business Development, VICE Media, will devise and implement the commercial and distribution strategy around The Firepit‘s content output.
Added Lousada: “Chris and John are among the most celebrated creatives of their generation. Their fresh, bold and inventive perspective has helped redefine some of the world’s best-loved brands, while Brian has played an important role in the growth of VICE, one of today’s most pioneering media companies.
“Together, they make an incredibly dynamic team that will accelerate our growth into this exciting space.”
To get a sense of how well-regarded Bovill and Allison are in UK advertising circles, you only need glance at the latest coverage from ad industry trade title Campaign.
In an op/ed analysing the departure of these ‘creative superstars’ from 4Creative, Campaign Global Editor-in-Chief Claire Beale writes:
“This pair deliver Superhuman creative results. Hotter than shit, they could get a job pretty much anywhere in advertising now.
“This pair deliver Superhuman creative results. Hotter than shit, they could get a job pretty much anywhere in advertising now.”
Claire Beale, Campaign
“But they don’t want a job in advertising. Advertising should have a think about that.
“Do the world’s best commercial creatives still see ad agencies as the most exciting, rewarding, encouraging, inspiring places to work? I’m not so sure.”
It appears Max Lousada, for one, agrees with her.Music Business Worldwide