The keen-eyed of you may have already clocked it, but we’ve got some news we’re pretty chuffed about. We’ve signed up as a founding member of The Constellation Collective.

What are we on about? Why should you care? Well, here’s the rundown.

Who are The Constellation Collective?

Good question; glad you asked.

Led by C-level executives with decades of creative, digital, marketing and finance expertise that are focused on delivering tailored support for high-potential businesses, The Constellation Collective is a ‘micro network’ of specialist independent creative, communications and technology companies. They bring together high-potential businesses and encourage them to join forces, collaborate and support each other to achieve their business dreams whilst retaining independence.

As the Collective’s managing partner, Simon, says:

“One star burns bright. A group of stars shines even brighter.” 

Nice. He’s committing to his brand.

Why are we joining?

We’ve known for a while now that we needed to strengthen our support network with some external voices; someone outside of the Storm & Shelter bubble to help us think more objectively and help grow the business.

In 2013, we set out as three inexperienced graduates with a hunger to make great creative work and, eight years on, sure, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far. But now we’re ready to seriously kick things up a gear.

The goal here is to enable Nick and me to be more strategic and for the network to help unlock more opportunities, provide counsel and expertise for our most critical challenges and opportunities, enhance our positioning and outreach, and drive “profitable growth at scale”. In other words, it’s time for Storm & Shelter to put on our big boy pants.

When Simon pitched his team of superstar advisors, I was sold; we’d be hard-pressed to find a more experienced and future-facing team to help take us on this ride.

But who are these mighty “c-level executives”, we hear you cry? And do they wear outrageously expensive suits, brandish multiple BlackBerries (RIP), and talk like Agent Smith from The Matrix? Not quite. Let’s take a look.

”We really must be focusing on shareholder value, Mr Anderson…”

Adrian Rossi

Adrian is one of the most decorated creative directors in the world. No, seriously; he was actually voted #1 Creative Director in the World at Cannes Lions. The architect of some of the most awarded and inspiring work globally, he’s won every top international creative honour several times over, including Cannes Lions, D&AD Yellow Pencils, Clios, New York Festival, BTAA, Creative Circle and Kinsale.

He began his career as an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1994, went on to become a creative director at BBH for over a decade and joined Glue Isobar, the digital agency, in 2010. As Executive Creative Director, he oversaw AMV:BBDO’s creative department with billings of £500 million and 500 staff, helping them become the second most awarded agency in the world at Cannes.

Adrian helped produce some of the most recognisable campaigns for companies like Sainsbury’s (remember the WW1 Christmas ad?), Snickers (“You’re not you when you’re hungry”) and Virgin Atlantic.

His work has been talked about in the House of Commons in front of two different prime ministers. One piece was talked about in the UN. Another is on permanent display at the Design Museum next to one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets. And one piece of work changed the law in a whole country. Need we go on? 

He understands better than anyone how powerful creative storytelling can be.

“The team at S&S have a unique perspective and have talent that is one-off. More than anything, they are the nicest folks around, so I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck in and helping them scale up.”

Adrian Rossi, Creative Partner
The Constellation Collective

N’aw, shucks 😊

Emily Somers

Emily is a genuine powerhouse of marketing and the current UK & Ireland marketing director for Deliveroo. 

Her previous jobs included managing director at Havas Worldwide London and Leo Burnett London’s client service director and head of account management, which included running the McDonald’s account, before jumping client-side to spend three years at McDonald’s as vice-president of marketing and food development, scooping a record haul of creative and effectiveness awards. A stint as the UK chief marketing officer of pizza giant Domino’s followed, successfully launching a new cross-platform campaign that delivered record Christmas period sales.

Emily’s experience of running enormous client marketing accounts, both agency- and client-side, is an invaluable resource of knowledge that’s second to none.

“This new world we find ourselves in presents more challenges to the advertising industry than we have ever seen before. Agencies, especially smaller, independent ones, can’t continue to do what they’ve always done and expect the same returns. A new approach is needed.”

Emily Somers, Marketing & Client Partner
The Constellation Collective

David Pugh-Jones

David has 25 years of experience as a brand advertising consultant and creative strategy architect, producing award-winning work for the likes of Intel, Microsoft, ASUS, Nissan, BMW, Nike, Paramount, Puma, Canon, HP…okay, we’ll stop now.

He spent a decade at Microsoft as their Global Creative Strategy Director (in part, leading the team that built MSN Messenger—on which I spent the majority of my teenage years—so a big shout out for that 👌) before heading to BuzzFeed as the Director of Brand Strategy for Europe, where he built out their first video content team. He also supports and advises the global advertising industry as a board member of the International Advertising Association.

David has extensive experience in digital transformation with a specialism in blockchain technology and is currently chief marketing officer at CUDOS, a decentralised cloud computing network that empowers people and organisations to earn and save through cheaper, accessible, and sustainable computing. 

In other words, he’s a massive nerd, and we adore massive nerds.

David Pugh-Jones, Adrian Rossi and Emily Somers
David Pugh-Jones (left), Adrian Rossi (centre) and Emily Somers (right)

Simon Thurston

The Constellation Collective is Simon’s brainchild, and as managing partner, he’s at the helm and makes sure that the network operates with the full force and energy of a business supernova, if you will.

With more than 20 years in marketing, business development and content creation to his name, he’s operated both agency- and client-side in Europe and the Middle East. He’s worked across 15 different industries and one of his last hurrahs in adland was with Dubai’s Impact BBDO, where he helped deliver increased awareness and engagement for Dubai Tourism across 10 global markets.

“We’re delighted to be working with Gruff, Nick and the rest of the highly talented Storm & Shelter team. Like us, they have ambitious plans for the future and these are unquestionably exciting and opportune times in the content production space.”

Simon Thurston, Managing Partner
The Constellation Collective

Aw, thanks mate. Let’s just say the stars aligned…

Let’s go!

Clearly, these people really know their stuff, and they all agreed that we were worth their time and effort to push us to do bigger and better things. Can I get a HELL YEAH?

We’re super excited to kick off 2022 with this partnership and can’t wait to see where it takes the company. Watch this…space. Heh.

About the author

As Managing Director of Storm & Shelter, Gruff has the ultimate responsibility for the company’s performance, overseeing the Production Director and Creative Director to ensure continuous development of company processes and policies, gearing the company towards growth and profitability. Sounds a bit grown up, doesn’t it?

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Gruff Vaughan