Edition 26 of the SportsBiz Spotlight shines on End Product, a brand new social-first sports content agency. We sat down with co-founders Ben Harris and Calum MacLeod to learn more about what they do.
Tell us about the business?
End Product is a social-first sports content agency based in Manchester. We are a team of social media and sports marketing experts based in Manchester fuelled by an army of the best sports creators and producers from around the world.
We created this model to give more sports brands access to the best strategic and creative thinking and the highest quality end product, all at the pace of social.
What does End Product do?
We offer creative, strategy, consultancy and production services relating to the world of social media and sport. We combine our extensive knowledge of social media and sports marketing with a global network of elite sports creators and producers. As far as we are aware, it’s the first agency of its kind to back the creator community in this way! It’s this unique model that allows us to offer high-quality creative and strategy thinking but deliver an end product at much better value and at a greater pace than larger more traditional agencies.
Our proposition was born out of understanding what brands and the people who work in sport want. We have spent months refining our model and ways of working to make life easy and efficient for our clients. We’re both really big believers in not creating process for process sake. We concentrate on what actually matters for clients… the end product!
Which clients do you work with?
We currently work with The Rugby Football League, Myprotein, eSkootr Championship, INEOS Grenadiers Cycling Team and SPORF, one of the biggest sports publishers in the world. And we have lots of exciting live conversations with a wider range of sports brands so watch this space!
When was it founded?
End Product was incorporated in November 2021. Prior to End Product we spent over 18 years working in traditional agencies across media, creative and social. It enabled us to deliver incredible work for sports clients including sponsors like PUMA, New Balance, Sky Bet, William Hill, Coca-Cola and IRN-BRU as well as teams and rights-holders like the FA, X44 and Manchester City Football Club. In recent years whilst working for these clients we noticed the incredible rise of the global sports creator community. Often self-taught and therefore not constrained by the traditional rules of production they were producing creative work levels above anything we’d seen. We realised the traditional agency model of in-housed design, risk aversion and an excess of process just wasn’t built to take advantage of the opportunity. And that’s why we stepped in!
What’s the main purpose of the organisation?
We have an ambition to raise the bar of sports content on social and give more brands access to elite quality social-first content. There are tons of sleeping giants out there in the world of sport that with the right content strategy and access to world-class production can transform their fortunes. It’s this opportunity that energises us the most.
We’re also keen to celebrate and bring more respect to the industry of sports creators. We know there’s some incredible talent out there and they’re not getting the respect they deserve because of out-dated attitudes in the advertising industry around certain qualifications and the amount of experience required to deliver top work. Particularly in the world of social and sport where you need that maverick creative spirit to cut-through a lot of content that essentially looks the same.
If failure wasn’t a possibility, what would be your biggest ambition?
Our ambition is to be the first agency that challenger brands in the world of sport think of when they’ve got a problem to solve and the agency that sports creators can’t wait to work with.
We’d also love to be known as the agency you turn to when you want the best content in the game without the hassle. Simplicity and brilliance go hand in hand.
What’s your USP?
Our agile model allows us to provide the highest quality content to clients at breakneck speed. This sets us apart from more traditional agency models which are held back by processes, bloated workforces and commercial models which rely on lots of middle-management to turn a profit. Part of the reason we can deliver this quality is because clients deal directly with the strategist and creative on their accounts and because for every single brief we cherry-pick a specialist creator best suited to deliver the idea. We simply don’t believe that you’re going to get brilliant work if you brief a designer who isn’t passionate or knowledgeable about sport.
We know that to work at pace and create content relevant to the audience the passion for the game is a necessity at all levels from strategy all the way through to production. With End Product’s in-house team you’re speaking to passionate fans as well as experts and you can be confident that whoever we outsource production to also shares that passion and understanding.
How many people work at End Product and what capacity? I.e. job roles etc.
- BH: End Product is a founder-led company with myself and Calum running all aspects of the company minus production which is outsourced as discussed. I come armed with a wealth of diverse experience having done lengthy stints in creative, media and social agencies. Like advertising’s answer to James Milner, but only a few years younger! As Strategy Lead, I’ll often interrogate client briefs to make sure our content plans and ideas ladder up to the marketing objectives before I hand over to Calum and our creative network to release the flair.
- CM: If Ben is James Milner, then I’ll consider myself Kevin De Bruyne! I’m the creative playmaker at End Product, essentially our number 10. I head up the creative process for all of our clients’ briefs, from ideation, creative wraps and themes to overall campaign creative direction. I love being able to express my creativity through content and putting brands at the front of social conversation in ways which they may have never believed was possible.
Who are your audience?
We love working with challenger brands and rights-holders who are under-appreciated in the world of sport and have huge amounts of unrealised potential. This is the most rewarding work and where we add the greatest value. We’ve already had success working with the Rugby Football League to increase excitement around one of the oldest competitions in sport, the Challenge Cup, and we’ve also worked at a different level with Myprotein to raise awareness of their sponsorships of UFC world champions launching a content strategy they’d never previously explored.
Who would be your dream client/partnership/brand to work or collaborate with? (Whichever you think suits best)
- BH: We’re both big Manchester City fans, so whilst it is hardly a challenger brand, we can’t help buy say that’s a dream client! But there are so many sports brands out there we’d love to work with so it’s hard to pin down one but golf is an area we’re both really passionate about and where our offering could make a big difference to bring in the next generation of fans and players.
- CM: I love what the PDC are doing at the moment with darts. The transformation from what it was, to the crowds it pulls in now, is great to see and I’d love for End Product to partner up to support that on socials. F1 is another sport I’d love End Product to work within, whether that be with drivers, teams or sponsors. How they’ve attracted new demographics is so impressive and our offering would go hand in hand with their strategy.
How can people connect with End Product? What’s your website and socials?
You can find us on Instagram at @endproductagency. Join the conversation with us on Twitter @weareendproduct. Or check out our website www.endproduct.agency. Alternatively, if you’re in and around Manchester, drop us a DM and we can grab a coffee.
Thank you to both Ben and Calum for sitting down with us to share End Product’s story and vision