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Two new hires: Play Sports Group recruits Strategy Director and Marketing Manager

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Play Sports Group, the home of Play Sports Network (PSN), the company behind YouTube channels such as Global Cycling Network (GCN), as well as marketing communications agency SHIFT Active Media, has announced an additional two members of staff to join its growing team.

Nick Barthram has joined the group as Strategy Director having been lured from his Planning Partner position at Prophecy Unlimited. In his role, Barthram will be split between SHIFT and Play Sports Network. At SHIFT he will ‘work closely with the newly formed management team to lead the strategic output across the agency, as well as driving strategic initiatives on major clients and new business.’

Barthram will also work with the PSN management team on key strategic priorities across the growing list of channels, including the Global Cycling Network and Global Mountain Bike Network, with a particular emphasis on overall data strategy, ecommerce, CRM and NPD.

Nick Barthram said “I am looking forward to this new challenge in a sector so close to my heart. The client-list is already a who’s who of cycling, and I’m excited about helping the agency and channel business go from strength to strength.”

The Play Sports Group has also welcomed Chiara Cervasio who joined the business as Marketing Manager. Chiara will lead the marketing activity for both SHIFT and Play Sports Network with a focus on developing and delivering content and communications to promote the work that has been created within the Play Sports Group.

Chiara Cervasio said “This is an incredibly exciting time for the Play Sports Group and a great time to join the business. It’s inspiring to work with so many creative people who work in an industry they’re passionate about and really love what they do.”

These represent the first major hires by Play Sport Group’s Managing Director Wayne Brown, who commented “Nick brings with him an enviable agency pedigree, incisive strategic mind and when you combine that with his love of all things bikes, he was definitely the right hire for us. Likewise, Chiara has tons of energy and passion and that’s what we’re all about here.”

SHIFT is an international business, headquartered in Bath UK. It will continue to expand its staff numbers into 2018 to further support both current and potential clients with global, full-service communications support and partnerships.

Nick Barthram spent the first seven years of his career as a strategist helping customer engagement agency Indicia grow from a small independent agency to the first UK agency outside of London to win the DMA Grand Prix. The company went on to win a haul of accolades across direct, digital and data-based marketing awards. Focusing mainly on D2C fashion (ASOS, Very, Fat Face), Barthram also led the agency strategy for ITV’s move into the data-led VOD advertising space, partnering with them to design and implement a system to serve individualised ads to its 3.5m+ registered users.

He then spent a year at advertising agency Bray Leino, representing strategy on the board of its newly formed Bray Leino Yucca digital sub-agency, before moving to lead the planning department at Prophecy Unlimited, the UK’s largest integrated agency outside of London. Focusing on its biggest client Danone, Barthram was responsible for the connections strategy of two of the largest FMCG baby brands in the UK, devising digital ecosystems and CRM programmes which drove both long-term value and short-term sales.

Chiara Cervasio has many years of experience working in both marketing and communications across a range of sectors, most recently for Ascentric, part of Royal London where she delivered communications for its large-scale change programme and led a service awards campaign resulting in a rise of three stars to five for service. Her previous roles have involved working on marketing and communications within the publishing and health and leisure sectors.

The Play Sports Group is home to the Play Sports Network and SHIFT Active Media. SHIFT Active Media is an award-winning marketing communications agency dedicated to cycling. It offers brand consultancy, media planning and buying, creative activation and digital development.
Play Sports Network is billed as the world’s leading creator of cycling digital video distributed on YouTube and Facebook. It is a digital sports media company focused on the world of cycling. It reported 68% year-on-year growth in video views to over 395m in 2017.

Play Sports Network operates six market-leading YouTube channels, Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network, Global Triathlon Network, E Mountain Bike Network, GCN Tech and GMBN Tech with over 2 million subscribers and millions of fans across associated social media platforms.

Headquartered in Bath, England, the company is backed by an investor group that includes Discovery Communications, Andrew Croker (Perform, IMG), Oli Slipper, John Gleasure and Stef D’Anna (Perform), Tony Ball, (Sky & BT), Paul Bolwell and Humphrey Cobbold (Pure Gym & Wiggle).




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