Digital agency Essence ( has this week acquired Punktilio Limited, ( the pioneering specialist social media agency.

The acquisition is a significant move for Essence, supporting its ongoing growth strategy by further enhancing its social media credentials, and adding to its already impressive client portfolio. Punktilio’s proven success in the social arena reinforces Essence’s existing offering and brings a fresh injection of talent to its already strong team.

Punktilio was launched in 2009 by brothers Hal and Sam Stokes to provide social media strategy and tactical implementation to brands. The agency joins Essence with 20 staff and a growing client list including SYCO, Arsenal FC, Phones4U and YO! Sushi.

In March 2010 Punktilio attracted investment from Michael Birch, founder of Bebo. Birch will maintain his involvement and become a shareholder in Essence. Hal Stokes will become Essence’s social media director.

Hal and Sam Stokes began their careers in social media while performing on the LA music scene as rock bank “The Thieves”. The pair managed their own marketing using MySpace to promote and sell direct to fans. This experience led Hal to Bebo where, as global head of music, he developed and managed the sites music offering for three years.

The acquisition of Punktilio follows a raft of major developments for Essence including the opening of a New York office to drive expansion in North America, and a recent management restructure that saw the appointment of former Egg chief executive Mark Nancarrow as chief financial officer.

Essence has been placed 1st in the ranking of Europe’s Fastest Growing Larger Digital Media Companies, rising from 20th position in 2010, at the Media Momentum Awards. The awards, which recognise the most innovative and fastest growing companies in the European Digital Media Economy, are organised by GP Bullhound.

Further significant announcements, including client wins, are expected in the coming weeks.

Matt Isaacs, chief executive officer, Essence, comments:

“We collectively believe that social is an integral part of digital marketing, and should be treated as such. So while Punktilio has a strong heritage and a fantastic brand presence, its immediate integration into Essence will allow us to deliver our clients a comprehensive approach that taps into our digital skill set. The fit between Essence and Punktilio is perfect; we share the same insight and innovation driven approach to client work, as well as the same cultural ethos. We’re very excited about what our combined skills and experience will enable us to achieve in the future”.

Hal Stokes, managing director, Punktilio, says:

“Essence is a category defining agency and I have been hugely impressed by the impact it has had on the UK and international digital scene. Matt and the team have constantly evolved to meet the needs of clients, and by fully embracing our proven and much in demand social skill set, together we are in a position to deliver a truly joined up and comprehensive digital proposition.”

Michael Birch, founder of Bebo, says:

“Hal and Sam have done a fantastic job with Punktilio but in my mind there will be no room for a ‘specialist social media agency’ in two years. The future is all about joined up thinking and a new home with Essence is absolutely the right move for all involved. I have been hugely impressed by the impact Essence has had on the UK and international digital scene and its drive to create an agency model that is innovative, dynamic and structured around the evolving needs of clients. I see huge potential for this combined business and my ongoing commitment to the agency will continue.”

Dated 27/05/2010


About Essence:
Essence is an award winning digital agency operating from offices in London and New York, delivering work on a global scale. With clients such as Google, Expedia and eBay, Essence delivers media, creative and technical solutions to leaders in the digital space. In 2009, the agency won the global accolade of eConsultancy’s Most Innovative Digital Agency and in 2010 it was crowned Media Agency of the Year at the NMA Effectiveness Awards (UK). Another UK award includes the highly coveted Revolution Special Award for Innovation in April 2010. The agency reached position 63 in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100. Most recently, Essence was ranked as Europe’s Fastest Growing Larger Digital Media Company, rising from 20th position, at the Media Momentum Awards in May 2011.

About Punktilio:
Punktilio is a specialist social media agency providing comprehensive in-house solutions from strategy to community management, design and development, content creation, media planning/buying, social commerce, buzz and social intelligence. Clients include Phones 4u, Syco Entertainment, Arsenal F.C and YO! Sushi. Bebo founder, Michael Birch is an investor and advisor to Punktilio. The agency was listed by New Media Age as ‘Ones to Watch’ in the Top 100 Interactive Agencies Guide 2010. Facebook has written two internal case studies featuring Punktilio’s work.

For further information, please contact:

Matt Isaacs, Founding Partner and CEO
Tel: 0207 758 4215

Hal Stokes, Co-Founder of Punktilio and now Social Media Director at Essence
Tel: 0207 287 7870

Published on: 3:02PM on 27th May 2011