Video-first agency

Ex-Webmart CEO Richard Boon launches creative agency

Boon leaves Webmart after 18 years, most recently as its CEO
Boon leaves Webmart after 18 years, most recently as its CEO

Richard Boon, outgoing CEO at Webmart, has launched into his next venture with the founding of global content marketing agency Oh Six.

Leaving Webmart after 18 years, Boon has now teamed up with a close friend to found the agency. While Oh Six will focus on video production, it will use marketing channels across the digital and physical spectrum to produce high-quality campaigns.

Boon told Printweek that his time at Webmart had shaped the new venture indelibly, with the printed marketing agency’s ethos of sustainable, people-focused work an inspiration for this next business.

He said: “We really need to see ethical, responsible business within the advertising and content space. Through my time with Simon [Biltcliffe, founder and chairman of Webmart] and as CEO, MD, and all the roles I’ve had at Webmart – it has really given me the opportunity to move far ahead [of the market] in terms of sustainability and people-led initiatives.

“Building on that, and taking that DNA to a marketplace that hasn’t seen that level of ethical business, just felt right to us – it’s fresh powder, virgin territory for us to try stand out and be different.”

Alongside co-founder Ricky Mason, a long-time creative producer and director for television and video work, Boon will now set out to capture this new market.

Live under Mason’s stewardship for several months, Oh Six’s official launch came, fittingly, on 6 June (06/06); Boon added that he and the team at Webmart had worked happily to find a timeline that would allow both the firm and Boon to prepare for the change in leadership – and for Boon himself to find some time to prepare for his own wedding in September.

“It’s been very, very amicable,” Boon said.

“It’s a few months in the making but it has given Ricky the time to get the ball rolling, working with established clients, and me the ability to do right by Webmart and migrate across [properly].”

For Boon, working on video has been a long-term dream.

“It’s a big change for me, because my career started in high street retail, large-web offset, direct mail projects, and, later, highly personalised triggered communications and the rise of e-commerce. I’ve enjoyed seing it evolve – I believe print is coming back into that multi-channel mix – and helping futureproof Webmart’s strategy.

“But I’ve always been a bit of a hobbyist in video editing – I was an early adopter of anything with a lens, whether a camera phone or Go-Pro [camera] or drone – and it’s been a big thing. I would probably have gone in that direction a lot earlier, but I had all of my camera gear stolen from my car [in 2017, while filming for Webmart].”

Despite the change in market, Boon is confident that the lessons learned in print will serve him well.

“Looking at the way creative manufacturing works, and especially that lean approach to efficiency, I think a huge amount can be transferred over. That’s something I noticed when we diversified Webmart into digital, is that having that mindset of streamlining processes, looking at sustainability from start to finish – manufacturing is actually quite far ahead, and that mindset is really important.”

Most of all, however, Boon is excited for the future: “I’m ecstatic about the business. It’s getting to work with a long-term friend with mutual respect, both bringing something very different to the mix and building on the skills we’ve learned.

“I feel very confident, and though I’ll obviously miss the team at Webmart on a day-to-day basis, I’m very glad that we’ve been able to find a way to continue working together. It’s been my career for 18 years, and it’s all I’ve ever known, so of course I will miss it.

“I’ll miss working with clients and suppliers, too: it’s a very welcoming industry. It has its challenges, but it is also interesting seeing the opportunity come back around; if it wasn’t for having the chance to work with a best friend in something liked to my hobbies, I could see myself working at Webmart for the rest of my career.”

Boon will stay on at Webmart as a board advisor; Kelly O’Sullivan has taken his place as CEO, having been promoted from chief operating officer.