U.K.-based digital shop Dare is no stranger to agency of the year type lists, but even for a shop with its reliably winning ways, the geographically expanding, genre-bending outfit seemed to have an especially fruitful year in 2010, pushing creative and tech and business boundaries. Its client work felt fresh and the agency also cut an entrepreneurial path with the launch of Remote Palette, a magical app created out of innovation unit Dare Labs that turns an iPad and iPhone into painter's canvas and palette.
In support of the launch of the book The Fry Chronicles from British writer, actor and tech patron Stephen Fry, Dare built a dramatically different e-reading tool, the MyFry app which allows readers to access the autobiography in a non-linear, theme-based fashion. A color wheel acts as a visual index, so readers can access book content through four color coded thematic categories and 100+ sections, each of which can be explored further according to tags.
For the short lived (but soon to be resurrected) online multiplayer game, APB, Dare transformed a real live gamer into a flesh and blood avatar. To tout the game's elaborate character customization engine, the agency set up a social media hub whereby participants chose the human subject and selected the hairdo, tats and other accoutrements that would turn him into an APB badass.
For The FA (the Football Association), Dare created a Facebook-based campaign that saw the England team and a range of British celebrities – including the prime minister – celebrating the national club with personalized jerseys, and which saw England's Facebook presence increase tenfold. The agency created an online series for Vodafone documenting poorly served mobile customers becoming newly connected via the company's Sure Signal box and followed up its best-selling Barclaycard Waterslide iPhone app with the Rollercoaster app. Like its predecessor, the app was tied to a big-budget TV spot and racked up huge (10 million+) downloads.
The agency put in an enviable performance on the business front, racking up a grand total of zero accounts lost and adding the likes of Sainsbury's, Nestle, Penguin, Johnson & Johnson and Sony Ericsson NAM to its client roster.
A merger with agency MCBD and a new management team position Dare as a potential integrated power player in 2011.