Creative agency formed by BBC breakout is on the move

The Meanwhile team with Bez

A Manchester start-up ad agency formed by the ex-creative team at the BBC is to expand into a new studio as part of a growing creative campus at Salford Quays.

Meanwhile, which has completed creative campaigns for Iceland, Chester Zoo and is behind the current TravelSupermarket campaign featuring “Barry from Eastenders” claims it has bucked a London-dominated trend, by becoming one of the fastest growing agencies in the UK. 

Founder director James Cross, who left BBC Creative, the in-house ad agency of the BBC to start Meanwhile, said: “It’s a rarity outside of London that an agency is considered alongside the best businesses from London.

“We want to be able to give the North West access to the level of creativity they may consider unavailable locally, we’re not defined by our location whatsoever, and as a result attract talent from all over the country,” he said.

Cross started Meanwhile during the pandemic with BBC Creative colleague Tim Jones and experienced agency leader Al Marchant, who Cross describes as “a proper business person”. Marchant spent nine years at Big Communications and eight at Birmingham agency Chapter.

The new studio space, close to Harbour City Metrolink station, is being rented from creative production company Chief Productions. “It’s one of the few spaces in MediaCity not owned by Peel Holdings,” said Cross.

TravelSupermarket campaign featuring “Barry”

The businesses recently collaborated on Meanwhile’s campaign for TravelSupermarket called: ‘A Supermarket. For Travel. Obviously’. The advert was directed by Chris Cottam through Chief

“Our approach is to look at what everyone else is doing and do the complete opposite of that,” he told

“We like being here. We’re adopted Mancs,” said Cross, who shared a photo of the founding trio in their studio with Bez from the Happy Mondays.