LONDON — Global policy, sustainability and advocacy consultancy Stonehaven has hired two advertising industry creatives, as part of plans to grow its global communications and campaigns offering.

Emily Rule (pictured, right), former head of planning at Wunderman Thompson London, has been appointed as creative strategy director, while creative and brand consultant Ant Jackson (left) joins as creative director.

Rule, who worked with Jackson at Wunderman Thompson, led one of the largest integrated planning departments in the UK, including as strategic lead for HSBC UK and HSBC Global. Before joining Wunderman Thompson in 2021, she spent two years as strategic lead at BBH London, working with clients including Weetabix and Audi, and has also been head of strategy at MullenLowe in South Africa and creative strategy lead at McGarryBowen and EP+Co for the likes of JC Penny, Verizon, Morgan Stanley and Puma in New York.

Jackson is best known for creating Lidl’s tagline ‘Big On Quality Lidl On Price’ at TBWA London. She has worked with brands including Bridgestone, the Olympic Games, IKEA, HSBC, Sotheby’s and UEFA, and sits on the board for industry LGBTQ+ champion Outvertising, as co-director of advocacy.

The duo will report into communications managing director James Ruane, and will work across Stonehaven’s London, Singapore, Australia, and Dubai network. They bring the headcount at the firm’s creative studio to six, within Stonehaven’s 100-strong team.

Ruane, who joined the firm in November last year from National Grid to lead its new global communications and campaigns offer, told PRovoke Media: “We’re a combined strategy and creative firm, working on sticky issues to drive system-led change, and bringing in Emily and Ant from adland and applying their formidable experience to an earned context is already working wonders on the impact of the ideas and strategy we’re creating to make things happen.

“I’ve always admired the strength of creative and strategy people in advertising and how this could be applied to communications; this model was always an ambition, and I’m glad we’ve found the right people to do it."

He added that the enhanced creative team complemented Stonehaven’s focus on data and analytics: “We’ve always had an amazing data and insights engine and that underpins everything we do, and we also have a behavioural and analysts arm, so have a deep understanding of the issues and audiences we’re trying to reach. We’re really investing in the communications and campaigning space – creativity is part of strategy, and if we’re going to effect change, we need to come up with more creative, bold and courageous thinking that cuts through complexity.”

Rule said: “Up until now, the change narrative has been largely communicated by scientists, politicians, and activist groups. And while they’ve been successful in engaging some audiences, arguably they haven’t been able to connect with the majority. Creativity could be the missing link. Stonehaven are already ahead of the game with their voter and consumer led thinking. By injecting more creativity into the mix, we just might have the power to get more people to care more deeply about these issues.”

Jackson added: “Over the past decade, it’s been brilliant to observe so many brands realise the influence they have in creating positive change. As a creative industry, we’ve come on leaps and bounds, with our skillsets no longer just driving sales, but also social movements of scale. Creativity is a very powerful tool, but when the world is still full of complex problems, we must question if we could be using this tool in a better way. By combining Stonehaven’s insight-led systems change expertise with the best of brand thinking and creativity, we can influence change much quicker.”

Stonehaven’s latest investment follows its recent expansion into the Asia Pacific region with the acquisition of Aeio, a corporate communications and sustainability advisory business; Aeio founder Ian Rumsby, the former Asia Pacific chief strategy officer at Weber Shandwick, was appointed as Asia Pacific managing partner in September last year. The firm also bought global sustainability firm Robertsbridge in 2021.

Ruane told PRovoke Media that Stonehaven planned to further build out its offer, and was “strategically focused on growth in the Asian market.”