London’s 18 Feet & Rising buys minority stake in Sydney hotshop Colman Rasic

Up and coming London agency 18 Feet & Rising (it has to be up and coming with a name like that) has bought a minority stake in Sydney creative shop Colman Rasic. CR partners Ben Colman, Dejan Rasic and Richard Purdy retain the majority. The agency will now be known as 18 Feet & Rising.

18 Feet & Rising CEO Jonathan Trimble says: “Technology has eclipsed the need for network capability. This acquisition isn’t about country presence or a Sydney office. It’s about access to the best talent the world has to offer.”

18 Feet & Rising was formed in 2010 by former Fallon London escapees Jonathan Trimble, Matt Keon and Tim Millar. Clients include Nationwide (the most high profile), National Trust, Selfridges and Virgin Media. The new agency’s Aussie clients include Coopers Premium Beverages, MTV Exit, Taylors Wines, News Life Media, Korean Tourism and BlackRock iShares.

Colman Rasic CEO Ben Colman (left) says “We are thrilled to be joining forces with 18 Feet & Rising. We share a common vision around what it takes to be the agency of record for the next decade. And the power of great work.”

It’s interesting that !8 Feet & Rising has accumulated enough cash (or borrowing capacity) in its short life to expand outside the UK, however modestly. Micro-networks have enjoyed mixed fortunes over the past couple of decades: Wieden+Kennedy has shown it can take on the big boys with half a dozen or so offices, so has Bartle Bogle Hegarty to a degree (it’s now wholly-owned by Publicis Groupe) although its New York office is currently downsizing rather too dramatically for comfort. Another UK agency Iris seems to expand one minute and retrench the next.

The key seems to be winning a big international account and then, more crucially, keeping it against the blandishments of the big marcoms groups.. W+K has had Nike from just about day one and now has Heineken, Brown-Forman and a growing chunk of Procter & Gamble. BBH has bits of Unilever, most notably Axe, but hasn’t been helped by the fact that Publicis Groupe, a 49 per cent shareholder until earlier this year, is rival P&G’s main agency,

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.