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Our Digital Account Executive and very first hire at AND THE NEW, Sam Compton, has been a core part of the agency since the very beginning. Now celebrating his one-year anniversary with us, Sam reflects on an eventful 12 months.

The floor is yours, Sam...

To think it’s already been one year since I walked through the doors at AND THE NEW is crazy to me. This time last year, I'd just left my corporate job to go meet Dan and Ryan in a hotel lobby, having bought into their ambitions of becoming the go-to agency in the worlds of sports, entertainment and gaming. I was employee number one, which was exciting, but also brought its fair share of trepidation!

Back then, the three of us would meet in London a few times a week while I got up to speed with some of our founding clients in Ninjas in Pyjamas and HEET Gaming. In the matter of just weeks, I'd gone from no agency experience to plotting filming days and social media campaigns for events such as the PGL Major in Stockholm - tournaments I'd previously simply watched and marvelled at. That first feeling of seeing something go live to the world that I'd been a part of was the moment I knew I was now doing something I was invested in.

Since then, it's still mad to comprehend the growth. We've gone from a trio lunching in Burger & Lobster to a double-figure client count, a first office (where 95% of the furniture was assembled by yours truly! The other 5% is the stuff that broke… #NotNamingNames) and almost 15 staff having bought into this journey with me. It's been some ride so far!

With that in mind, here’s a selection the best – and worst (for healthy measure) – moments from my first year at AND THE NEW...

Best Moment

Creating award-winning campaigns with the biggest (and best) football club in the world – Aston Villa!

I’ve been going to Villa Park since I was four years old, so to get a chance to work with the club on multiple occasions was a dream come true.

For this, we were tasked with engaging their Gen Z audience and creating a modern, yet relevant twist on the club's historic 1982 European Cup winning achievement in the period of its 40th anniversary.

Hence, #WeEvenConqueredEurope was born, and with it, the campaign took two directions:

1) The first was an Instagram lens made up of iconic collectable cards from the 1982 final, which re-characterised objects from the time such as Aston Villa shirts, winners' medals, match tickets and, of course, the European Cup itself. Integrated into a gamified, roulette-style spinning wheel mechanic and designed using stylistic 3D texturing, users were incentivised to land on the golden card - the 1982 European Cup Final shirt - that then entered them into a competition for 2022/23 season tickets.

2) To bring the campaign to life on TikTok, we collated a host of archive footage from Aston Villa's 1982 European Cup run, and gave it a makeover, implementing motion effects and bespoke illustration to bring historic scenes into a modern era. Who knew merging Peter Withe and classic Super Mario gaming nods would prove so engaging?!

The fact that our 40-year anniversary campaign built to celebrate their European Cup win won a Gold Award at the 2022 Dott Comm Awards for the Best Use of Instagram was the icing on the cake!

Coolest Experience

Spending an afternoon on set filming at a working blacksmiths forge in the heart of London is certainly something I didn’t anticipate one year ago!

It was an awesome experience and we created – in my opinion – one of the coolest rebrand videos I’ve ever seen for one of our core esports and gaming clients, HEET.

A significant part of my week revolves around driving their growth as an organisation from a content and digital audience perspective. We've really started to build a community of loyal fans with them and, therefore, knew this is an creative concept that would fly.

From rebranding the team, to building stories that bring out the personalities of the players and engaging the community across social channels, we've got through a lot in 12 months. I’m really proud of what we’ve helped - and continue to - build!

Biggest Learning moving from corporate to agency

‘Agility’ is a buzzword in a corporate role that makes them sound forward thinking – but it is an absolute necessity in agency life. There’s always another plate to spin, it’s what makes it so fun!

Just the other week I found myself called up as a super-sub for our campaign launch shoot with new client British Basketball League - not what I was expecting when my head hit the pillow the previous evening.

However, with aforementioned filming and production planning now a big part of my role, it was much easier to adapt to. We had a great time on set with some of the BBL's finest players, and I could sit back and watch the campaign hero trailer on Sky Sports throughout launch week with a huge feeling of satisfaction - before getting a few hours' sleep back, of course.

Highest 3-Dart Score

131 – still an office record FYI. Come and see us if you think you can top it!

Worst Part of working for AND THE NEW

Yep, I'm going there! A bemusing obsession with the worst pub in Holborn!

I won't name any names, but it's a dark and dingy old place with average beer, yet everyone can’t seem to get enough of it. For sure, a lot of that is fuelled by my very public dislike of it, though.

That said, if that's the worst thing about a rollercoaster first year, I guess I can live with it! I’ve learned so much and there's a lot of exciting things on the horizon. Here’s to year two!


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