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Joi Polloi acquired by Four Communications Group

This international agency plans to create a North of England hub based in Sheffield.

One of Sheffield’s long established creative technology studios, Joi Polloi has been acquired by London-based independent integrated agency Four Communications Group (Four). With a stellar list of clients including Channel 4, BBC, Sky, Natural History Museum, NASA and the Science Museum Group, award-winning Joi Polloi will add heavyweight expertise and capabilities in digital storytelling, new and emerging technologies and creative design & development to Four’s existing digital offering.

Joi Polloi is known for breaking new ground in the creative and digital space and has picked up accolades from BAFTA, Royal Television Society, DA&D, Drum Roses Awards and the International EMMY Awards to name but a few. The team of 15 people will strengthen Four’s digital & creative teams in London, Cardiff and Dubai which already numbers 80 working across paid media, performance, social analytics & engagement and digital marketing.

Paul Dalton-Borge, chief executive, digital & creative comments: “We have been blown away by the creativity and calibre of work from the Joi Polloi team and we have already been working together for some time. Welcoming them officially as part of the Four family is very exciting and will take our work in creative and emerging technologies to the next level.”

Four will also be using Joi Polloi’s base in Sheffield to launch its north of England hub, Four North. This will see the addition of talent in a wide range of services from media planning & buying to communications in the region for Four.

Explaining this move, group managing director, Einir Williams added: “With the emphasis on the levelling up agenda, we can see lots of opportunity for our public sector work in the north of England. We feel it’s important to add expertise on the ground to complement our London and Wales offices. There are also private sector opportunities. Clients in some areas such as property and health are very enthusiastic about the new office.

“We’re also keen to tap into the talent pool outside London. Our fully flexible working policy means that people have more options about where they can be based.”

Founded by Andy Barratt in 2002, Joi Polloi quickly established itself as an independent creative technology studio working with celebrated brands, both globally as well as in the UK. They have a core of clients in three main sectors – broadcast and entertainment, museums and heritage and brands and retail. Work for these clients focuses on three main areas of expertise – expanding client products, services and formats into new and emerging technologies; driving engagement through interactive campaigns, products and installations to connect with audiences more deeply; and bespoke production and operational software solutions including SAAS and Ecommerce.

Andy Barratt, owner, managing director and creative director will become Four’s first chief digital creative officer and will ensure clients across the group benefit from collective creative expertise in everything from emerging technologies & channels to multi-platform campaigns. He will be joined by technical director, Russell Stearman; delivery director, Jason Devoy; and head of design, James Briggs; as well as a talented team of digital producers, designers, project co-ordinators and developers.

Andy comments: “Building on Joi Polloi’s already solid reputation for reaching and engaging audiences through innovative ideas and new and emerging technologies, we are all thrilled and excited to be joining Four and its platform to take our skills and expertise to the next level both in the UK and internationally. There are some areas of the business like media planning & buying and performance marketing where we want to start building a Sheffield-based team pretty much immediately. Others such as communications services will begin in the coming months as opportunities arise. We see massive potential in tapping into the creative talent in Sheffield.”

The acquisition is the 11th since Four successfully secured a £10m investment of equity finance from BGF (Business Growth Fund) in 2015 and its 15th acquisition overall. In the last year, Four acquired London-based digital agency Marmelo and Cardiff-based creative agency Cheeky Monkey. Following its power of together philosophy, the agency has a strong track record of strategic acquisition and integration of specialist agencies to bring new services and expertise to its impressive roster of clients.