There has always been a fair sprinkling of comedians in UK advertising agencies — some making comedy a distinct element of their professional persona and others blissfully unaware of their allocated comic status — but Hugh Dennis must be the first pro comedian to set up a proper advertising agency.
Dennis, who stars as the Dad in the current BBC hit show Outnumbered, is aiming the agency exclusively at charities and not-for-profit organisations.
He’s joined forces with Dean Hodgetts, who’s also the founder and MD of marketing agency Alchemy, and Andy Wakefield, who has done plenty of work for charities such as National Children’s Homes and Cancer Research UK over the years.
What’s more, The Help Agency, as it is to be called, will share its profits with the clients in the form of donations at the end of each financial year.
The industry is used to comic stars setting up production companies, with maybe Talkback’s Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones the most successful examples, but looking at Dennis’s background this new initiative may not be as strange as it first seems.
After all he notched up six years at Unilever following his student years at Cambridge, working on brands such as Lynx and Mentadent, before moving on to more amusing pursuits.
No doubt after the initial excitement, clients will react just like they do to any agency. But instead of moaning “Can’t you make the logo bigger” they’ll be telling Dennis the ad isn’t funny enough and trying to insert a few homemade jokes into the script.