TOP PERFORMERS OF 2003: INTRODUCTION - Caroline Marshall looks back at previous winners of Campaign's Agency of the Year

By Caroline Marshall, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 12 December 2003 12:00AM

Caroline Marshall looks back at previous winners of Campaign's Agency of the Year, and outlines what has defined the perfect agency over the past 24 years.

Campaign's Agency of the Year debate has all the drama and electric atmosphere of a great theatre performance. Feelings run high, and rightly so. We know we are playing God and our opinions carry considerable weight in the industry.

On the day of reckoning, a small army of editorial staff converges on a meeting room to debate a shortlist of contenders. Presenters are armed with reels, boards and as many facts and figures as can be marshalled to make a compelling argument. For weeks before the debate, agencies have been lobbying reporters and section editors. For months, the staple topic of conversation at advertising gatherings has been which agency deserves to be considered. On the day of publication, a special atmosphere pervades the office. Champagne and irate phone calls arrive in equal measure.

This is the 24th year of Agency of the Year. A glance through this table of past winners shows that a few agencies, clients, media owners and production companies have that magic ability to set the advertising world alight repeatedly.

BMP leads the way with four accolades. Bartle Bogle Hegarty follows up with three, and since its founders were part of the team that won TBWA the very first award in 1980, we might make that 3.5. Back then, Campaign wrote that TBWA, after an unspectacular start, had "emerged as a real force in the business and looks certain to present a strong challenge to the top agencies in future years". Four shops - Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, J. Walter Thompson, Lowe and Mother - have won the award twice.

And what are we looking for? The criteria boil down to success, adherence to principles, high creative standards across a body of work and across a range of media, strong new-business record and financial base. In short, an agency that one could recommend to a client with total confidence.

At the end of the day, though, we know that these decisions are subjective.

We must feel happy about defending our choices (and we have to) and readers who dispute our decisions must be able to say: "I disagree, but I understand why those bastards at Campaign voted that way." This year, I suspect that few will ask us to defend our choice of winner. Lashings of creative excellence coupled with astute financial management, new initiatives, a generous measure of barnstorming new-business approach and a refusal to compromise its principles made BBH the clear-cut winner.

CAMPAIGN AGENCY OF THE YEAR 1980-2003

YEAR AGENCY ADVERTISER MEDIUM

1980 TBWA - -

1981 GGT - Daily Mirror

1982 Saatchi & Saatchi J. Sainsbury Guardian

1983 BMP Philips Channel 4

1984 JWT GLC Mail on Sunday

1985 Lowe Howard- Spink Guinness Eddie Shah*

1986 BBH Allied Lyons Independent

1987 DMB&B Brooke Bond Oxo Prima

1988 No winner Beecham Today

1989 HHCL Tesco Viz

1990 BMP Fuji No winner

1991 JWT BA Radio Times

1992 BMP Unilever Guardian

1993 BBH Woolworths Channel 4

1994 HHCL Tesco Classic FM

1995 AMV BBDO Daewoo Daily Mail

1996 AMV BBDO Orange Sky Television

1997 St Luke's Volkswagen FHM

1998 BMP DDB McDonald's Daily Mail

1999 M&C Saatchi French Connection Freeserve

2000 Lowe Lintas Heinz Metro

2001 Mother COI Comms. Glamour

2002 Mother Scottish Courage five

2003 BBH Honda Sky

YEAR AGENCY ADVERTISER CAMPAIGN

1980 TBWA - -

1981 GGT - -

1982 Saatchi & Saatchi J. Sainsbury -

1983 BMP Philips -

1984 JWT GLC -

1985 Lowe Howard-Spink Guinness -

1986 BBH Allied Lyons -

1987 DMB&B Brooke Bond Oxo Midland Bank (Vector)

1988 No winner Beecham BT (Beattie)

1989 HHCL Tesco Billy Graham (FCB)

1990 BMP Fuji Met. Police

1991 JWT BA J. Sainsbury

1992 BMP Unilever Tango

1993 BBH Woolworths Boddingtons

1994 HHCL Tesco Wonderbra

1995 AMV BBDO Daewoo Miller Pilsner

1996 AMV BBDO Orange Conservative Party

1997 St Luke's Volkswagen VW (Affordability)

1998 BMP DDB McDonald's VW Polo

1999 M&C Saatchi French Connection Levi's Sta-Prest

2000 Lowe Lintas Heinz Skoda

2001 Mother COI Comms. ITV Digital

2002 Mother Scottish Courage John Smith's

2003 BBH Honda 118 118

YEAR AGENCY ADVERTISER PRODUCTION MEDIA

COMPANY

1980 TBWA - - -

1981 GGT - - -

1982 Saatchi &

Saatchi J. Sainsbury - -

1983 BMP Philips - -

1984 JWT GLC - -

1985 Lowe Howard-

Spink Guinness - -

1986 BBH Allied Lyons - -

1987 DMB&B Brooke Bond Oxo - -

1988 No winner Beecham - -

1989 HHCL Tesco - -

1990 BMP Fuji - -

1991 JWT BA - -

1992 BMP Unilever - -

1993 BBH Woolworths - -

1994 HHCL Tesco Arden Suther-

land-Dodd -

1995 AMV BBDO Daewoo Paul Weiland

Films -

1996 AMV BBDO Orange Blink TMD Carat

1997 St Luke's Volkswagen Godman Michaelides

& Bednash

1998 BMP DDB McDonald's Academy New PHD

1999 M&C Saatchi French Connection Gorgeous MediaCom TMB

2000 Lowe Lintas Heinz Partizan BBJ

2001 Mother COI Comms. Gorgeous Starcom Motive

2002 Mother Scottish Courage Gorgeous Naked

2003 BBH Honda Partizan MindShare

YEAR AGENCY ADVERTISER NEW-MEDIA DIRECT

AGENCY AGENCY

1980 TBWA - - -

1981 GGT - - -

1982 Saatchi &

Saatchi J. Sainsbury - -

1983 BMP Philips - -

1984 JWT GLC - -

1985 Lowe Howard-

Spink Guinness - -

1986 BBH Allied Lyons - -

1987 DMB&B Brooke Bond Oxo - -

1988 No winner Beecham - -

1989 HHCL Tesco - -

1990 BMP Fuji - -

1991 JWT BA - -

1992 BMP Unilever - -

1993 BBH Woolworths - -

1994 HHCL Tesco - -

1995 AMV BBDO Daewoo - -

1996 AMV BBDO Orange - -

1997 St Luke's Volkswagen - -

1998 BMP DDB McDonald's - Evans Hunt

Scott

1999 M&C Saatchi French Connection - FCA!

2000 Lowe Lintas Heinz i-level WWAV Rapp

Collins

2001 Mother COI Comms. No winner Craik Jones

2002 Mother Scottish Courage Glue London HTW

2003 BBH Honda Dare Digital Craik Jones

*Media Man of the Year.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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