Type of agency
Number of UK staff
Frustrated with the constraints of public ownership, VCCP's holding company, Chime Communications, sold the agency to Providence Equity and WPP in October 2015... Read more
Marking your arrival on the scene with a multimillion-pound account win is something denied to all but a handful of agency start-ups. But that’s what happened to VCCP, which had barely drawn its first breath when O2’s £45 million pan-European business landed in its lap.
The decision stunned the industry, not least because the then Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest was given the nod over Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which appeared to have the business sewn up.
It looked a high-risk choice. As Will Harris, O2’s then marketing chief, admitted: “You’d either have to be brave or stupid to fire London’s biggest agency three months before the biggest brand launch of the year, and time will tell which one we are.”
More than a decade on, Harris has been vindicated. Not only does O2 remain a client but VCCP’s “be more dog” campaign has been one of the most talked about and effective of modern times.
Indeed, VCCP, now the biggest UK-owned agency under the Chime umbrella, has evolved into the well-rounded and multidiscipline agency that its founders had hoped to fashion.
The agency was born from the coming together of Rooney Carruthers, then the executive creative director of FCB San Francisco; Charles Vallance, the executive strategy director at WCRS; Adrian Coleman, the chief executive of the Chime division AMD; and Ian Priest, the managing director of HHCL.
The upshot has been an agency that has created communications with a reputation for engaging with consumers beyond just TV commercials. In doing so, it has transformed Comparethemarket.com’s meerkat Aleksandr Orlov into one of advertising’s most enduring characters.
Having been named Campaign’s Agency of the Year in 2013, VCCP now looks to spread its net wider, having paid a rumoured £10 million for the media independent Adconnection, which it is merging with its own in-house media planning and buying unit.