Maja Pawinska Sims 27 Sep 2022 // 3:00PM GMT
LONDON — WE Communications has acquired social impact and behaviour change agency Hopscotch Consulting for an undisclosed sum, to strengthen its capabilities in advising brands on social and economic issues, brand reputation and responsible governance.
The acquisition of the 12-year-old London-based agency – which will continue to operate under its own P&L as ‘Hopscotch, a WE Communications Company’ – will also extend WE’s offer to engaging young people and youth audiences, as well as developing educational programmes in areas such as employability and skills development, social mobility, climate change and public health, and working with government groups and the NHS.
Hopscotch co-founders Sam Mercer (pictured, second right) and Julie Noble (second left) will continue to lead the company during the earn-out period and will report into WE’s UK managing director Ruth Allchurch (right), alongside existing Hopscotch managing director Marcus Hernon and deputy MD Tiffany Barwick.
Mercer said: “Hopscotch are incredibly excited to be joining WE Communications to continue driving positive change for the next generation. Joining WE will enable Hopscotch to expand the reach of our social impact and brand purpose services globally, working with global education, tech, consumer and health brands. Our shared values and fierce independence make our partnership a natural fit.”
The addition of the 22-strong agency brings WE’s total headcount in the UK to 88. Allchurch said Hopscotch complemented WE’s existing scientific engagement and health practice led by Ben Fisher, which it set up in 2020, as well as the corporate reputation and brand purpose practice, led in the UK by Kemi Akindele, who joined from Freuds in December last year.
The two agencies have worked together on joint projects for some time; Hopscotch will maintain its own client portfolio as well as continuing to work with WE on new business and joint client work in the corporate, consumer brand, healthcare and technology sectors. There are no client conflicts and will be no redundancies as a result of the deal.
Allchurch told PRovoke Media: “The acquisition has been a long time coming. We’ve had a relationship with Hopscotch since I started at WE in 2018 and have worked together on many clients and new business wins like Lego Education, but it became clear that it was a fantastic fit on so many levels: like us, Hopscotch is female-founded, has been fiercely independent, and our values are very similar.
“The UK is also a very competitive market when it comes to corporate reputation and brand purpose and we’re committed to offering clients the best consultancy, so I’m very excited to be teaming up with one of the UK’s best social impact and behaviour change agencies, with an amazing client roster and great talent.”
Allchurch said she would “never say never” about further acquisitions, particularly given growing interest from clients in digital and corporate communications, but said: “It had to be the right people at the right time and it feels like the stars are aligned. Hopscotch are profitable and growing and that was important to WE, as one of the fastest-growing agencies in the UK. They have sustainable clients and revenue, and together we will go on to be even bigger and better.”
WE’s chief operating officer and international president Kass Sells (pictured, left) said of the deal: “WE and Hopscotch have long shared a people-first mindset and a clear perspective on how communications can move people to positive action, deliver societal value and impact. With this acquisition, we’re able to offer clients a significantly enhanced opportunity to drive influence across the corporate reputation, ESG and CSR landscapes, to connect with younger audiences and to establish effective education programmes, ensuring that we stand out in an increasingly competitive space.”