Lucky Generals is launching its first offshoot via new holding company Lucky Enterprises, a sports marketing agency called Dark Horses.
Dark Horses will be headed by former BBH Sport business director Simon Dent, a qualified lawyer who worked as a sports agent before joining BBH. Dent, who will own a stake in the business, says: “I’m delighted to be joining the Lucky Enterprises family and building a sports marketing agency that’s fit for the new world. Modern sports fans demand to be entertained and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”
Lucky Generals partner Andy Nairn says: “Sports marketing is a growing sector and one which should be inherently exciting. But all too often, the creative product off the park isn’t as strong as the one on the pitch. We think it’s ripe for a completely new approach.”
On the face of it BBH Sport, which includes former England rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio, has been a success although it seems heavily dependent on Samsung. It’s always a big step for an agency like Lucky Generals to branch out; in its three years of existence it’s established itself as arguably the stand-out among London’s new wave of independent agencies but accomplished ad folk aren’t always as adept at running other businesses.
Some sports entities, especially Premier League football clubs, are awash with cash on the back of TV money but can be a nightmare to deal with, being run in the main by colourful self-made types as at West Ham or Newcastle (currently languishing in the Championship) or overseas owners who often turn out not to be as rich or trustworthy as their publicity claims.
Lucky Generals has, so far, navigated start-up pitfalls deftly enough. Explaining the merits of greater creativity, Dark Horses’ proposed USP, to the likes of, say, Newcastle’s Mike Ashley will be an interesting challenge.