Agency roundup: Aubergine; DA Creative Studio; Forward & Thinking; and more

Leeds agency, Aubergine, has been appointed by East London sustainable coffee roastery Volcano Coffee Works and Assembly Coffee to manage their press offices in 2022.

Aubergine will be focusing on a programme of product placement, sampling activity, influencer support and thought leadership in the New Year to gain further traction in the media.

Michael Cleland, co-founder and head of marketing of Assembly Coffee, said: “We appointed Aubergine because of their unparalleled expertise in the food and drink industry.

“We’ve been very impressed with their work so far – they’re clearly passionate about what they do and being former journalists, they have a unique behind the scenes view of how the media operates.

“We’re very excited to be working with them in 2022 to further raise the profile of Assembly Coffee and Volcano Coffee Works.”

Aubergine director and co-founder, Emma Gardner, added: “Assembly and Volcano Coffee Works are brands which align with our wheelhouse of expertise; drink and sustainability.

“There are so many interesting talking points in the world of coffee and with such a high quality product and bank of knowledge behind them, journalists are eager to hear what their team has to say. They’re the dream client to have on our books.”

Aubergine, founded by former BBC and Channel 4 News journalist Emma Gardner and PR practitioner, Verity Clarke, has extensive food, drink and sustainability credentials.

Previous campaigns have been for B Corp Dr Will’s, Organic Trade Board and sustainable cleaning products brand If You Care.


DA Creative Studio, a brand agency with offices in Hull and London, is investing in new talent with the launch of its new apprentice training arm – DAcademy.

The agency has enjoyed continuous growth over the last 12 months, with a number of new hires.

DAcademy aims to onboard and train six young people over it’s first 12 months. Trainees will be based in the agency’s Yorkshire studio, which recently added a large indoor garden space as a relaxing environment for new recruits to work collaboratively.

Calvin Innes, creative director at DA, said: “Training and developing young talent has always been at the heart of the agency.

“We’ve never been interested in looking at degrees and qualification when searching for talented creatives, it’s about passion, drive and imagination.

“We can teach technical skills, but that natural creativity and inquisitiveness is something you’re born with.”

DAcademy, which will be led by Coby Taylor and Mike Kemp, is expected to create additional opportunities at the agency’s new London base within 12 months.

It also has plans to expand to a third location in the second half of 2022, with the agency currently looking at Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh as possible locations.


Jo Costello

Forward & Thinking, (F&T) a specialist education marketing agency based in Market Weighton, has won new clients and contracts and appointed a business development director.

The agency works with a large number of colleges and universities. Its team has recently expanded and now boasts a combined experience of more than 100 years in the advertising industry.

In addition to recent hires, the agency has internally promoted Jo Costello.

She joined F&T in 2015 and started out as an account manager, before becoming senior account manager and latterly business development manager.

Costello said: “Having joined Forward & Thinking following a career in media sales I immediately knew I had landed a special role.

“My career has continued to develop, and in my six years working for Alison and Andrew – joint owners and directors – I have benefited from so many opportunities.

“I enjoy working with college and university clients up and down the country and can’t wait to evolve my role further as the newly appointed business development director.”


Emma Harvey

Leeds-based full-service digital agency AKYO Digital has made six new appointments following multiple client wins throughout the last quarter.

As part of the agency’s expansion, Emma Harvey joins as HR administrator, bringing with her over three years experience.

She will be focusing on employee relations, engagement and support, working closely with the team and the board as the client base continues to grow.

Other new hires within the agency include five developers, growing the development department further to accommodate for the increase in upcoming projects.

Steven Morris, co-founder, said: “We’re excited and privileged to be able to create new opportunities and to see our team grow on the back of a strong year for AYKO.

“We’re also very pleased to introduce a further focus on employee relations, wellbeing and improving our process with the arrival of Emma.

“We’ve seen extraordinary growth across the agency throughout the last quarter and are continuing to invest in both our team and overall offering to support this.”