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Craig Roderick and Toby Barty

Catch A Fire - Strategic Creative Agency

“We knew each other previously through our kids. They’re the same age and went to the same school and we got to know what each other did. We sat in the pub in Lamberhurst and agreed to work together after realising – hang on, you’re a strategist and I’m a creative, we’ve got the beginnings of a great agency. We had a pint of Harvey’s and said, “let’s go for it” that was the summer of 2018, it was fortuitous timing.

We were both in a similar place at a similar time in our working lives, I had been working in creative agencies in Edinburgh and London for around twenty years, working with clients in food and drink, cars, travel, fashion and many other industries. I decided to get out of London and move to Tunbridge Wells, working as creative director at an agency called Southpaw. After spending several years there, I’d always had my eye on setting something up myself so started to get some ideas on what it could be called, what sort of clients it would deal with etc. The fundamental idea was working with ethical clients and clients that aim to do things in the right way for the environment. I didn’t really like some of the clients I previously worked on over the years – advertising cigarettes and all kinds of nasty things that I would never advertise anymore, I wanted to get out of all of that and just work on the industries and stuff that I liked and agreed with; so, Catch A Fire was born.

The name Catch A Fire seemed to have an elemental feel but also links to the notion of great ideas igniting, spreading and having impact.

My story is similar to Craig’s – I was at a point in my career when I felt it was time to try something different. I had always worked in marketing but client side, for around twenty years – all in the food and drink industry and working for the last fifteen years with Unilever. I’d done some really exciting country based and global roles within their business and in 2018 I had the option to relocate with my family to Rotterdam, but decided to take a change of course. I also wanted to continue my journey with a sustainable, ethical approach and was fortunate to have that experience from Unilever which is a very purpose led business, so when I came into this with Craig, I came from a very strong ethical strategic stance with the shared intention to run a ‘good’ purpose led strategic and creative agency. We brought both of our strengths together, strategic and creative thinking, when we set the business up. I have a good understanding as to how our clients think, operate and what their challenges are, and Craig brings all the creative side to the business – it’s the best of both worlds.

We’ve been lucky to work with some fantastic clients so far built up from a combination of our personal networks and good word of mouth. It got very exciting, very quickly. We class ourselves as a strategic/creative agency and offer brand innovation and brand strategy through to bigger ideas and creative executions. Offering advertising, design, film, social media, web design and everything else in-between – we think about the challenge in the right way first so we can define what’s right for the customer and the consumer, then we find the best way to deliver and execute it.

We’ve got a strong team of about twenty-six with a pool of top freelancers around the edges and plan on growing more with the right sort of clients.

We work with brands like Farshare, they re-distribute food that supermarkets don’t want anymore – they take the food and make sure it gets to the people that need it most. Some of our other clients are Flora (Plant butter), Hellmann’s, Pukka Tea, Squerryes and other UK and global based brands. We have one of our directors in Rotterdam as well as strategists in Sydney, so we have a good footprint to enable us to expand into different markets.

We’ve been working on getting ‘B Corp’ certified. The process is quite rigorous and has taken a year and a half but we are just on the brink of being accredited. B Corp is a global accreditation for businesses that balance profit with purpose and looks at different benchmarks like community, people, and workforce. We’re now in the verification stage and it puts us in a network of similar minded businesses that have the right intentions behind them.

Another bit of great news recently is Campaign Magazine (the advertising industry weekly rag) have just voted us as the twelfth best agency in the whole of the UK to work for! An accolade we are really stoked about – we’ve both been reading Campaign since we started 20 years ago. It makes us very proud.

We’re all about big ideas, it’s what gets us out of bed each morning, and if we can create ideas that affect and make a difference to something in an ethical, positive, kind and meaningful way then we’re more than happy with that.”

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About the business

We’re a strategic creative agency on a mission.

To create fame and success for brands that share our ethical ethos and help propel them forward.

And our ethos is simple – be as good as we possibly can for the planet, for society and its future.

We are a team of creative marketing and communications professionals that believe in the power of strategic thinking and impactful creative ideas.

We produce work that ignites, spreads and has a positive impact.

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