C4 buyout plotters Idris Elba and Marc Boyan launch global venture

C4 buyout plotters Idris Elba and Marc Boyan launch global venture
Sillyface: Elba and Boyan

Actor Idris Elba and Miroma Group founder Marc Boyan have launched a global marketing and content business, nearly a year after the pair hatched a shock plan to buy Channel 4.

The new venture, SillyFace, aims to “unearth new storytellers and reinvigorate creativity and fun in brand marketing” by creating and distributing long- and short-form video content.

Elba was the subject of a Sunday Times story last June that revealed he and Boyan were plotting to buy Channel 4 at a time when the Government’s policy was to sell the state-owned commercial broadcaster. A Miroma Group spokesman today confirmed that this story, unconfirmed at the time, was true.

He told The Media Leader: “Marc was preparing a bid that would protect, if not grow, the independent creative community. Creativity and pursuing talent from underrepresented background is a of huge importance to both Idris and Marc. They met through the bid and SillyFace is the latest venture they’re working on together.”

Michael (Lord) Grade, the Ofcom chairman and former CEO of Channel 4 and rival ITV, is a shareholder and a former chairman of the Miroma SET division (acquired by Miroma last year).

Elba: ‘we want more voices’

SillyFace’s structure sounds similar to recent ad agency launches as it pledges to bring together a team of “global creative marketers and content creators” under the guidance of Elba and Boyan. It will operate in three offices: London, New York and Los Angeles.

Rahul Chopra, Miroma Group’s chief strategy officer, will play an active role in running Sillyface’s day-to-day operations. He recently joined from Instagram, where he was director for Reels and Camera.

Margot Hauer-King, a former exec at WPP’s Team Google and partner of The Crown actor Josh O’Connor, is also joining as chief client revenue officer from start-up BeenThereDoneThat. Both will be based in New York.

Elba said the company has been launched to “bring back that feeling of creative excellence”. Having become a household name as a film and TV actor, he has branched out into production and direction with particular experience in fashion, having worked with Gucci, Christian Louboutin and Tanqueray. He also developed a wellbeing brand S’Able, with his wife Sabrina Elba, with whom he also fronts a podcast called Coupledom on Amazon’s Audible.

“We want more voices, more views and open, mutually respected ideation,” the star of Luther and The Wire said. “This new venture will give me the ability to create powerful marketing campaigns. Campaigns that will truly resonate and engage with the people I want to connect with. It will also allow me to share my knowledge and experience with other brands and co-create campaigns we’re all proud of.”

Miroma Group, a collection of creative and media agencies, includes the creative shop Fold7, media agency Wake The Bear, and Buzz16, the content production company co-founded by Sky Sports football pundit and former Manchester United captain Gary Neville. Miroma also assists with media buying for Build Media, the independent agency launched by former Mediahub CEO Danny Donovan last year.

Boyan added: “Idris and I are both from underrepresented backgrounds and we see the world a little differently. We’re aiming to bring our thinking to brands to give people a voice and share stories that resonate with the consumer, whilst keeping the brand safe from criticism.”

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