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Working Word acquires film company Ernest Studio

One of Wales’ largest independent PR agencies, Working Word, is aiming for client, service and revenue growth after acquiring film company Ernest Studio.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, sees Ernest’s founder James Nee appointed as Working Word’s head of creative, responsible for leading the firm’s video production content.

The news coincides with Working Word’s move to a new larger creative space in Cardiff city centre’s M.A. Rapport & Co building to facilitate the growth.

An existing partnership between Working Word and Ernest has already seen them create films to explain the technology behind compound semiconductors, to champion youth rugby teams and celebrate Welsh towns for Principality Building Society,  and create Visit Wales’ most viewed social media video ever.

Working Word co-owners Caroline Holmes and Daniel Tyte, who completed an MBO for the company in 2016, say the acquisition and city centre move is an important part of the pair’s growth strategy.  Turnover is expected to exceed £1m in the current financial year for the first time.

Ernest was founded by Nee in 2013. Based in Cardiff, their clients included Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Business Wales, DE&S, The National Deaf Children’s Society and Macmillan Cancer Support. The team specialised in communicating their clients’ stories through innovative and engaging promos.

Daniel Tyte, managing director of Working Word said: “Video has become one of the main ways many people find out information and insight about the world around them.  Moving images have become a key part of the campaigns we design and deliver and our partnership with Ernest has seen us make films that have been engaged with millions of times, helping to nudge audiences to take action that makes a real difference to what our clients are trying to achieve.

“Bringing Ernest into Working Word means we can offer a fully integrated approach to communications campaigns, truly fulfilling our purpose of strategic storytelling to changes clients’ worlds for the better.”

James Nee said: “Since the first collaboration between Ernest and Working Word, it was clear we shared the same goal of creating content that would excite our client, tell their story, and galvanise their audience to partake in the modern trinity of like, comment, and share.”

“Working Word is in a really exciting place at the moment, working on a range of diverse and interesting campaigns for a constantly expanding portfolio of new clients. Now seemed the right time to join their team so we can create fully integrated video content for our collective client base that makes sure they reach their audience with memorable content with a distinctive voice. I’m both extremely proud of what Ernest has achieved in a such a short time, and very excited of what Working Word can achieve in the next couple of years.”

Working Word’s relocation to Cardiff’s city centre from Neptune Court is a realisation of the co-owners’ plans following the 2016 management buy-out.  Caroline Holmes, operations director, said: “When we took over the business, one of our aims was to make Working Word the best place to work in order to retain and develop the best people to produce exciting, quality and creative work for our clients.  Our new home is a massive step forward in this, not only is it somewhere our team love to come every day, the space has also been designed to make ideas pop and help their creative juices flow.”

Working Word, which was formed in 1999, designs and delivers creative communications campaigns across public relations, digital and brand for a range of high profile public, private and third sector clients across Wales and the UK.

Over the past three years the company’s profits have increased by 230%, supported by a client list which has doubled over the same time to over fifty organisations with a growth in UK-wide accounts.

Elliott Buss of UHY Hacker Young advised on the deal.