Top 300 Agencies: School Reports. (3 of 3)

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 25 February 2005 01:52PM

PARTNERS ANDREWS ALDRIDGE - 8

The appearance of Partners Andrews Aldridge on the shortlist for Campaign's Direct Agency of the Year award for the second time since it won the title in 2001 just goes to show that the shop remains in fine fettle.

It performs consistently well across creative, new business and client services and 2004 provided shining examples of how well it embraces each of these areas of business.

The agency clocked up more than £20 million in billings over the past year. This haul came from the existing clients Lloyds TSB and COI Communications, and new accounts from the RAC and Wales Tourist Board, for which it pitched with Wieden & Kennedy. Impressively, no clients took their business elsewhere.

The agency scooped golds for Lexus and COI at the DMA Awards and a silver at the Campaign Direct Awards for the Art Fund. The creative partner Steve Aldridge's department was bolstered by some new hirings, as well as the promotion of Shaun Moran to creative director. Partners Andrews Aldridge's strategic credentials will also get a shot in the arm this year when Kate Waters joins from Euro RSCG London as planning director.

The agency's turnover rose 24 per cent to £4.3 million in 2004 and income grew 36 per cent to £3 million. But perhaps the single biggest event in its calendar was the purchase of its independence from Havas. The breakaway makes Partners Andrews Aldridge's performance all the more impressive when compared with that of its network-backed rivals.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Phil Andrews managing partner

Steve Aldridge creative partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 n/a

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 n/a

Total accounts year end 14

Accounts gained 4

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 47

Score last year 7

PHD MEDIA - 4

At face value, 2004 looks to have been an especially difficult year for an agency that prides itself on providing exemplary client service levels through the delivery of effective media strategies. Perhaps change was inevitable, given that PHD's old guard have taken more of a back seat.

But the talk of repositioning and regeneration, however genuine, was in danger of sounding empty when the flood of clients reviewing out of the agency appeared to get out of control.

Account losses included HSBC, O2, Pizza Hut and Homebase planning, while eBay and Expedia were the only highlights on the other side of the agency ledger. The prospect of BT reviewing its media roster - PHD holds the planning brief - is also looming.

However, a closer examination reveals much has been achieved structurally, which bodes well for the future. On top of this, PHD continues to produce the effective work for which it is renowned - evident in its two golds at the Campaign Media Awards.

The creation of PHD Seed, a joint venture that enables PHD planners to work within Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, gives the agency a point of difference and could also act as a potential new-business magnet; while the Omnicom buying unit OPera gives PHD some much needed scale.

All in all, PHD's new managers will not look back on 2004 with any great satisfaction and will need to ensure the structural changes deliver results in 2005. But perhaps their biggest challenge - and something beyond their control - is the fact PHD is stranded without a network of competitive scale in a world of global pitches. It is up to Omnicom's US bosses to decide what they want to do with PHD before it disappears into its own increasingly small niche. At the moment, this problem appears to be insurmountable.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Tess Alps chairman

David Pattison chief executive

Morag Blazey managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £218m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £263m

TV billings 37%

Press billings 27%

Outdoor billings 13%

Radio billings 9%

New-media billings 2%

Below-the-line billings 11%

Other 1%

Total accounts year end 22

Accounts gained 28

Accounts lost 6

Number of staff 214

Score last year 6

PROFERO - 7

Profero's 2004 was steady rather than spectacular, with income up from £3.2 million to £3.6 million and billings increasing by £400,000.

2005's figures should more accurately reflect the impact of its decent new-business performance across the year, the highlight of which was winning Apple's high-profile pan-European and pan-Asian media account.

Profero's international push continued in 2004 with offices opening in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai and the signing of a strategic alliance in France with the media agency Media Track, designed to help it compete with the big media buying networks.

It also launched the production company Inventa in association with the DJ Pete Tong to produce bespoke content for 3G mobile phones. The introduction of more 3G services is likely to have a big impact on the telecommunications market this year and Inventa will have first-mover advantage in targeting new users.

Profero's media operation has been its strength historically but the agency produced some good creative work in 2004, particularly its campaigns for the Child Protection Agency and Ask Jeeves.

The loss of its creative communications director, Chris Baylis, to Agency Republic in December left the creative department looking a little exposed.

However, two new creatives from Saatchi & Saatchi and Patrick Collister's appointment as a non-executive director to advise and train the team should prove beneficial.

The standard of the creative work produced this year will continue to help Profero shake off the media-specialist tag as it aims to convince the market of the strength of its full-service offering.

Type of agency Digital full service

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Daryl Arnold chief executive

Wayne Arnold managing director

Declared income £3.6m

Accounts gained 10

Accounts lost 0

Creative 40%

Media planning and buying 40%

Web design/build 20%

Biggest-spending clients AstraZeneca, COI, Which?

Number of staff 50

Score last year 8

PROXIMITY LONDON - 4

Proximity's chief executive, Chris Thomas, had an unenviable job on his hands maintaining a steady ship after a tumultuous 2003, when three founding partners left.

The first half of the year proved tricky as the departures continued.

Warren Moore quit as the creative director to join the Proximity founder Simon Hall at Clemmow Hornby Inge, leaving Caitlin Ryan in sole charge of the creative department.

Tim Patten, one of Thomas' first hirings last year, took a secondment to its new client Chelsea Stores, the holding company for the Early Learning Centre and Daisy & Tom shops, and later defected.

Proximity's Persil client walked in March after six years and then Thomas and a hand-selected team became engulfed in leading Omnicom's HSBC pitch.

It cost the agency resources to no avail - WPP triumphed.

Optimistic as ever, Thomas believes the experience has stood Proximity in good stead for future group pitches. This is clearly an area in which he would like the agency to excel. After previous successes in collaborative pitches for Royal Mail and TV Licensing, Proximity teamed up with Abbott Mead Vickers to compete for Nutricia but lost to Ogilvy & Mather. Proximity fared better in the pitch for Yell's direct marketing account, which is held above the line by AMV.

The year ended on a low with the news that Proximity had been taken off Masterfoods Petcare's roster after a pitch, although the agency retains its relationship with the company's confectionery division.

Thomas has done a steady job managing a tricky task. However, the agency needs to boost new business, client retention and the profile of its creative work in order to really raise its game in 2005.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Chris Thomas chief executive

Caitlin Ryan creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £9m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £12m

Total accounts year end 19

Accounts gained 6

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 260

Score last year 5

PUBLICIS - 5

Publicis hired Tim Lindsay as its UK group chairman last year and declared its intention to resolve one of adland's abiding mysteries: why does an agency that rides high in the rankings and produces populist ads for a string of famous clients have such a low profile?

The former Lowe Worldwide president has been set two challenges: win Publicis the recognition it believes is due, and deliver on its vision of integrated communications. "Publicis remains one of the industry's best-kept secrets," Lindsay says.

There is little doubt the catalyst for much of what is happening was the failure of Publicis to capture Boots' £90 million integrated account.

Spurred on by Rick Bendel, the network's chief operating officer, Lindsay's task is to make the Publicis integrated offering so compelling that such a setback will not be repeated.

He has set about his mission in determined fashion, picking Mark Cramphorn to take on the newly created role of general manager with a brief to create greater synergies across the group.

Meanwhile, the gap left by Derek Morris' departure for ZenithOptimedia has been filled by the former Lowe chairman, Paul Edwards. It will be up to him, as chief strategy officer, to build the group's planning expertise across all its communications disciplines.

At the same time, the group has plugged a significant gap in its armoury by launching a UK public relations division, Publicis Consultants.

Whether all this will be enough to improve on last year's sluggish new-business performance remains to be seen. Although Maynards confectionery, Powergen, Zurich financial services and the bookmaking chain Paddy Power arrived, the agency lost an uncomfortable amount of domestic clients.Muller, Allied Bakeries and the healthcare company Wyeth all departed in a trend Publicis must halt if it is going to sustain its UK weight.

The agency also still has some way to go creatively. Can anybody explain what "Your happiness loves Cadbury" is all about?

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Publicis Groupe subsidiary

Key personnel Tim Lindsay group chairman

Paul Edwards chief strategy officer

Nik Studzinski executive creative

director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £287m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £280m

Total accounts year end 55

Accounts gained 5

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 569

Score last year 6

PWLC - 6

Mike Phillipson did not endear himself to the ad community outside London when, three years ago, he formed PWLC in Leeds to deliver what he claimed would be a quality service most regional shops were ill-equipped to provide.

This might have seemed like pride heading for a fall on the part of the former marketing chief of Time Computers and head of brand communications at First Direct but, by 2004, such thoughts could be dispelled.

PWLC is knocking on the door of the top 20 with a client roster - Fox's Biscuits, Alliance & Leicester, BSkyB and DFS - that would please any Soho shop.

Indeed, Phillipson predicts the agency will make the breakthrough this year en route to the top ten within five years. If he achieves this, PWLC will be the first regional agency to attain such a status.

Nevertheless, the high comfort factor London agencies offer big advertisers is hard - in some cases, impossible - to overcome. Therefore, it will come as little surprise if PWLC establishes a London bridgehead either through acquisition or partnership.

Meanwhile, the agency draws satisfaction from a 70 per cent pitch conversion rate and the fact that it has not lost a single account. Even its failure to capture the Thomas Cook business last year was counterbalanced by Fox's, which assigned four additional brands to complement the two already handled.

But the agency is weak creatively. Its place in the billings table may be sustained by DFS's £70 million spend but the client does nothing for PWLC's creative reputation. For the future, PWLC will be hoping there are enough clients sufficiently bruised by London agencies to take their accounts up north.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Mike Phillipson chief executive

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £53m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £41m

Total accounts year end 16

Accounts gained 5

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 25

Score last year N/A

QUIET STORM - 4

Chris Hunton's arrival as the managing director and managing partner of Quiet Storm proved to be the most significant event in an otherwise quiet year for the agency.

The former McCann Erickson chief executive, who left just a year-and-a-half after landing the top job, is the type of high-profile signing the small shop needs if it is to complete the transition into a fully fledged creative agency and finally shake off its image as a project-based outfit.

But the agency faces an uphill struggle if it is to shake up its new-business hit rate against the larger outfits. This was undoubtedly the agency's biggest downfall in 2004. Despite muscling its way on to a number of shortlists, including Nokia Vertu, Emap and Bourne Leisure, it converted only the Sci-Fi Channel and Crimestoppers, in collaboration with Rocket, bringing in additional billings of just £600,000.

Meanwhile, there were a couple of small but significant losses. Golden Wonder consolidated the bulk of its advertising into JWT and removed the Wheat Crunchies brand from Quiet Storm without a pitch. In addition, the agency resigned Lastminute.com, citing differences over fees and the desire to agree a longer-term commitment from the client.

A creative high point was the virtual chef for Schwartz (although the client has since called a review). Devised to promote the brand's cooking sauces, it was further evidence of Quiet Storm's desire to develop edgy campaigns for everyday food items.

But all in all, 2004 did not deliver the accomplishments 2003 had suggested it might. The agency needs to beef up its senior management line-up further - particularly in light of the fact that Hunton's name is being linked with a role at Lowe -and kick-start its new-business machine to stop 2005 being a similar disappointment.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Chris Hunton managing director

Trevor Robinson creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £10m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £8m

Total accounts year end 14

Accounts gained 3

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 24

Score last year 6

RAINEY KELLY CAMPBELL ROALFE/Y&R - 6

When an agency's founders announce their intention to step down, it usually spells disaster for those left behind to pick up the pieces.

But things work slightly differently at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, where a robust succession management plan has been installed to counter that possibility.

So when towards the end of 2004, MT Rainey and Jim Kelly joined Robert Campbell in planning their exit from the agency they launched 11 years ago, the next generation of management was already waiting in the wings to take up the reins.

James Murphy, a long-serving member of the agency's leadership team, was promoted to chief executive, while the sole remaining co-founder, the executive creative director, Mark Roalfe, was elevated to the role of chairman.

Whether some of the clients close to Rainey and Kelly will choose to reconsider their loyalties remains to be seen. But for the time being, the agency looks to have the best team in place to sustain its momentum.

Once again, it has turned in a solid new-business performance without incurring a single loss. Accantia, Powerhouse and Learn Direct all strengthened the agency's billings.

On the creative front, the awards did not flood in as thick and fast as they did in 2003. However, the agency was crowned the IPA's joint Effectiveness Agency of the Year (sharing with DDB London) for the first time, owing to its dedication to effectiveness and the consistently high standard of its submissions.

Its funky, eye-catching and sometimes controversial Virgin Mobile campaigns earned an IPA gold, along with two silvers for Marks & Spencer and Virgin Trains. It also won handsomely at the Campaign Poster and Press Awards for Land Rover and The Times.

The long-standing Virgin client reaffirmed its commitment to RKCR/Y&R by handing it the £12 million Virgin Megastore business, the agency's largest win of the year.

The agency may have sailed through the choppy waters of 2004, but this year its fledging management team has the daunting task of proving it can match the achievements of its illustrious predecessors.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

Key personnel James Murphy chief executive

Mark Roalfe chairman and executive

creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £179m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £187m

Total accounts year end 32

Accounts gained 8

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff n/s

Score last year 7

RAPIER - 6

For Rapier, 2004 was dominated by the activity of its single biggest client, the AA. In January, the agency consolidated its position as the motoring services brand's lead creative agency, scooping the £20 million below-the-line acquisition business, bringing its total billings from the client to £70 million.

But by October, Rapier was faced with the daunting uncertainty that so often results from management changes at a prized client, after Centrica sold the AA to the venture capitalists CVC and Permira.

Things were looking favourable for Rapier again by December, though.

Its position on the roster looked safe, and there was even the prospect of pinching the AA's branding business from M&C Saatchi (both agencies are still pitching for the business as this report went to press).

Such a big distraction from its flagship client could so easily have consumed the agency. But instead it was business as usual. Its work for the AA won a bronze at the IPA Effectiveness Awards and the agency won a gold at the IPA's Excellence in Continuous Professional Development Awards. It won the latter for overhauling its approach to account management and improving its training and development during a difficult year, at a time when many other agencies were bogged down in cost-cutting exercises.

Its low points were the losses of the Co-op's member services direct marketing account and the part of HSBC it handled. Both were the result of changes in strategy and reviews of clients' through-the-line activity and, although neither loss was the agency's fault, Rapier now has a financial services-shaped hole in its portfolio.

The agency continued to produce charming work under its executive creative director, John Townshend, and his trusty lieutenant, David Prideaux, who was promoted to creative director. A creative highlight was a Direct Marketing Association gold for its DaimlerChrysler Smart Car work.

The loss of John Hiney, the business director on the AA, to Harrison Troughton Wunderman could prove costly. However, Rapier's chief executive Jonathan Stead's no-nonsense leadership means the agency remains on a steady track.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Jonathan Stead chief executive

John Townshend executive creative

director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £23m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £12m

Total accounts year end 11

Accounts gained 1

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 90

Score last year 6

RISE COMMUNICATIONS - 5

Rise faced a hard time in 2004 and, at one point, its descent into the depths threatened to make a mockery of its optimistic airborne moniker.

Last summer, Andrew Goulborn, who founded the agency little more than a year before with Simon Mathews, decided to leave. This had more to do with him being offered his dream job (of marketing director at Ipswich Town, the football team he's supported all his life) than problems at Rise.

However, his departure left Mathews and the other remaining partner, John Wigram, with a headache and plenty of work to do throughout the summer months. But the two scrapped away and Rise had a relatively successful year.

Last year, we set Rise the task of developing new business into long-term retained business and it did this well. Six accounts won in 2003, including Metro newspaper, Reckitt Benkiser and The National Magazine Company, were still active throughout 2004.

The agency didn't lose a retained account and added seven wins, including Richmond Foods (won through the AAR), AOL, BT and NatMags' Zest magazine.

Its work ranges from communications strategy on some clients to business strategy and new-product development for others.

Rise's year ended well. It recruited a third partner to replace Goulborn, the ZenithOptimedia board director Olly Joyce. The AOL win in December was also a boost and income for 2004 was up 16 per cent on 2003.

There's no doubt that Rise lost some momentum with the loss of Goulborn, but the other partners remain hungry and with Joyce on board there is more optimism surrounding 2005.

Obviously, Rise should aim for stability in 2005, keeping its partners and key clients on board. Beyond that, more new business would be welcome.

Type of agency Communications planning

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Simon Mathews partner

John Wigram partner

Olly Joyce partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 n/a

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 n/a

Total accounts year end 14

Accounts gained 7

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 3

Score last year 5

SAATCHI & SAATCHI - 4

Saatchi & Saatchi began 2004 with one new management team and ended it with another. Indeed, last year was yet another troubled 12 months for the staff at 80 Charlotte Street.

Led for most of 2004 by its chief executive, Kevin Dundas, and its executive creative director, Tony Granger, Saatchis failed to improve on a dismal 2003, epitomised by its continued failure to make its mark on the new-business scene.

The agency was again notably absent from the year's major pitchlists and even when its Mr Kipling account went up for review in March, Saatchis did not repitch.

It did see some small successes, with Visa extending its relationship and appointing Saatchis to its UK task, and Saga handing the agency its financial services business. The network was also appointed to the £55 million Bel account across Europe, with London as the lead agency.

Internally, the agency suffered from management changes and, no sooner had the Dundas/Granger team settled in than they were replaced. Granger's move to New York in September left the creative department with a part-time head, while Dundas' move to a worldwide planning role led to a third chief executive appointment in as many years.

At the end of the year, Lee Daley and Kate Stanners were drafted in as the new chief executive and the executive creative director respectively, and already there has been perceptible change. Daley immediately addressed the issue of second-tier management with the internal appointment of John Wright as the managing director, a position which Saatchis, remarkably for an agency of its size, has been without since September 2003.

In the creative department, Stanners' task is to develop output beyond the traditional outlets, an area the agency is wise to address.

Creatively, at least, the agency's output took a turn for the better in 2004. After a rocky 2003, the department regrouped and has produced some striking work for the NSPCC and ambitious creative for Procter & Gamble.

Even so, Saatchis needs some major re-energising and profile-raising if it is to recapture its former glory; Daley seems to have set about this with real vigour. Without doubt, new-business success must also be a real priority this year.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Publicis Groupe subsidiary

Key personnel Lee Daley chief executive

John Wright managing director

Kate Stanners executive creative

director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £221m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £213m

Total accounts year end 31

Accounts gained 4

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 500

Score last year 3

SOUL - 4

The year 2004 won't go down as one of the best in Soul's four-year history, but then it hasn't been disastrous either. During the first three years of its life, the agency built a strong client list at a time when falling budgets didn't bode well for small independents.

Its decision to place equal emphasis on media planning and creativity showed an understanding of the market ahead of its time and provided a positioning that was popular with clients. However, this year its healthy growth showed signs of abating.

Its triumphs in the pitches for the global Drambuie advertising account and the launch of the Tresemme haircare brand in the UK were all but wiped out as the furniture retailer Harvey's moved its £8 million business and the food brand Aunt Bessie's walked.

Soul's work has been largely unawarded, although there is evidence that it is effective. Tresemme became the second-best-selling haircare brand in the UK just eight weeks after the roll-out of its TV spots featuring Ricardo from The Salon. The launch of the new "everything's fantastic" campaign saw Fanta record its highest tracking scores ever and sales were up year on year for the third consecutive year.

Still, there is a distinct absence of a high-billing, defining client in either the car or telecommunications sectors, areas in which Soul's management team have plenty of expertise.

As a high-profile Bartle Bogle Hegarty breakaway, Soul has historically enjoyed its fair share of headlines. Three years on, and its lack of creative fame and absence from pitchlists means the agency is in danger of falling off the map.

Type of agency Advertising and media planning

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Andy Bird founder

Duncan Bird founder

Kevin Brown founder

Bruce Crouch founder

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £12m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £12m

Total accounts year end 10

Accounts gained 5

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 30

Score last year 6

ST LUKE'S - 6

Following a difficult 2003, St Luke's dusted itself down, regrouped and found itself in pretty good shape by the end of 2004.

Having steered the agency through last year's heated management fallout, its joint managing directors, Phil Teer and Neil Henderson, now have a stable agency which has been well equipped to get on some of the year's notable pitchlists.

New business was the agency's mission for 2004 and it attacked the challenge with gusto, adding £37 million in new wins. As well as holding on to all of its accounts, it added Magic FM, Mothercare and an Electoral Commission brief from COI Communications to its client list.

Its real billings boost came with BT's vote of renewed confidence when it handed St Luke's the £20 million, pan-European information communications technology (ICT) task at the start of the year. Meanwhile, the agency picked up the £15 million brief to develop a BT strapline, adopted by BT's other roster agencies, Fallon and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

This success might explain the sense of enthusiasm and self-belief coursing through the agency which, in turn, has translated into some sound creative work.

The year saw the continuation and development of St Luke's campaign for Clarks, as well as the BT pan-European blockbuster, "digital network", and a new campaign for the Electoral Commission.

Despite selling its stake in the digital agency Glue London, St Luke's acquisition of the design and brand consultancy The Nest showed it understands the importance of boosting its offering and developing new sources of income. With suggestions of direct marketing tie-ups or acquisitions in the pipeline, it looks likely that the agency's diversification strategy will continue this year.

St Luke's has shown that it can get on to the major pitchlists again - and put up a good fight too. But next year it must work hard to reduce its reliance on BT and win some other big billing clients. Then it can say with confidence that the ghosts of the influential co-founders Andy Law and Kate Stanners, who left in 2003, have been well and truly laid to rest.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Phil Teer joint managing director

Neil Henderson joint managing director

Al Young executive creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £40m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £44m

Total accounts year end 14

Accounts gained 5

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 82

Score last year 2

STARCOM - 5

After all the celebratory fireworks of 2003, released when the internal problems were finally resolved and a coherent Starcom UK Group finally became a reality, it's difficult not to see 2004 as something of a damp squib.

Sure, there were some highlights - including winning the £7 million Pizza Hut business, £17 million Kraft and Harvey's accounts - but these were too few and too far between when compared with what was lost.

Starcom got into the very bad (or bold) habit of resigning accounts after reviews were called. Heinz, Lego and Kia cars all left the agency this way, and with other losses including WHSmith and the planning for Jacob's, the over-riding impression was of an agency that was still some way from firing on all cylinders.

That said, it must be remembered that the Starcom Group is still a relatively new entity with a management team that endured a wholesale reshuffle of their responsibilities, so some disruption was inevitable.

While far from seamless, the merger didn't produce the bloodletting that might have been feared when compared with some of its rivals (Mediaedge:cia and ZenithOptimedia spring to mind).

This period of relative stability allowed the agency to undergo some surgery, including the launch of some new group divisions such as Starcom Digital, Starcom Direct and Starcom Sports Marketing. These could auger well for the future and also provide additional revenue streams for the Starcom paymasters.

With all of the bits of the Starcom jigsaw now in place and the management team all bedded in, a similar performance this year is inexcusable. Starcom has got the talent and the scale to match any of its rivals and the forthcoming COI Communications and BT pitches will be the ultimate test of its true mettle.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Publicis Groupe subsidiary

Key personnel Mark Cranmer chief executive,

Starcom Mediavest Group EMEA

Jim Marshall chairman, Starcom UK Group

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £673m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £649m

TV billings 60.6%

Press billings 22.9%

Outdoor billings 6.35%

Radio billings 3.52%

New-media billings 3.63%

Below-the-line billings 3%

Other 0%

Total accounts year end 135

Accounts gained 38

Accounts lost 4

Number of staff 330

Score last year 5

TBWA\LONDON - 6

After several hugely successful years, TBWA\London sailed into stormy waters in 2004. Shaken by the loss of the mobile operator 3, its biggest account, and suffering from an unsettled senior management team, the agency experienced an uncharacteristically shaky year.

2004 began badly when 3 left for WCRS months after reappointing TBWA to its £53 million account. Thomas Cook also departed, later assigning the agency to work on a project basis, while Abbey's acquisition by Grupo Santander meant TBWA's hold on another of its major accounts appeared unsteady.

As if all that wasn't enough, the agency kept a low profile on 2004's big pitchlists. It picked up Gossard and Tussauds but its new-business highlight came in October when it picked up the £20 million Muller account.

The agency's coffers were also fattened when Masterfoods handed it Pedigree and Skittles in February and then Twix, Galaxy and Starburst later in the year as part of a global shift out of Grey.

Creatively, the agency remained at the top of its game and its PlayStation "mountain" commercial walked off with the Grand Prix at Cannes. Strong work for French Connection, Apple and John Smith's contributed to an impressive reel, but the departure of the deputy creative director, Paul Silburn, to Fallon Minneapolis was a blow for the department.

A further setback for the agency was the near-departure of the managing director, Jonathan Mildenhall, for New York. His future, unresolved until January, bred uncertainty among staff and clients.

2205 is likely to see the newly promoted European president, Paul Bainsfair, keep a close eye on the London agency's performance. The pressure is on to replace 3's lost billings and return to the higher plane TBWA normally occupies.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Trevor Beattie chairman and creative

director

Andrew McGuinness chief executive

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £173m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £237m

Total accounts year end 40

Accounts gained 11

Accounts lost 4

Number of staff 250

Score last year 8

TEQUILA\LONDON

Tequila and TBWA\GGT eventually merged into the combined outfit Tequila\London in 2004 (hence no score in this report), ending the anomaly of TBWA\Worldwide having two direct marketing operations in London.

The move, which had been widely expected because Tequila's international presence had eclipsed that of the London-centred GGT, has given Omnicom a strong below-the-line network. The two agencies bring complementary skills to the mix and Tequila's strength in sales promotion should enhance the offering of GGT, which has a reputation for strong strategic and creative work.

The merger has gone smoothly to date and the agency's management teams have married well. The former heads of Tequila and GGT, Tim Bonnet and Penny Reid respectively, were made joint chief executives. GGT's creative director, Nick Moore, took overall creative charge with Tequila's creative director, Nick Schanche, reporting to him. Mike Cornwell, previously the chief executive of GGT, moved sideways and was handed the role of European managing director.

The first major challenge for the new agency will be new business and neither shop performed well in this respect last year. Tequila managed to hold on to all of its clients but only picked up a few small new accounts, including the Gala Group bingo and casino chain and a place on Lever Faberge's household products roster. GGT fared worse, losing Vauxhall.

Yet Vauxhall's departure helped overcome a major client clash with Tequila (which holds the Nissan account) and so helped make the merger possible.

However, this was small comfort for GGT, which counted Vauxhall as one of its biggest and oldest clients.

The agency's focus for the new year will be to bed the merger down as quickly as possible. This is essential to keep staff upheaval to a minimum and will enable Tequila\London to concentrate on its combined client list - which includes big-spending direct marketers such as the One Account - and winning more business.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Tim Bonnet joint chief executive

Penny Reid joint chief executive

Nick Moore creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 n/a

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 n/a

Total accounts year end 35

Accounts gained 12

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 270

Score last year N/A

THE ALLMOND PARTNERSHIP - 4

The Allmond Partnership was on a high after winning the Weetabix business towards the end of 2003. It was moving into 2004 as a newly independent agency that had just won a large domestic account. With this in mind, 2004 turned out to be a disappointing year for TAP.

The initial appetite was certainly there but the agency suffered a sickening blow in April, when it lost its £33 million O2 buying account to ZenithOptimedia.

Last year, we asked whether TAP could harness the momentum it had built up and move beyond its BT television buying expertise. The loss of O2 did not help but under the chief executive, Nigel Allmond, and managing director, Paul Longhurst, the agency pressed on with a series of changes.

It hired its first communications strategy director (Abba Newbery from Universal McCann) and promoted Leigh Yoxall and Kerry Howard to associate directors to boost the management team.

TAP's Ape TV interactive division had a good year, winning a BSkyB Award for developing the best interactive advertising idea for Weetabix's Weetos.

However, its attempts to diversify were dealt a blow by the departure of the press director, Nigel Breckon.

There was bad news in September when TAP lost the £7 million Yell TV buying business. The agency faced a difficult situation because of conflict between Yell's Yellow Pages and BT's rival directory The Phone Book.

TAP will face a nightmarish 2005 if BT presses on with plans to consolidate its £100 million spend into one advertising holding company. But, if it can hold on to BT and win some smaller UK business, 2005 will be a qualified success for one of the few remaining independent media agencies.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Nigel Allmond chief executive

Paul Longhurst managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £68m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £77m

TV billings 92%

Press billings 4%

Outdoor billings 1%

Radio billings 1%

New-media billings 0%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 2%

Total accounts year end 11

Accounts gained 1

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 19

Score last year 7

THE INGRAM PARTNERSHIP - 6

When The Ingram Partnership celebrated its first anniversary in October, Chris Ingram marked the event by reiterating his ambition to revolutionise the marketing communications business for the second time in his career.

Yet with more than 12 months of work under its belt, TIP's revolution seems to be a quiet one. As with most other companies in the consultancy territory, observers find it difficult to judge progress and measure success.

Certainly, TIP has had a lower profile and made less of a noise in the industry than you might expect from the collection of heavyweight talent its name represents.

Much of this is undoubtedly due to the fact TIP only takes on strategic tasks and does not offer implementation of any sort. TIP claims to have won more than 40 projects of this sort and boasts a client list that includes 20th Century Fox, London 2012, BT, Diageo, Guardian Media Group, COI Communications, Bosch and Carphone Warehouse.

And since the ambition has always been to work at a very senior client level, it is not surprising that many of these projects have included strategic consultancy on an international basis. But how much of this business is sustainable is probably hard for even TIP to gauge.

The company does seem to have been successful in establishing a dialogue at an enviably senior level within client companies - half of its relationships are at marketing director level and 25 per cent at chairman or chief executive level. Some questions remain over whether the disparate people and companies that were brought together under TIP are really operating as a coherent, integrated unit.

A clearer public positioning, more openness about its work and a greater sense of teamwork should all be high on TIP's agenda for 2005. And although most business to date has come from referrals, the company really needs to market itself more effectively if it is to spark any sort of revolution.

Type of agency Strategic brand and comms

consultancy

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Chris Ingram founding partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 n/a

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 n/a

Total accounts year end n/a

Accounts gained n/a

Accounts lost n/a

Number of staff 28

Score last year N/A

TRIBAL DDB - 6

The year began badly for Tribal, when four of its brightest stars, including the creative directors, Sam Ball and Dave Bedwood, quit to set up their own agency. But the managing director, Ciaran Deering, made the most of the opportunity to refresh his management team with some high-profile and senior hirings, as well as promoting Ben Clapp to the creative director's role.

Neil Hughston, a former board account director at Publicis, joined as the head of client services, Nigel Palmer from Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners was made senior account director and Robin O'Neill, who set up Media Contacts at Media Planning Group, was appointed head of media.

Losing the British Gas business was another blow, although Tribal managed to hold on to the account for longer than many expected following the move of the above-the-line business out of DDB and into Clemmow Hornby Inge.

Tribal did well to make up the difference, winning £1.2 million of new business from Austravel, BT Yahoo!, Axa, Harvey Nichols and Philips. The Austravel and BT Yahoo! briefs involved full brand repositioning and campaigns using a wide range of digital elements.

The agency branched out into some new areas, notably producing its first television ads using Flash for TUI's low-cost airline, Thomson Fly. Tribal also devised nice campaigns for the Volkswagen Golf V and The Guardian and will be looking to produce more good work under the auspices of its youthful creative chief.

Customer relationship marketing will be another focus for the agency in 2005. Deering has identified e-mail marketing and data capture as an area that offers huge growth opportunities.

Type of agency Digital advertising

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Ciaran Deering managing director

Ben Clapp creative director

Declared income n/s

Accounts gained 5

Accounts lost 1

Creative 40%

Media planning and buying 20%

Web design/build 40%

Biggest-spending clients Volkswagen, Philips, TUI

Number of staff 50

Score last year N/A

TULLO MARSHALL WARREN - 8

Tullo Marshall Warren's 16th year was one of its best ever. It started with a restructure that promoted Sean Dewhurst and Chris Freeland to joint managing directors. Tequila\London's Julia Foster was then installed as its new-business director and Julie Roberts later joined as the group account director.

The agency pulled in ten new accounts in 2004 and won extra business from its existing clients Guinness and Coca-Cola.

It embarked on a potentially lucrative relationship with Royal Bank of Scotland by winning the company's FastPay account. It picked up a direct brief for Lloyds TSB and then cemented its relationship with Lever Faberge by splitting the Persil account with Tequila\London.

A place on the Visit Britain and Post Office rosters followed. By the end of the year, the agency had also won the Sight Savers, Coutts and Diners Club accounts, a new product launch from Thomas Cook Signature and digital assignments from Age Concern, Cadbury Schweppes, the Carbon Trust and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The only setback came in November, when Morgan Stanley decided to review its £20 million consumer banking account, although TMW was invited to repitch.

Last year was another good one for the creative director, Daren Kay, and his boss, Paul Tullo, who have worked hard to show the agency is as much about strong executions as it is about strategy.

In recent years, TMW's relationship with Guinness has become one of the most fruitful in direct marketing. The pairing netted a silver at the Campaign Direct Awards, while, at the same ceremony, TMW landed an Agency of the Year gold. It also scooped a gold Lion at Cannes and seven DMA/Royal Mail Awards (three gold, two silver, two bronze).

The agency that has been the surprise package of the direct industry over the past few years put in a blistering performance in 2004. TMW may not be independent for very much longer if it maintains this form.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Sean Dewhurst joint managing director

Chris Freeland joint managing director

Paul Tullo executive creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £3m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £2m

Total accounts year end 40

Accounts gained 10

Accounts lost 4

Number of staff 170

Score last year N/A

UNIVERSAL MCCANN - 4

It is hard not to feel sorry for the management of Universal's UK operation. Traditionally dependent on network business, the London agency has suffered blow after blow as its network has continued to haemorrhage accounts.

Universal's joint managing directors, Andy Jones and Damian Blackden, were put in place at the end of 2003. They began 2004 energetically, focusing on new business and building the agency's planning resource following the departures of the previous year.

In the first half of the year, the agency landed RHM, Telegraph Group and More Th>n, amounting to £35 million in combined billings. It also retained the fashion retailer H&M after a pitch. Universal was more than punching its weight in domestic pitches.

The quality of its work was also high. Perhaps surprisingly, given its grey reputation, Universal emerged as one of the more creative agencies of the year, winning two prizes at the Campaign Media Awards for its Bacardi and H&M work.

In personnel terms, Russell Place was promoted to planning director to replace Abba Newbery, who departed for The Allmond Partnership.

A sense of energy was building around the agency before the inevitable network problems occurred. Universal lost T-Mobile across Europe, leading to a £20 million loss in the UK. Nestle was a global loss, resulting in a chunk of the UK business moving out of Universal. It also lost Panasonic as part of a pan-European review. In between, the agency lost the BSkyB account, which it had held for seven years, to MediaCom.

However, there was better news in October when Universal landed the Burton's Food account. The SC Johnson broadcast account also came its way as part of a global realignment.

Last year, we set Universal the task of winning more business than it lost and in 2004 it failed to do this. Sky's departure was a big blow but Universal managed to win enough UK-only business to cover this. A stronger vision from Interpublic for the Universal network would benefit its London agency significantly.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Interpublic subsidiary

Key personnel Damian Blackden joint managing

director

Andy Jones joint managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £338m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £325m

TV billings 59%

Press billings 24%

Outdoor billings 10%

Radio billings 4%

New-media billings 0%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 3%

Total accounts year end 80

Accounts gained 4

Accounts lost 4

Number of staff 102

Score last year 6

VALLANCE CARRUTHERS COLEMAN PRIEST - 8

When you consider that the founders of Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest devised the strategy for Orange while at WCRS, it is not surprising their subsequent transformation of BT Cellnet into O2 has elevated the brand from the poor relation of its sector to a contender for its crown.

Indeed, the agency's dedication to long-term branding enabled it to win the Grand Prix at the IPA Effectiveness Awards while also triumphing in the Effectiveness Agency of the Year category for shops billing under £100 million a year. If this were not enough, the agency was the first in the award's history to win the top prize on its debut.

It is easy to forget this agency "minnow" is only in its third year.

It proves consistently that size isn't everything by snatching the big accounts from the larger players time and time again.

Hyundai and Diet Coke were both seduced by the VCCP appeal in 2004. And, thanks to the arrival of Capri Sun, Dyson and Jordans, the agency guaranteed itself a credible position in the new-business league with no losses for the second consecutive year.

The agency's success is rooted in strong strategic thinking, led by the planning founder, Charles Vallance, However, this regularly appears to be achieved at the cost of creative integrity, an area that needs to be addressed in 2005.

All in all, however, it is pretty impressive stuff for what is still a fledging outfit. If it continues in the same vein, yet more big clients are likely to fall for the charm of VCCP's tightly integrated campaigns at the expense of the industry's established leaders.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Charles Vallance founding partner

Adrian Coleman chairman

Ian Priest managing director

Rooney Carruthers creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £73m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £43m

Total accounts year end 17

Accounts gained 9

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 86

Score last year 7

VIZEUM - 5

While 2004 was the year Trista Grant achieved some sort of equilibrium in her work/life balance by going part-time, the agency she left behind appeared to have a rough time of it. Grant's replacement, the respected Chris Boothby, took on the role of operations director with responsibility for the day-to-day running of the agency. He immediately had to prove his sea legs by settling the Vizeum vessel as it lurched from highs to lows and back again.

The year got off to a disappointing start when Vizeum lost its long-standing £10 million RHM account. There was also some confusing Aegis Media jiggery-pokery as Vizeum was forced to sacrifice its equally important £30 million Disney brief to its sister agency Carat.

Frustratingly for the new management team, 2004 also ended on a low with the departure of the planning business for its £25 million BMW account, which went to the newly created WCRS/Naked start-up, Element. However, there were moments to savour in between. Vizeum's European network offered up sizeable new business in the form of Heinz and Panasonic, while the UK office won Npower and easyJet independently.

The Vizeum position, based on neologisms such as "connectology", seems to turn off as many clients as it turns on. But it is difficult not to feel some pangs of nostalgia for the days when the agency was known as BBJ ( it wasn't broken, so why did they attempt to fix it?). That said, it must be gratifying for Vizeum's management that the agency plays such a pivotal role in the network, which would do well to learn from the UK rather than impose its culture upon it. Consistency will be the key to success in 2005, as will sorting out a stronger, cleaner, senior management line-up.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Aegis subsidiary

Key personnel Trista Grant managing director

Chris Boothby operations director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £176m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £206m

TV billings 49%

Press billings 17%

Outdoor billings 10%

Radio billings 2%

New-media billings 4%

Below-the-line billings 12%

Other 6%

Total accounts year end 29

Accounts gained 8

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 76

Score last year 5

WALKER MEDIA - 7

It seemed inevitable that the news of Christine Walker's and Phil Georgiadis' ascent up the ranks of media's rich list would overshadow what was another solid year for Walker Media. So first the juicy stuff.

The sale of 25 per cent of the agency's equity to M&C Saatchi gave M&C a 75 per cent stake, valuing Walker's stake at £6 million and Georgiadis' at £1.5 million. With best practice in corporate governance to consider, the partners took the respective roles of chairman and chief executive.

While the sums involved may be eye-watering, there was no "fat cat" behaviour.

It is to their collective credit that Walker and Georgiadis also gave some of the equity to long-standing employees such as the broadcast director, Jon Horrocks.

Despite this new-found - or newly replenished - wealth, the agency's management did not take its eye off the new-business machine.

Wins such as Drambuie, US Tourism, Halfords and Multiyork all demonstrate that the management still has fire in its belly and an ability to seize accounts from larger rivals. Indeed, a glance at the agency rankings reveals that Walker Media has already leapfrogged Aegis Media's Vizeum and WPP's Mediaedge:cia.

The only cloud on the horizon came when the agency's grasp on its Marks & Spencer account looked potentially under threat following the arrival of yet another management team at the beleaguered retailer. So far it remains buttoned down.

All in all, the Walker Media management can look back on the past year with some satisfaction, and not just for the improvements in their personal bank balances. With the earn-out some years away, the challenge now is to make the most of the agency's position - it is neither part of a fully formed network nor a media independent - to ensure the cogs of the new Walker Media machine keep turning.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership M&C Saatchi subsidiary

Key personnel Christine Walker partner

Phil Georgiadis partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £197m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £173m

TV billings 48%

Press billings 38%

Outdoor billings 4%

Radio billings 4%

New-media billings 1%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 5%

Total accounts year end 60

Accounts gained 7

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 52

Score last year 6

WALSH TROTT CHICK SMITH - 6

When Daniel Taylor joined as the managing partner at the end of 2003, he said Walsh Trott Chick Smith needed a firecracker putting up its arse and that he was the fuse. He took a bit of a ribbing from his peers at the time but there is no denying his arrival coincided with a change in the agency's attitude and fortunes. It therefore came as a blow to the agency to learn that Taylor was quitting in 2005.

The agency began 2004 with modest wins for Superdrug and the children's channel Nick Junior, but it focused on client service and minimising the fall-out from the potentially damaging exit of the hugely influential Amanda Walsh.

Then Will Hamilton, the former WCRS and McCann Erickson marketing director, came on board. He brought energy and enthusiasm to the agency's new-business effort and implemented the systems required to give it a much-needed kick-start. His efforts led to the defining moment in Walsh Trott's year, when the pitch team of the three founding partners, Dave Trott, Murray Chick and Gordon Smith, beat Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and St Luke's to the £15 million launch of Sainsbury's car insurance. This victory helped Walsh Trott increase its revenues by a third.

Until this point, the agency faced constant criticism for not using its greatest asset - Trott - to his full potential. However, the Sainsbury's pitch, coupled with D&AD's decision to hand Trott the long-overdue president's honour, has resulted in Trott being thrust once more into the spotlight, whether he likes it or not. He now has a client of stature and with it the spend to allow him to create work that puts his agency back on the creative map.

Apart from its decision to resign Ryvita, the agency lost no other accounts over the past year. This means it now boasts a fairly robust client list, including some enviable brands such as The Independent and Daihatsu. The onus is now on the agency, and Trott especially, to prove it can produce advertising that will win the admiration of more clients of a similar calibre.

Taylor's decision to move to Burkitt DDB this year, however, indicates growth is not going to come easily.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Murray Chick chairman

Dave Trott creative partner

Gordon Smith creative partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £31m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £18m

Total accounts year end 29

Accounts gained 3

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 30

Score last year 4

WCRS - 8

After a turbulent couple of years, the tide finally turned for WCRS and, with the completion of its management buyout in April, new life was breathed into the agency, most remarkably into the new-business department.

Here, the agency went from strength to strength and the year was characterised by one successful pitch after another. The highlight was unquestionably winning the £53 million 3 account. WCRS did well to ingratiate itself with the client, which moved from TBWA\London without a pitch.

Other notable wins included Phones 4U, Mr Kipling, NiQuitin and the Vertu handset business, which placed WCRS on the Nokia roster.

Wins outweighed losses in 2004. The £16 million Debenhams account went to Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, while First Direct moved to WPP as part of HSBC's global realignment. The substantial billings from 3 will also go some way to compensating WCRS's loss of Camelot at the end of 2003.

WCRS has also been busy expanding its offering and, having set up Meme, Personal, Huge Entertainment and Element, it is now equipped to create digital campaigns, direct marketing and branded content. Element, its communications planning joint venture with Naked Communications, has already won the £25million BMW media planning business.

The agency succeeded in filling some senior management positions, with Leslie Ali and Jeremy Bowles joining as joint creative director and managing director respectively. However, Ali has already quit her post, showing that the post-MBO management team still has some political issues to iron out.

WCRS had an impressive year creatively, producing some discussion-provoking work for 3, a refreshed campaign for 118 118 and some striking BMW ads.

Following the agency's new-business success in 2004, WCRS can afford to be selective in the pitches it takes this year. The big challenge will be to get the best from its four new companies and to ensure they work effectively as a unit.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Robin Wight founding partner

Stephen Woodford founding partner

Leon Jaume founding partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £146m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £139m

Total accounts year end 27

Accounts gained 9

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 153

Score last year 4

WHEEL - 6

This was a year of consolidation for Wheel following its management buyout by the chief executive, Phillip Hunt, and managing director, Ewan Sturgeon, in December 2003.

The agency rebranded in May, dropping the Abel & Baker name almost two years after it acquired the creative agency. It also postponed its north of England acquisition drive, instead choosing targets on the basis of expertise rather than location.

Wheel bought the digital media specialist Oscar Media in March to strengthen its media offering and started to offer a full service to its existing clients Starbucks, Marks & Spencer and Disney.

The Oscar acquisition brought Caroline McGuckian to Wheel as the agency's media director and the strengthened media team no doubt helped the agency win its highest-value new account in 2004, the online media planning and buying for Easycar.com.

Other wins across the year included the global launch of Absolut Cut and the online work for the jeweller Ernest Jones. Wheel also grew its BT account - it now handles 40 per cent of BT's online work - and has produced some strong creative campaigns for Opodo and Starbucks across the year.

Staff changes were a feature of the year: the executive creative director, Marc Giusti, left to go freelance and the media director, Philip Ludgate, moved to Graphico New Media. Wheel brought in Paul Frost from rmg Black Cat as the head of strategy and planning and promoted the creative director, Chris Clarke, and the group account director, Laurent Ezekiel, to board level.

Wheel will be forgiven for beginning 2005 more cocksure than many of its digital independent rivals.

Its new parent, LB Icon, the digital services group that bought the agency last month, should give the agency enviable stability and the opportunity to raise its international profile.

Type of agency Digital full service

Company ownership LB Icon subsidiary

Key personnel Phillip Hunt chief executive

Ewan Sturgeon managing director

Declared income £7.2m

Accounts gained 6

Accounts lost 0

Creative 45%

Media planning and buying 15%

Web design/build 40%

Biggest-spending clients Unilever, Marks & Spencer, BT

Number of staff 97

Score last year 7

WIEDEN & KENNEDY - 7

After a dazzlingly creative year in 2003, Wieden & Kennedy had a lot to live up to in 2004. But with some more outstanding campaigns for Honda - one winning this magazine's Campaign of the Year - and a raft of other strong work, the agency cracked it again.

2004 began with the appointment of Neil Christie from Euro RSCG London as managing director. This provided the smooth management handover the agency needed following the departure of the inspirational Amy Smith for her native Australia.

Christie also supplied the new-business impetus the agency previously lacked and W&K appeared on more pitchlists than usual in 2004. Despite this effort, its new-business growth was not spectacular and victories included the small Wales Tourist Board and Associated New Media accounts.

Another notable new-business success was gaining a place on the Unilever roster when W&Kwon a pan-European project for Persil.

W&K continued to develop its non-TV and print capabilities and it created a magazine and documentary for Nike through its content division, W&K Entertainment. It also launched large digital campaigns for Aiwa and Honda and growth in these areas is a must, allowing the agency to showcase its creativity beyond its traditional arena.

W&K is a small agency capable of handling big clients while producing some of the best work in London. But the network appears to have a laid-back attitude to UK growth. This is a shame because the strength of W&K's creative output speaks well for the whole UK market.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Neil Christie managing director

Tony Davidson joint creative director

Kim Papworth joint creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £27m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £37m

Total accounts year end 4

Accounts gained 2

Accounts lost 3

Number of staff 49

Score last year 7

WWAV RAPP COLLINS - 6

Two painful losses threatened to ruin 2004 for WWAV Rapp Collins. Fortunately, a dogged new-business drive turned matters around and allowed the agency to go into 2005 feeling reasonably optimistic. The year's low points came in April, when Cancer Research UK shifted its business into OgilvyOne, and in June, when Oxfam moved its £5 million account after 11 years. These losses were tough on WWAV because the agency had served both charities well creatively, particularly in the difficult medium of DRTV.

However, WWAV managed to keep hold of some of the Cancer Research account.

It also landed £7 million of business from RCI, the international timeshare operation, as well as the £3 million DM account for the children's charity Plan International.

Meanwhile, the agency made valuable inroads with COI Communications, winning briefs for the Royal Marines and the Department of Work and Pensions as well as a firework safety assignment from the Department of Trade and Industry. These pieces of business might not have had the same emotional significance to the agency as Oxfam and Cancer Research, but they more than matched the lost billings. The agency also added to its impressive pharmaceutical client list with the Organon and AstraZeneca accounts.

It sought to leverage this particular field of expertise in November by launching a specialist pharmaceutical division, Rapp Collins Consumer Health.

Ian Haworth's creative department once again did the job without turning heads or troubling awards judges. Like many direct marketing agencies that have been hit hard by the recession over the past couple of years, WWAV found 2004 slightly easier going. To capitalise on this it must make sure none of its other long-standing clients follow Oxfam's example in 2005.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Chris Gordon chairman

Marco Scognamiglio chief executive

Ian Howarth head of creative

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £27m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £26m

Total accounts year end 41

Accounts gained 7

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 210

Score last year 5

ZENITHOPTIMEDIA - 5

ZenithOptimedia's chief executive, Antony Young, spent his second year at the helm balancing a management team of tough-tackling buyers and flair players.There was more of an emphasis on planning, with the arrival of Lucy Banks from Initiative as creative director and Derek Morris from Publicis as vice-chairman. Alongside the managing director, Gerry Boyle, they provide the agency's planning power.

The balance of ZenithOptimedia's team now looks about right. It lost its well-regarded deputy managing director, Tom George, to Mediaedge:cia, but brought in the former CIA joint managing director, Tim Neligan, to replace him. Jeff Hyams, the managing director of Zed, the direct and digital division, also moved to Mediaedge:cia but was swiftly replaced by Greg Grimmer, ZenithOptimedia's commercial director.

By far the most significant departure was that of John Perriss, the worldwide chief executive of the network and the creator of Zenith Media in 1988.

Perriss handed over the reins to the European chief, Steve King, in March.

King's succession could foster more cordial relationships with other Publicis Groupe agencies.

The agency has marketed its "ROI Agency" positioning heavily and its capture of the O2 account in April seemed to justify its confidence. New business slowed after this and there was little of significance until ZenithOptimedia landed the consolidated Associated British Foods account in December (it already had about £8 million of the total £20 million spend through clients such as Ryvita).

On the negative side, the agency said goodbye to Kraft and Nestle's water business after international reviews. It also lost Entertainment Film Distributors to MediaCom after a conflict with its UIP business.

ZenithOptimedia's work was of a higher standard than is often credited (its Aussie Haircare and HP activity impressed at the Campaign Media Awards and its early O2 work is also promising). It would be good to see this come to the fore in 2005 and for the flair players to hit the back of the net more often in pitches.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Publicis Groupe subsidiary

Key personnel Simon Marquis chairman

Antony Young chief executive

Gerry Boyle managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £622m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £606m

TV billings 55%

Press billings 27%

Outdoor billings 8%

Radio billings 8%

New-media billings 0%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 2%

Total accounts year end 162

Accounts gained 11

Accounts lost 5

Number of staff 349

Score last year N/A

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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