School Reports 2012: Dare

campaignlive.co.uk, Monday, 02 April 2012 12:00AM

The announcement that Dare was to merge with MCBD was meant to herald a future-facing new breed of agency. However, once the fanfare had died down, the age-old messiness of merging set in.

Recent work for Hovis

Recent work for Hovis

Score: 4

Agency fact file: Dare
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership EDC Communications
Key personnel Helen Calcraft chairman
  John Owen deputy chairman
  Lee Leggett chief executive
  Andy Nairn chief strategy officer
  Flo Heiss executive creative director
Nielsen billings 2011 £79m
Nielsen billings 2010 £97m
Declared income £20m (2011 estimate)
Total accounts at year end 27
Accounts won 11 (biggest: Post Office)
Accounts lost 4 (biggest: Waitrose – resigned)
Number of staff 230 (-12%)

Here were two agencies with diametrically opposed structures and processes, the smaller of which would have to take on the name of the other. Creating a new company and culture from mixing oil and water was never going to be easy.

There were many departures, including Michael Pring, the managing partner, who resigned. David Newton, its head of client services, went to VCCP, while the associate creative directors Dan Harrison and Jonny Watson joined DLKW Lowe. And, this year, it emerged that the joint executive creative director Danny Brooke-Taylor would also leave.

The shop also lost Waitrose. When MCBD merged, the account had remained at its old offices to avoid a conflict with Dare's digital client Sainsbury's. But after talks with Now, Bartle Bogle Hegarty nabbed the business. The move also resulted in the departure of the people who led it, Jeremy Carr and Melissa Robertson.

The £25 million Moneysupermarket.com business was another that moved on after the client reviewed at the beginning of the year. On the upside, the agency picked up the £12 million Post Office business.

To bolster the senior team, the joint planning director Toby Horry was promoted to managing director. John Owen, the deputy chairman, now drives the day-to-day running of the agency, alongside the chief executive, Lee Leggett. Helen Calcraft, the chairman, opted to take a step back from her role late last year.

As the agency concentrated on internal issues, work was not exactly in abundance. Notable campaigns included the decent Hovis "farmers' race" spot and online work for the National Trust.

Dare needs to shore up its new business and produce the sort of work that will bring it some momentum, so that the hard graft put in by its team in 2011 bears fruit.

Score last year: n/a

How Dare rates itself: 6

"2011 was the year in which we set out to redefine the agency model and we reached the end of our merger year with much to be proud of. Our relationships with our clients have continued to flourish and we've picked up big new-business wins and awards trophies, while successfully knitting together two strong and successful cultures. We're looking forward to 2012 with relish."

Return to the School Reports 2012 A-Z directory

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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