Actor Idris Elba will join the UK Crazy men advertising executives after supporting the launch of a marketing and content company in London.
Elba becomes one of the founders of the company alongside Marc Boyan, who owns the independent media group Miroma.
The new venture comes during a difficult period for many advertising agencies following a slowdown in spending across many brands, particularly in the technology sector.
However, Elba’s high profile as an actor will help the venture. He will also add a touch of glamor to the company, portrayed in the critically acclaimed American television series Crazy men.
Elba and Boyan first started talking about working on a venture after considering a bid to take over Channel 4 when the government raised the prospect of privatization last year.
Elba, who starred in television programs such as Luther And The wirehas his own brands in addition to his career in music and film.
He said consumer-focused companies were increasingly looking for different areas: “a sports brand that deals with music and music brands that deal with fashion. . . and that needs guidance”.
The new company will be called Silly Face, a name coined by Elba to reflect the need to bring a sense of fun back to businesses.
Elba wants to bring in people with different perspectives, experiences and cultural backgrounds to offer companies different ideas for their marketing.
He also said that there should be “an honest conversation . . . consumers are so smart, now they smell the nonsense, they want to be treated with more or less integrity, they want to be represented. It is difficult for brands to navigate.”
Boyan said there was “a lot of pressure” on companies given the critical scrutiny of their positions on areas such as politics, climate and diversity.
“When I walk into companies, people are a little scared. They don’t know what change looks like in the future. We are building a safe place to come together.”
Boyan’s Miroma will also provide support to the new agency, which is recruiting a team of creatives and executives.
Elba said his career had helped “get a sense of audience. . . I’ve really put my work into understanding the audience and how and what they’re responding to, and how we can continue to do that.”
He added, “I feel like the world needs to find other ways to explore ideas without the tension, without the fear of being cancelled.”
Boyan said the agency could also acquire other companies and try to produce its own content, such as short documentaries.
Miroma has a number of marketing agencies in its portfolio, including production, digital and influencer marketing. In February, it acquired a majority stake in Buzz 16, the content company launched in 2016 by footballer Gary Neville.