Sachini Imbuldeniya, former ECD of content agency Nemorin (the branded content arm of TV Production Group Argonon), has joined forces with her creative partner Darren Smith, former CCO of Nemorin, to launch a new full-service content agency based in London, House of Oddities.
Imbuldeniya joins as Chief Executive Officer and Smith as Chief Creative Officer.
HOO says it will “bring brands to television in a way which eases the budget constraints faced by most commissioners without compromising on show quality or editorial independence” and that “as well as building compelling TV shows for both commissioners and clients, HOO can craft all that juicy bonus content that surrounds a show and drives bigger audiences – and build the right strategy to make sure every chunky bite of content delivers a shitload of bang per buck.”
Before launching HOO, Imbuldeniya and Smith were the senior leadership team at Nemorin as part of Superindie Argonon. Prior to this the creative duo were at the helm of content agency Bridge Studio at News UK for almost a decade, winning multiple industry awards including Campaign’s ‘Content Agency of the Year’ and working with clients including Gucci, British Airways, Google, Volvo, Kia Motors, Samsung, Tesco, Christian Louboutin, Snapchat, and Macmillan Cancer Research, before working on separate projects for the last year. They have worked in TV both in digital/VOD and linear programming, delivering branded content ideas for Sky, Disney+, NBC Universal, Warner Discovery, Hulu, Channel 4, ITV, Amazon and National Geographic.
The pair say that HOO will work as a full-service content agency that can “develop programme ideas that meet the needs of commissioners. It can then create the full ‘ecosystem’ of content around these shows that is owned by brands and makes sure they reap the benefits the show itself. And it can do all this for a much lower cost than reaching out to separate content, digital, creative or production agencies too.”
Sachini Imbuldeniya, Chief Executive Officer, HOO, said: “I’ve worked with brands to help them break into long-form video content and TV programming, and it’s frustrating just how closed-off that world can be. Brands have moved on from the old days of expecting a half-hour show to be a long puff-piece about how great their products are: brand marketers are savvy and respect the need to tell a great story in order to attract audience interest, engagement and loyalty. While it breaks my heart to see people suffering in the TV industry, I think this reckoning has been a long time coming. But honestly, there is another way in which TV can adapt, survive and actually get even better, by embracing brands in the right way. We’ve created HOO as a new agency that can bring a fresh perspective to TV programming – and maintain creative excellence while delivering tangible results for brands and more revenue for TV companies.”
Darren Smith, Chief Creative Officer, HOO, said: “With the right editorial skills and strategy we’ve proven that we can make brands pay for great TV… and make great TV pay for brands. That’s why the House of Oddities is launching on Blue Monday: on the shittiest day of the year (and after one of the most miserable years that TV has faced in decades), we see HOO as a little beacon of hope… one with an approach that can save TV, so that we can all enjoy quality programming on the best screen in the house for a long, long time to come.”
Darren Smith and Sachini Imbuldeniya are joined by co-founders Juan Leon as Executive Producer and Juliette Otterburn-Hall as Non-Executive Director. Juan is a veteran filmmaker with an extensive background in branded content, and Juliette is a ‘media guru’ who helps to transform businesses to improve their culture and all-round coolness.
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