Multi-specialist with strong creative credentials
Launched in 2000, at the height of the dot-com boom, Hopscotch initially drew most of its clients from the Internet and information technology sectors, companies like Gateway and Yahoo that were looking for creative public relations programming that could differentiate them from their competitors without costing them the seven-figure fees expected by the big agencies. But when the recession hit, agency founder Jérôme Lascombe—previously managing director of GCI’s French operations and chairman of GCI Europe—had the experience and the savvy to broaden his focus, and today the firm is more of a generalist and has clients across a range of industries, from consumer (L’Oréal, Lancôme, Masterfoods, Pepsico) to automotive (Audi, Peugeot) to healthcare (Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Serono). The firm also has a subsidiary, HDL, acquired in 2003 and specializing in financial services and financial communications.
But Lascombe’s overall philosophy has not changed. The firm still asks the question, “How can it be remarkable?” It looks for big, bold, innovative solutions. Its primary expertise is in media relations, with a particular emphasis (unusual for the French market) on broadcast media, with a team working closely with television producers and production companies. So for the French movie industry, for example, Hopscotch produced an anti-piracy campaign that focused not on legal threats but on segmentation of the illegal download market and highly-targeted messages. And for Expedia, the firm created a blogging contest, inviting travellers to create online diaries of their vacations, generating 80 million hits. The firm also handled the first IPO on the new Alternext market for Meilleurtaux. Meanwhile, several clients—including EDF—now retain Hopscotch specifically for counsel concerning online strategies.
The reward has been impressive growth, with revenues up an impressive 30 percent last year, to around €4.2 million, and headcount now at more than 40 with particularly rapid growth in the healthcare, consumer, and finance sectors. New assignments came from Cedus, the French sugar association, for counsel on health issues; Grand Marnier, for a campaign to position the drink among younger consumers; Intel, for broadcast media relations; retailer Le Printemps for media relations; Procter & Gamble for its Swiffer brand; Cisco and Intel.
Hopscotch works primarily in France and French-speaking Europe (Belgium and Switzerland). On multi-country campaigns, the firm works closely with Cohn & Wolfe, with whom it pitched a won the Samsung account and the World Riding Championships.