Otherway acquisition

Otherway on being acquired

Following creative agency Otherway’s acquisition by Common Interest, founder Jono Holt discusses what it means for the company’s future and what he’s learned along the way

Otherway was founded in 2013 by Jono Holt, along with partners Ben Lewin and Stu Finlayson, who first met while working together at Karmarama. Over the last decade, the creative agency has built a team of over 50 people across offices in London and San Francisco; helped launch brand success stories including Butternut Box and Lucky Saint; and developed long-term relationships with household names like Heineken and Fortnum & Mason.

The latest chapter in the Otherway story was recently revealed with the announcement of its acquisition by Common Interest, the holding company founded by former Havas Australia and New Zealand chairman Anthony Freedman. While the agency was staunchly independent from the outset, Holt tells CR that they had become increasingly inspired by the startup and scale-up businesses they were working with on a daily basis. “It’s very uncommon to find a brand that’s growing really fast that hasn’t taken advantage of investment and partnerships. Our view is, why don’t we think in similar terms as these guys?”

The agency’s tenth anniversary last year provided an apt moment to reflect on what the next decade of Otherway would look like, but following several conversations with agency networks and private equity firms, neither route felt quite right. “We’ve positioned ourselves against the traditional way of doing things for the last 11 years, so it felt slightly disingenuous to then turn around and be like, now we’re selling to a network. And then we entertained the idea of taking on investment and building out Otherway to the next stage but after a few conversations we just didn’t feel like we’d found much alignment to that type of strategy,” he says.

Top: Strongbow rebrand; Above: BaseHall Hong Kong identity. All images courtesy Otherway