John Brown Media
|Headquarters location||London, United Kingdom|
|Number of employees||222|
John Brown Media, previously called John Brown Publishing, is one of the world’s largest customer communication agencies. While originally formed as a magazine company it now offers a broad range of services under a single umbrella - these include divisions for catalogues, digital, customer magazines, children’s content and brand comms.
Based in Ladbroke Grove in London, the company was formed in 1985 by John Brown who had previously run Virgin Books. The business was launched with two magazines – adult comic Viz, for which John Brown had secured the rights, and HotAir, Virgin Atlantic’s inflight title.
However, while going on to publish several other newsstand titles, it was the customer magazine side of the business that grew most dramatically with early clients including Debenhams, IKEA, the Dorchester, Eurotunnel and many others.
In 2001 the company disposed of its consumer titles to concentrate on customer communications and quickly absorbed Citrus Publishing – another contract agency. This move, along with winning several prominent contracts, established John Brown as the UK’s largest customer publishing house.
In 2004, CEO Andrew Hirsch (formerly of Pearl and Dean) initiated a successful MBO. A broadening of the group’s activities and a number of acquisitions followed as did board appointments in marketing and strategy. In 2008 the senior management team restructured all the acquired businesses (including CodeLondon, Fingal and Act Two) to trade under the single John Brown banner.
In 2006, specialist catalogue publishing agency CodeLondon was acquired.
In 2007, creative and digital communication agency Fingal was acquired.
In 2007, a South African office was opened in Cape Town after winning the publishing business of Pick n Pay, a large South African retailer.
In 2008, a major company rebrand was undertaken with all companies trading under the John Brown name.
In 2011, Hong Kong agency Kleio was acquired and rebranded as John Brown Hong Kong.
In 2013, after winning business with UAE supermarket Spinneys, offices were opened in Dubai.
John Brown currently produces around 100 publications and projects for more than 50 clients including RBS, Waitrose, Sky, the DCSF, Orange, The British Heart Foundation and John Lewis. It has featured frequently at various publishing award ceremonies, both for the creativity of its work, and its own industry success, having been named Marketing Magazine’s Customer Publishing Agency of the Year in 2004.
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