When Graham Massey proposed a friendly, though ultimately unsuccessful, management buyout at Northern Leisure, he got £9m of funding. But when he sought funds to set up his own marketing agency with Steven Fuller and Peter Ord in 1995, he drew a blank. ‘It was a real struggle. All we wanted was £30,000 but nobody would give it to us.’ NatWest eventually advanced the finance to start Leisurehouse, a marketing specialist for drinks and leisure industries. It went on to land clients such as Baileys, Jack Daniels and Malibu, staging street theatre across Britain in its Life Less Serious campaign. And passengers in Sydney airport’s duty-free area can interact with a giant computerised bottle of Smirnoff to send digital postcards, a picture of themselves, and a text message. Such distinctive campaigns have driven up sales 80% a year from £1m in 1997 to £5.9m in 2000, when it had 35 employees. The Macclesfield company was renamed the house in July.

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Company details
Year2001
Rank72
Companythe house
ActivityMarketing agency
LocationCheshire
Annual sales rise over 3 years79.99%
Latest sales £000s5,874
Staff35
Founded1995
Websitewww.thehouse.co.uk

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure