BRAVE & BOLD
Notorious are a better sort of media agency. We do everything you would expect, bringing together the best of media and data sciences, combined with an unexpected bit of creative brilliance, to deliver powerful plans that drive incredibly hard bottom line performance.
Nik & Jess are one of the most awarded duos of recent years, from ITV to dentsu’s The StoryLab and of course now at Notorious. They’ve established a reputation for hard hitting, inventive work that nails the commercial sweet spot while raising the profile of brilliant brand partners.
Since establishing the company in 2019 they have built a team of experienced talents and kindred spirits, each committed to making clients proud of what they produce and to delivering commercial success from clients’ media investment.
We don’t believe in playing it safe - mostly because it is an oxymoron to expect commercial success to flow from an anonymous media campaign - but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re reckless.
Our foundations are built on strong strategic smarts, underpinned by excellence in consumer intelligence, an understanding of how they interact with audiences and what they really care about. Delivered by practitioners with a strong grasp on channel capability and a clear understanding of how innovations can be leveraged to benefit plan delivery.
Get that right and building a campaign with genuine stand out at its heart isn’t all that scary really, indeed it’s all very logical in a Notorious sort of way.
MEET THE TEAM
Team Notorious are a blend of the experienced and enthusiastic, committed to their clients and proud of their work.
We have talents from all walks of media life and skill sets, building brilliant plans to keep competitors on their toes and revenues in disproportionate growth.
Diversity of skills backgrounds and experience is at the heart of how we create Notorious communication plans but the thing you can’t replicate is the universal and unwavering focus we all have on creating genuinely brilliant work, that cuts through to leave a lasting impact with audiences and commercial success for our partners. Whether you work in social, search, TV, digital, buying or strategy we all work as one, to get our partners more than their fair share from media investments.
Makes the seemingly impossible happen.
The Sorceress of Notorious and showcase half of the lead duo, Jessica specialises in star quality so bright it burns. Once cast as ‘Attractive Girl 1’ in Hollyoaks and latterly ‘Girl at the back 4’ in Hollyoaks after Dark (aka ‘mucky Hollyoaks’ to those in the know), some people appear cast into a life of fame, while others must wait out for the perfect opportunity to secure a notorious destiny in years to come. But more on that later.
Jessica is the ferociously driven front woman of Notorious – a live current of media excitement, with an unrelenting focus on finding opportunities for famous outcomes and making the magic happen. And that she does. Alongside bags of positivity, she is a tenacious problem solver who our clients know they can always rely on to burn down barriers and to offer the team complete clarity that we do not back away from doing the tough stuff.
As much the heartbeat of the team as a leader, she sets the standard for everyone to follow, delivering high levels of ambition, packaged up with gritty determination and wrapped in a smile born of genuine love for what we do and for the people we work with. And that matters. In an industry we are constantly asked to be brave and to put ourselves out there, making the big decisions can be a lonely job. Jessica’s hot line functions part as a call to arms and part coach to drive belief to the heart of every leap.
Once described as ‘a bit full on’ for her fusion of conviction and verbal intensity - yes, she talks a lot (but listens too by the way) - she has form to back up the big words with gongs galore for innovations in travel, fashion, pet food, charity and twice for product innovations that step changed the ability of ITV to create commercial outcomes. None of which should distract from the fact she gives the full on treatment to businesses new to the game just as generously as those with established form.
Very simply, where Eminem sang ‘opportunity comes once in a lifetime’ Jessica’s ferocious drive has born ability to conjure opportunity for notoriety again and again and again. Never content to play the bit part herself she is compelled to make sure that her partners never succumb to such a fate either.
And so back to where we started. Jessica’s days dominating the mid pages of late 90’s red tops were curtailed only after a surprise appearance in the sun (not that one!), waiting to go on set for her debut as ‘lead barmaid’ in the Hollyoaks Dog & Duck one very hot summers day. While a diose of radiation may have put temporary breaks on her flight path to a life of notoriety, she has since gone all out to make it happen for her, for us and for our clients. It will take a hell of a lot more to stop her now.
Nik isn’t your usual comms planner
Sometimes called the architect of Notorious, more often Dr Strange (note nobody adds the Dr bit), Nik is the ambitious, ultra-demanding propositional fusion engine of media science and creative brilliance, complementing Jessica (you look nice, why thank you) to complete the leadership duo and create pathways to notoriety.
Slightly obsessed by space and prone to conceptualising almost any situation with (not necessarily perfect) analogies inspired by the universe and quantum mechanics; Nik takes inspiration from the words of fellow notorious star gazer Carl Sagan; that ‘somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known’ – apply that same logic to the way you solve business problems and you won’t go far wrong.
We digress. When not listening to podcasts about whether super massive black holes hold the galaxy together, Nik drives the belief system that centres our product and an inescapable gravity to our work that attracts both talent and clients alike. Starting media life as part of the inspiring UKTV Team, he still has the mantra given to him on the first day ringing in his ears – ‘we need to make having less money than the big guns work to our advantage’. Get hungrier, harder working, more focussed on creating your own luck and build an advantage competitors won’t see coming.
The whole agency whether broadcast, biddable or buying understand the brief – take responsibility for being the advantage competitors won’t see coming.
Helping businesses to escape the gravity of their legacy, wider category or just getting a great idea off the ground is what gets Nik genuinely quite animated. He goes big on ambition and believes we all benefit from setting ourselves, at least slightly, scary targets that you need to publicly commit to and tool up to deliver.
And it’s not just academic. Across more than 20 years in the game Nik has been part of teams engineering notorious breakthrough moments for brands like Kia Motor, Peroni, Butcher’s, Paco Rabanne, Iceland & ITV. Self-belief, ambition, a bit of guile and confidence to take on the world with a killer plan can be shown to deliver handsome dividends in ways that are otherwise out of reach.
Ultimately, he believes notorious thinking creates choices, do similar work to the competition with less money (guess what happens) or intelligently break rules and shoot for the stars. As Carl famously said, ‘imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.’
Head of Client Relations
Gets the difficult done
Notoriously good at getting difficult done, Lucy does….a lot. Long-time entrepreneurial dynamo of the publishing industry, Lucy has recently trained her sights on making a genuine impact in social good, education, mentoring the next generation of media talent, advocating for women’s representation and leading large mixed ability groups up big hills and down to pubs come rain, (heavy) snow or shine. Now she’s busy helping us to promote the Notorious brand and driving the team forward on our commitment to make ambitious work for our clients that everyone can be proud of. That she started life with Notorious bringing together the Manchester community to support Lifeshare capitalise on Chanel’s flying visit to the city, tells you very much indeed.
But what else has Lucy done? Deep breath please. Across 25 years she has bossed the lifestyle publishing scene, winning fans, gongs and investment aplenty for Bauer, Hearst, BBC and Future. She launched new propositions for Sneak & Elle, ran the Cosmopolitan portfolio in its heyday, led Woman & Home’s digital first transition as Commercial Publisher, drove through Future’s transition to a creative portfolio sell using the power of their brands and data combined – and signed off with a multi-award winning campaign, celebrating the achievements of women in their 50’s. Before spending a year smashing all known fundraising records for a vital Manchester homeless charity.
Clients (everyone really) love Lucy because she is the epitome of going the extra mile, because if it matters to you, chances are it matters to her. Possibly more. That’s why we are just a bit lucky to have her playing an integral role at the heart of our business, where she helps make sure standards and ambition are extraordinarily high and hearts are worn visibly on sleeves.
Alongside working and volunteering, mentoring and campaigning, Lucy has found a mystery 25th hour in the day to develop her a side hustle as….a dog sitter. She finds a furry friend the perfect companion for her passion walking in the northern air, typically with about 50 others, as part of the Bloom networking community, many of whom she mentors, all of whom she inspires.
Makes Campaigns land with a bang
The Essex Exocet, Lara, roared onto the Manchester media scene on a mission to make campaigns that land with a bang! Her passion for travelling and foreign climes has led her to lock sights on the unlikely trajectory of West Yorkshire for a home residence, but TV’s brightest young star is taking the broadcast ripple effect nationwide as well delivering precision strikes out of her home base into Manchester and far beyond.
Lara means business and takes pride in negotiating and delivering big outcomes for businesses big and small. Her great (media) passion lies in launching new to air brands and watching them grow as the impact of AV really starts to impact across manner of performance measures. With strength in depth planning across both linear and digital platforms, Lara has power in both hands and knows how to strike hard and achieve results worth shouting about.
When she breaks from creating fireworks on the spreadsheets, Lara pumps iron in the gym, to retain sharp reflexes and explosive power - though her biceps tend to be applied solely for the purposes of cuddles with her cocker spaniel Marni. This massive foodie with a passion for sushi may seem a fish out of water in a land notorious more for its puddings and pies but as Xmas pudding’s unlikeliest fan, perhaps she’s not so far from home after all.
Yolandi De Villiers
Senior Digital Executive
The social siren
Social siren Yolandi is a beauty creator who spends her free time brushing up on how to get maximum traction across all key platforms so you don’t have to. This absolute dynamo of energy and ideas only recently walked into agency world from one of the UK’s largest beauty brands at The Hut Group and wow! What an impact she’s already made.
Having established form for purposeful innovations within Meta and building returns through platform diversification into the likes of Tik Tok & Snapchat, Yolandi has shown she can make her passion payback big time for her clients. Her zeal for an uncomplicated, open approach to social is already helping clients to feel more in control and better able to get involved in the many brilliant opportunities these platforms provide.
Since joining Notorious Communications, Yolandi has helped to ensure our Paid Social capabilities embody the same inventive and dynamic people focussed approach we put at the heart of every other channel offering and extended this impact into the wider digital ecosystem where she is busy matching up how the complete picture comes together.
When Yolandi is not with us she’s……at home, making beauty content, to cascade on social – with wine. Sometimes dancing.
Quite possibly the most exciting thing to come out of Widnes since the A580 ‘East Lancs Road’, Hannah is our star of the big screen and casts a superhero-like presence across any brief where the bat sign goes up in search of video support. Commonly known as ‘Cat Woman’ (she’s big on a Widnes owners Facebook group – nothing to do with Halle Berry) she has a uniquely dexterous touch in combining AV disciplines, a supremely light-footed approach to negotiations and good form in pouncing on an opportunity – making her quite the extraordinary talent to have on side.
Over 7 years directing the action on screen, Hannah has supported all sorts of brands on all manner of AV journeys, from first steps to major sponsorships, linear stalwarts through their digital transitions and more routine makeovers of performance plans to glean better returns and performance optimisations. Though the market is as dynamic as it’s ever been, the thing she takes greatest satisfaction from is seeing a campaign through to completion where the moment, what started as, a small seed of a conversation comes to life as an impactful big screen moment – and the near inevitable commercial returns to follow.
When Hannah isn’t lighting up our living rooms with brand impact she’s settling down with a jigsaw, some wine and Dora, her cat.
Digital Client Director
A digital meteorite
As if a mercurial explosion of haute couture, fine art and….hair metal….had occurred somewhere far out in the universe and crashed into UK media like a hot digital meteorite, wielding drumsticks and a guide to emergent trends in online – may we please introduce Robin. Now leading our client and digital disciplines, Robin has the sharp line refinement you would expect in a Mayfair boutique, made accessible like a Vinted flash sale. Intrigued? Rightly so.
Across a decade of digital marketing experience, with focus on luxury fashion & travel, Robin has worked with some of the best brands in the world and true giants of style like NIKE, Diesel, Loewe and Belstaff, to name a few. Never one to boast, Calvin Klein selected Robin to spend six months in Amsterdam onboarding the new agency relationship from the inside, working alongside senior stakeholders and internal teams.
In these precise and demanding environments Robin has made a name for himself, at home in all elements of digital and in his element managing complex projects bringing all of these disciplines together. He has learned to understand how good relationships create good business for all and the importance of fostering collaboration.
He has learned the value of exceptional product values backed by delivery and that is what he is now designing with us; making sure all client partners of Notorious receive our unique style of boutique service, on demand and without need of a trip to Mayfair.
Drawn by the hills and persistent wet weather, Robin has eschewed thoughts of New York for Old Trafford and made his home in Manchester. His passion for illustration recently saw him opening an Etsy shop selling self-designed vintage-inspired prints, with buyers all over the world flocking to his shop.
As a massive music fan Robin can be found seeking new sounds across the city or banging the drums in his late-night lessons. His taste in music has brought ‘metal Mondays’ to the office and a peculiar surge in appetite to start the week home working for colleagues.
The Don. Flis is the spreadsheet wielding calculated counsel to Jess & Nik, the process bearing rock to the team and the calm voice at the end of the phone for any queries when our clients’ accounts teams need to unpick an invoice.
After 20 years experience as a qualified Accountant, Flis recently took the leap from the grey suits of professional services, dissolving companies, to build business up and help them to thrive, sitting as the ‘accountant amongst the creatives’ right at the heart of Notorious Communications – an environment she describes as infectious (we’re improving ventilation for anyone concerned).
Flis may control the books but she’s already busy getting her fingers into the bigger pie, taking great interest in the whole advertising industry from how media makes ads famous to dropping the odd creative idea in the ear of the team.
Creating further distance from staid stereotype, Flis is most at home on the dance floor and proud mum to a budding Rockstar, future Cricket champion and a ‘mini me’ finding her own way through the school’s arts corridors to a stage currently under construction.
Forged in the furnaces of the steel city, Shelby is our joyous pint-sized smelting pot of power ballads, posh pies and planning prowess. This diminutive fashion graduate brings a big character, bold ideas and stacks of drive to deliver ambitious campaigns – all of which makes her a big hit with clients.
In six years, Shelby has proven comfortable and adept on the big stage, delivering high profile multimedia campaigns for the likes of the BBC, FGH and AG Barr. She loves the variety of brands we get to work with, thinking about how people respond to communications and the opportunity to create campaigns that tell stories in style.
When she downs tools Shelby dives back into her first love for fashion, struts her stuff on the atmospheric hills of Bronte country and occasionally swaps stilettos for flippers, diving in search of sharks.
Makes everything happen
A spell binding talent, raised by a witch (long story) and now making media magic as the ultimate all-rounder - with powers on show in all areas from digital to planning to client service to buying, brainstorming, data and activation – she also organises the Christmas party.
Alicia is a curious, creative, people person with incredibly high delivery standards and a passion for her craft. Having started in education because she enjoys ‘watching people grow’, she has now set her sights on the science of how brands grow and combines this skilfully with the art of making happy clients.
When not practicing the dark arts of making notorious comms work with us, margarita connoisseur Alicia winds it up in search of big vibes and tasty drinks across the bars of Manchester and festivals wherever she can pitch her tent. When her brain needs a break look out for her in full waterproofs and maybe a fire somewhere cosy in the Lakes.
Digital Planning Director
Our grown up
Since time began (or the 80’s anyway) assumption has been that agency life worked best as sort of Boiling Point environment stirred with Wolf of Wall Street values and a Falling Down personal experience. This was the cocktail we drank for ‘getting stuff done’. Enter Jennie, experienced digital transformation specialist, yoga and sound meditation leader – exit bad vibes and bad ways of working.
Jennie is the epitome of Notorious talent; a huge reputation gained across 15 years at the heart of Manchester & London’s digital communities, as well as an entrepreneurial stint teaching digital skills to the next generation and supporting disadvantaged kids to get their shot at making their mark in media. Everybody knows her and every testimony marked by respect. Now tempted back into agency life, Jennie is leading the development of the Notorious digital product where her uniquely calm but committed approach to innovation has set the foundations of an offering set to be far more exciting than your average cookie cutter digital delivery team.
Digital transformation is very much Jennie’s thing. Always attracted to the project of transforming an organisation’s capability, she has delivered the goods on media transformation with the likes of Aldi and then a more formal digital transformation brief with Zenith across an array of businesses in finance, cosmetics and more. What makes her brilliant at this is not just her ambition and knowledge but also her people skills - because Jennie understands that transformation projects are as much about how people feel supported as much as practical infrastructure required. She does both.
In complete contrast to the noisy media masochists, Jennie gets shit done calmly and with precision. By way of great example for the mantra few words can speak great volumes, shortly before signing off on maternity leave, our brand safety supplier marvelled ‘you’ve achieved in three months what most of our agencies deliver in 12’. She is that good!
Making great use of her reputation and network in market, Jennie is also a leader on the Bloom North DE&I committee where her commitment to supporting those less advantaged in life get the level playing field they need, plays out in securing industry commitments and concrete actions.
Self-proclaimed Brown Owl, Natalie, spins plates quite like nobody else
and comes armed with an unwavering emphasis on delivering extraordinary levels of client service - meaning expectations come delivered with a cat iron guarantee and deadlines get met.
With (she hates us saying this but…) 24!!!! years media experience, she is reliably unflappable and steadfast in her determination to get sh*t done for our clients and their teams.
When she isn’t organising the line for Notorious Natalie is a mum of 2 sporty lads and will usually be found on the side of a sports pitch shouting embarrassingly loudly. She also regularly dons a pair of trainers to pound the streets of Stockport, demanding action from disordered residents (maybe) and more plausibly as part of a deal with herself to consume all the wine and food in sight after a week keeping us in check.
All hail the imperious Brown Owl!
Isn’t it brilliant when someone properly loves their media?
Like loves it, so much, you sometimes think there ought to be popcorn provided whenever they start talking about it? Well, perfectly cast into the role of TV evangelist is our very own AV Planning Director, and period drama super fan, ‘Lady’ Liz Sloan. The content, the talkability, the scale of it, the spreadsheets(???), that’s right, Liz loves it all.
A bonafide card-carrying member of the ‘get shit done’ brigade. Across ten years in the business, time and again Liz has mixed channel smarts with a sleeves up mentality to deliver some of the biggest and most awarded campaigns in broadcast media.
Liz laughs at the idea AV is some sort of left behind ‘traditional’ platform; lauding the constant tidal wave of change and of opportunities to invent and innovate - be it from AI, data, new technologies, new measurement systems, new platforms, new commercial models, new partnership ideas, new entrants shaking things up…you get the idea.
When taking a break from bingeing on Downton Abbey, Liz can be found, in the sweeping grounds of the National Trust's stately homes with hubby and beloved sausage dog, Figo.
Our Planning Partner revels in the freedom of fiction, where you can make stories out of just about anything.
First and foremost Dom loves stories - reading them, watching them and indeed writing them!
Each combination of characters offering new and exciting ways of looking at people and their many quirks of how they relate to situations, things and one another.
So you won’t be surprised to read that stories about people is what Dom does here at Notorious too; thinking about media channels and campaigns in a way which reflect the real, tangible way people interact with them – often with plot twists our partners don’t see coming!
With experience spanning global networks as well as boutiques, Dom’s told all sorts of stories about people and their media journeys, like the award-winning KFC Gaming activation, built around the often-overlooked opportunities that gaming can offer brands, but which allowed KFC to create an authentic and credible experience for a crucial community.
When he isn’t thinking about people and their stories, Dom is somewhat preoccupied with whales (preserving them, watching them, celebrating them) and foxes (specifically Leicester City FC), and attempts to emulate both as a keen swimmer and footballer.
OUR LATEST WORK
We’re not your average media agency. We lead with creativity; we help clients invent and execute new ideas with brilliance.