Top 300 Agencies: School Reports. (3 of 6)

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 25 February 2005 01:10PM

GLUE LONDON - 8

Glue took a brave step at the beginning of 2004, when it bought back the 32 per cent stake in the business owned by St Luke's - a purchase it financed out of cash reserves.

Cutting ties with an above-the-line agency was a tough decision, especially as glue's big weakness in past years has been the high percentage of project work it takes on.

Not for the first time, the managing director, Mark Cridge, stated his aim for 2004 as being to focus on retained business and this time glue met its objective, picking up retained work for More Th>n, Associated New Media (after a three-way pitch against Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners and the incumbent, Wieden & Kennedy), The Number 118 118 and Masterfoods Snackfoods. Roster wins on the BSkyB and Unilever accounts also helped glue's income grow from £2 million in 2003 to £2.75 million in 2004.

The agency had its best awards year ever, winning two gold Lions at Cannes for Pot Noodle noodleweb and for the Hysterical Girlfriend viral game, plus a bronze Lion for its "give up" campaign for the Royal Marines.

Strong creative work produced across the 12 months was, however, relatively thin on the ground for an agency that is so well known for its strength in that area.

Glue's new interactive film production unit, Superglue, came up with an amusing piece of film for the Pot Noodle Natural Noodling website, and there was some good new work on existing campaigns for the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy.

These aside, the quality of the agency's creative output was not quite as evident as in previous years - something it should think about if it is to justify its mantle as the online advertising scene's creative leading light.

Type of agency Digital

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Mark Cridge managing director

Declared income £2.75m

Accounts gained 8

Accounts lost 0

Creative 90%

Media planning and buying 0%

Web design/build 10%

Biggest-spending clients T-Mobile, Virgin Trains, COI

Number of staff 46

Score last year 8

GOODSTUFF - 5

The departure of two directors from Manning Gottlieb OMD in late 2003 signalled the launch of another in a line of fashionable, one-word name, planning agencies.

Andrew Stephens and Ben Hayes finally launched Goodstuff in June 2004 after several months working on their proposition and negotiating backing from MG OMD.

Their former agency agreed to take a minority stake, generous when you consider that Stephens and Hayes had taken the £15 million Virgin Mobile planning business out of MG OMD as their launch account.

Goodstuff's proposition is "creative communication ideas", providing a potentially broad canvas on which to work. Obviously this all depends on winning clients and there are signs Goodstuff is starting to do this.

In total, it has worked with 17 paying clients since launch. The larger of these include Ann Summers, Knickerbox and Independent Radio News. But its biggest triumph since Virgin Mobile came in December when it won a brief from Levi's.

Goodstuff has also worked on projects with several creative agencies, notably DDB London, with which it attempted to work out how the ad agency could reinvent its planning process. It pitched alongside DDB to win the Weetabix creative business.

The founding pair are now in the process of recruiting and their first appointment is Toby Bowerman from ZenithOptimedia. Two more strategists are expected to join their team soon.

Goodstuff's creative highlights include an integrated sponsorship for Virgin Mobile on the Kiss 100 Breakfast Show and work for Ann Summers that involved leaving spray-painted carrots around London and Birmingham to promote the store's new platinum rabbit vibrator.

Stephens and Hayes had a solid enough start and Omnicom's backing gave their venture some added security. In 2005, they should aim to win more high-profile clients and demonstrate consistent top-level work.

Type of agency Communications planning

Company ownership Minority-owned by Manning

Gottlieb OMD

Key personnel Andrew Stephens partner

Ben Hayes partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 -

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 -

Total accounts year end 11

Accounts gained 10

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 3

Score last year N/A

GREY LONDON - 2

Tumultuous barely begins to describe Grey London in 2004. Garry Lace, the agency's colourful and controversial boss, departed in the wake of a hoax e-mail, whose mystery authorship continues to keep tongues wagging; Mars dumped the Grey network from its global roster, resulting in a £17.5 million drop in billings for the UK office; and Grey Global Group sold its independence in return for a $1.5 billion cheque from WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell.

Amid the dramatic headlines, Grey staff needed all their resilience to cope with a series of traumas, most of which were beyond the agency's control.

The Lace affair, which linked the chief executive with a plot to start a new company, exposed the upside and downside of employing such a publicity-conscious character. The agency undoubtedly suffered unwelcome PR as a result of Lace's vaulting ambition but also benefited from his ability to attract talent and business that previously would have gone nowhere near Great Portland Street.

Lace's legacy has been the installation of an "inner cabinet", whose collective ability and enthusiasm is unquestioned but which remains light on experience.

Dylan Williams, the executive planning director, left in October. Nicola Mendelsohn was promoted in May from new-business chief to deputy chairman and is now on maternity leave, so Carolyn Carter, the Grey Europe president, may see the appointment of a wise and mature UK group chairman to be a matter of urgency.

The year ahead will be challenging. Mars will be hard to replace and 2004 wins, which include the Australian Tourist Commission and the Ben Sherman fashion brand, only partially fill the gap.

On the upside, Grey's creative product under Dave Alberts has shown improvement, particularly on seemingly unpromising raw material such as Procter & Gamble and Remington.

The question now is whether Grey London's worst pain has passed or whether Sir Martin will need to inflict further discomfort in order to improve the network's poor operating margins significantly.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

Key personnel Dave Alberts chairman,

executive creative director

Nicola Mendelsohn deputy chairman

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £194m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £177m

Total accounts year end 38

Accounts gained 3

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 206

Score last year 5

HARRISON TROUGHTON WUNDERMAN - 8

Harrison Troughton Wunderman was a serious contender for Campaign Direct Agency of the Year for 2004, despite losing its managing partner and co-founder, Martin Troughton, who left in November to become the UK chairman of Red Cell Response.

Those close to the agency say his departure had been on the cards for several months, with Troughton clearly feeling the need for a new challenge.

That said, he left the agency in excellent shape.

In 2004, HTW submitted its best new-business performance since its formation four years ago. Things got off to a great start in January, when it beat TBWA\London to land the San Miguel advertising account, picking up the launch brief for the Russian beer Baltika in the process. It then beat three other agencies to win the Macmillan Cancer Relief account, pitched successfully with Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R for Learn Direct and was appointed one of two lead agencies for Microsoft following a massive global pitch.

The agency also won briefs from the property investment company Inside Track, the online financial services operation Interactive Investor and Dunlop Aerospace, while teasing substantial amounts of extra business out of its existing clients Star Alliance and Citibank. Meanwhile, HTW held on to all of its clients - in fact, it hasn't lost an account since the AA left in 2001.

Steve Harrison's creative department once again proved itself without equal, winning 17 accolades at the DMA Awards (six golds, seven silvers and four bronzes) as well as the Grand Prix for Star Alliance.

The agency performed typically well at Cannes earlier in the year, winning a gold Lion and two silvers.

HTW must now find a replacement for Troughton, and his successor must understand direct marketing and gel with Harrison. The network is doing the smart thing - taking its time and involving Harrison heavily in the decision. If it gets it right, nothing can stop HTW dominating the direct world for years to come.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

Key personnel Steve Harrison creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £2m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £2m

Total accounts year end 18

Accounts gained 9

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 100

Score last year 7

HHCL/RED CELL - 7

It's a measure of the progress HHCL/Red Cell has made in returning to full fitness that it vows to be more discerning in the kind of business it is prepared to pitch for in 2005.

Not long ago, the agency could not have enjoyed the luxury of being picky. Laid low by a series of account losses, it was prepared to chase any prospective client with a pulse.

Now, having just celebrated its most successful new-business year since 1998 and enjoying a valued place within WPP's Red Cell network, HHCL is buoyed by a resurgent confidence.

So much so, it now questions the wisdom of last year's abortive attempts to capture the accounts of Signet, the owner of H Samuel and Ernest Jones, and the Tussauds leisure group.

The dilemma is how to improve on a one-in-four pitch conversion rate (the agency's failure to win the £14 million Muller yoghurt account was particularly frustrating) while attracting the kind of clients that will be a comfortable fit.

Clients who felt they needed the HHCL offering last year included Bhs, Innocent drinks, the Godiva luxury chocolate brand and Kiss FM as well as the company behind Burj Dubai, one of the word's most ambitious property developments.

The wins complemented a busy year for the agency, which spearheaded a massive blitz by Sky TV - £23 million spent in just ten weeks - to win over remaining refusniks.

There was also a major repositioning for Captain Birds Eye as a champion of healthy eating and the debut of Sid the Slug for the Food Standards Agency to encourage people to reduce their salt intake.

Moreover, the agency's creativity has proved exportable, having played a key role in WPP's winning of both the HSBC and Samsung global accounts.

Catharsis over? It seems so.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

Key personnel Steve Henry chairman, executive

creative director

Amanda Walsh chief executive, Europe

Nick Howarth managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £90m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £73m

Total accounts year end 21

Accounts gained 7

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 84

Score last year 6

I-LEVEL - 7

It would have been difficult to top last year's performance, when i-level snared what was easily the biggest piece of online media business of 2003, the £6 million COI Communications account.

Perhaps it is by comparison, but the digital media agency's profile in 2004 was been notable only by its absence, although there were some good things to report at the end of the year.

Billings, at £35 million, were up significantly on 2003's total of £22 million, with 16 pieces of new business won across the year, including eBay, the holiday operator Cosmos and the InterContinental Hotel group, accounting for £7 million of that total.

Both of the agency's biggest clients, COI and BT, increased their online spend by 50 per cent and half of the agency's growth across the year came from increased spend from existing clients.

I-level launched two divisions in 2004, i-level search and i-level Mobile, to offer expertise across more digital platforms. It also launched OPTima, a research tool to measure the effectiveness of online advertising, and FIRSTSite, a system that enables clients to watch customers interacting with their website or online advertising. These kinds of value-added services look likely to become more important. The networks are starting to build their own online media buying expertise, with the launch of divisions such as Aegis' Isobar, and full-service digital agencies are also competing for media-only accounts.

I-level, with a 14 per cent market share, has carved itself a strong niche position over the past five years, but the challenge now will be to continue to grow the business in an increasing competitive market.

Type of agency Digital media

Company ownership Independent

Key personnel Charlie Dobres founder

Andrew Walmsley founder

Declared income n/s

Accounts gained 16

Accounts lost 0

Creative 0%

Media planning and buying 90%

Web design/build 0%

Consultancy 10%

Biggest-spending clients BT, COI, William Hill

Number of staff 65

Score last year 8

INITIATIVE - 2

Initiative sailed into 2004 in fine shape. It sailed out of it resembling the Titanic after it hit the ice.

Inevitably, the loss of the giant Unilever business, which billed close to £200 million, overshadowed everything else that Initiative did in 2004.

Purveyors of gallows humour at the agency suggested it could at least take solace in being liberated from the restrictions of being "Unilever's buying agency" - poor consolation, though, after losing your largest account following one of the messiest pitches of recent years. However well the UK agency performed in the pan-European pitch (and there are indications it did very well), it failed to stop Unilever's move to MindShare.

Initiative avoided a total bloodbath by holding on to its General Motors business after a pan-European pitch late in the year. As with Unilever, it was poor fortune for the agency to be asked to defend the account so soon after retaining the account on a local level (it won a UK-only GM pitch in 2003).

With the focus on defending Unilever and GM and bedding in 2003 account wins such as Orange and ICI, the agency's new-business record was thin.

It brought in Four Seasons Hotels, Vauxhall Dealerships and Ecco Shoes. However, it relinquished the £12 million Ferrero Rocher business after a contract disagreement.

Redundancies were few following Unilever's departure because most of the Unilever team of 38 were offered jobs at MindShare or elsewhere within Initiative. Earlier in the year, Initiative lost Lucy Banks, its creative director, who left to join ZenithOptimedia.

The severe blow of losing Unilever does, however, unshackle the agency and there is real potential to create a more nimble and dynamic agency with a fresher culture.

But the capable chief executive, Jerry Hill, now has much to prove and will be busy reassuring staff that the company's mantra, "expect more", does not allude to new-business losses. Interpublic's moves to bring Initiative closer to its sister agency, Universal McCann, could help or hinder his efforts. Its parent company, IPG, must also get its media house in order if Initiative is to enjoy the same sort of group support as, say, MindShare does from WPP. Crucially, in 2005 Initiative must win pitches to fill the giant gaps left by its Unilever account. No mean feat.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Interpublic subsidiary

Key personnel Jerry Hill group chief executive

Gary Birtles managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £514m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £415m

TV billings 53%

Press billings 23%

Outdoor billings 12%

Radio billings 5%

New-media billings 2%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 5%

Total accounts year end 52

Accounts gained 6

Accounts lost 3

Number of staff 156

Score last year 6

JOSHUA - 5

Joshua has never had a school report before because it has always been regarded as part of Grey: its below-the-line arm, to be precise.

However, in 2004 it demonstrated sufficient independence to warrant its own entry.

The agency has carved a niche for itself in the tricky area of integrated communications with a robust client list, which boasts Diet Coke, Air Miles and Birds Eye below the line, and a growing number of advertising clients.

That it is managing to get on an increasing number of advertising pitchlists, including Harveys, Heart FM, Peugeot Dealerships and Bourne Leisure, says a lot about its new-business operation. It managed to convert Cobra Beer, BBC Worldwide and the Australian Tourist Commission, showing it can hold its own against ad agencies. And it also boosted its direct portfolio with wins from AOL and Red Letter Days.

The agency also bolstered its creative department, headed by Mitch Levy.

It hired Steve Broadhurst as a creative director, as well as Brian Storey and Xanthos Christadoulou. However, the agency's lack of awards at the major ceremonies such as the DMA Awards or Campaign Direct Awards needs addressing.

The agency went into 2005 having learned that it had just strengthened its relationship with Masterfoods, becoming the lead agency on the £20 million Petcare roster, knocking its rival Proximity off and beating a number of outside contenders.

With its strong new-business team and credible creative department, the agency should be looking to consolidate its position as a standalone agency.

To do this, though, it needs to raise its creative profile.

Following its takeover by WPP, it remains to be seen whether or not its progress will be hampered by uncertainty about its future status.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

Key personnel Peter Thompson chief executive

Nick Spindler managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £4m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 n/s

Total accounts year end 31

Accounts gained 16

Accounts lost 4

Number of staff 205

Score last year N/A

JWT - 7

In 2004, one of JWT's real Achilles heels, its creative product, finally became worthy of attention.

Servicing blue-chip clients with first-rate planning has always been JWT's strength. But this was the year the agency built on the creative revival that began in 2003 with the arrival of its creative director, Nick Bell, from Leo Burnett.

Its work for Diageo's flagship vodka brand, Smirnoff, has arguably been its strongest for some time. Nothing like the threat of losing a big account to focus the mind, it seems. The agency had come under intense pressure to deliver on the account following the departure of its deputy chairman, Harry MacAuslan, to Leo Burnett.

Diageo, a client that worked closely with MacAuslan during his 24-year spell at the agency, voiced its concerns over his treatment. Then, in a further blow, it put JWT's global Smirnoff Ice business up for review before awarding it to Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Fortunately, there were plenty of accounts moving in the opposite direction throughout the year, the most significant of which was the highly prized HSBC business. JWT succeeded Lowe as the lead network in May after WPP saw off challenges from Publicis Groupe, Interpublic and Omnicom.

In addition, it scooped the £4 million pan-European Knorr account, Allied Bakeries, Tourism Ireland and Samsung, which did not prove to be quite the trophy it was initially billed as.

The appointment in March of Craig Davis as JWT's European creative head further bolstered its firepower. In January this year, JWT continued to overhaul its image, rebranding its corporate identity and promoting Davis to worldwide chief creative officer. It must continue to raise its game and pin down a firm creative vision for its clients if it is to stand out from the crowd.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

Key personnel Bob Jeffrey worldwide chief

executive

Simon Bolton UK chief executive

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £328m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £286m

Total accounts year end 45

Accounts gained 7

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 325

Score last year 4

KARMARAMA - 6

In the four years since its formation, Karmarama has gone from strength to strength and last year was no exception. The agency, which bills itself as a communications design agency, has found its forte in delivering communications options that seamlessly span all disciplines.

In 2004, while many of its rivals were still theorising about uniting creative and media, it further improved its offering by launching a joint initiative with MediaCom's independent planning consultancy, Real World Communications Plus.

The operation is intended to offer integrated, fresh-thinking solutions, while enhancing the agency's relationship with clients such as Ikea and Opodo, who turned away some of the industry's stalwarts, including HHCL/Red Cell and Lowe.

Amnesty International also came calling, while the drinks giant Diageo awarded the agency the brief to launch 23, its new premium mixers range, in the UK without a pitch.

Creatively, the reel continues to grow in depth. Ikea remains the most high-profile campaign in a line-up that still includes a small regional element.

But the agency is intent on expanding in order to compete against the big guns, as shown through the successful signing of a Lowe creative team, Matt Janes and Vic Polkinghorne, who finally came on board at the start of the year. In January, it also finalised the acquisition of Outfit Communications to strengthen its account planning and management.

The pieces are in place for Karmarama to enjoy a strong 2005. The test will be whether it can keep the momentum going and capture the attention of big clients.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Naresh Ramchandani creative partner

Dave Buonaguidi creative partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £10m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £6m

Total accounts year end 10

Accounts gained 6

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 25

Score last year 6

LEAGAS DELANEY - 4

Leagas Delaney's year kicked off with a balance-sheet restructuring that saw a change in the company's trading name. It was the start of a year of flux for the agency: first came the bombshell that its biggest-billing UK client, Hyundai, was defecting.

After a decade of loyalty, the Korean car manufacturer finally decided to relocate its £12 million advertising account into Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest.

And things continued to get worse before they got any better. A couple of key account departures followed in the first half of the year; Harrods announced a review of its £2 million business, while the agency was also hit by the loss of its pan-European Opodo client.

There were glimmers of hope for the beleaguered shop, however, as its new-business machine fired into action, winning Twinings and the United Nations. In September, it picked up a launch project for Saab, and it won Tripp, the UK's leading luggage retailer.

In all, the agency pitched for ten pieces of business and it was successful on all of them - a conversion rate unmatched by any of its rivals. Reebok, Bacardi Eristoff (Bacardi's vodka brand) and Emirates were among those brands to add their names to the client list.

However, the agency's management line-up, which had destabilised in 2002, continued to weaken. After 11 years, the creative director, Dave Beverley, left to join Leo Burnett. He had been a central figure behind the agency's Hyundai, Porsche and Nationwide accounts.

Overall, 2004 was a year of ups and downs for Leagas Delaney. The new-business machine got itself back on track, but raising the agency's profile is now paramount.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Tim Delaney chairman

Margaret Johnson group managing

director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £19m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £24m

Total accounts year end 16

Accounts gained 10

Accounts lost 3

Number of staff 60

Score last year N/A

LEAN MEAN FIGHTING MACHINE - 6

The creative hotshop set up by the ex-Tribal DDB foursome Sam Ball, Dave Bedwood, Tom Bazeley and Dave Cox only launched in February 2003, but has picked up some high-profile clients since.

Launched as Lean Mean Fighting Machine (alternative names for the start-up included Ciaran, presumably in honour of Ciaran Deering, the Tribal DDB managing director), the agency makes it into the School Reports on the basis of its creative work.

LMFM has the stated aim of creating the best online ads in the world.

While it has yet to achieve that ambition, it did produce some of the best online creative work of 2004 - the standouts being the brand-building "it's time to fly United" campaign for United Airlines and some business-to-business work for AOL, which it won following a competitive pitch against the incumbent, cdp-travissully.

In terms of new business, Procter & Gamble, United Airlines and Campaign's publisher, Haymarket, joined its launch clients, the International Herald Tribune and Channel 4.

The agency now has to focus on building its credibility with large clients and, while the founders insist they are determined to stay independent, some sort of link with an above-the-line agency would be of obvious benefit.

Growth has got to be the agency's aim for 2005. LMFM will start a recruitment push this year and also plans to move offices away from its current base in Primrose Hill Business Park.

Having made a good start in proving its creative credentials last year, the key challenge for this will be whether such a small outfit can continue its success and start retaining some accounts.

Type of agency Digital advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Tom Bazeley founder

Declared income £225,000

Accounts gained 9

Accounts lost 0

Creative 100%

Media planning and buying 0%

Web design/build 0%

Biggest-spending clients AOL, United Airlines,

International Herald Tribune

Number of staff 4

Score last year N/A

LEITH - 4

Leith brought down the curtain on 2004 by sealing a long-anticipated acquisition deal that could provide the catalyst for expansion the Scottish agency so craves. A year after it was rumoured to have gone into merger talks with JWT, Leith looks finally to have safeguarded its future by becoming one of three companies to join Cello, the new marketing communications group .

The agency hopes to keep an independent culture.

Leith desperately needs this injection of support if it is to generate greater belief in its brand, following a year that heralded few other prospects for expansion.

Aside from the Hotpoint win in February, which moved the agency on from its characteristic FMCG-based work, new business was downbeat compared with 2003, a year when it captured 14 new accounts. Jordans, Emirates and the Organic Milk Supplier Co-operative all proved elusive.

Neither was it a vintage year on a creative footing for London's sole Scottish representative . While its Carling work, with which the agency has become synonymous, was once again solid, there was nothing that threatened to furnish the trophy cabinet.

The agency's other long-running brand campaign for the pizza brand Goodfellas was also respectable, but failed to break new ground.

While Leith needs to concentrate on raising the creative bar, the priority for 2005 will be satisfying its holding company while exploiting to the full the new opportunities this relationship could allow.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Cello subsidiary

Key personnel John Denholm chairman

John Rowley chief executive

Phil Adams managing director

(Edinburgh)

Jeremy Pyne managing director

(London)

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £44m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £37m

Total accounts year end 32

Accounts gained 8

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 84

Score last year 6

LEO BURNETT - 5

Following Leo Burnett's year of consolidation in 2003, 2004 was, in theory, going to be all about growth. However, with an unsettled senior management team and a poor new-business performance, consolidation remained the agency's watchword for 2004.

The year began with the unpopular move to West Kensington. Although Leo Burnett's chief executive, Bruce Haines, was forced to dress it up as a bid to unite the disparate teams from the merged Burnett and D'Arcy, the move has isolated the agency from the rest of the advertising industry.

In May, Paul Shearer, who Haines had hired a year previously as a joint creative director, was shipped out, leaving his partner, Jim Thornton, in sole creative charge. A second senior departure occurred in August, when the chairman and the managing director, Barry Cook, resigned without a job to go to.

However, there were some welcome additions to the team. Richard Pinder joined as its president, EMEA, based in London. And Haines acted fast to secure Harry MacAuslan in a senior capacity, an appointment designed to bolster Burnett's grip on its Diageo business, an account MacAuslan was heavily involved with during his 25 years at JWT. Camilla Harrisson, Wieden & Kennedy's former managing director, was also appointed in the revived role of marketing director to spearhead new business.

On the new-business front, though, Leo Burnett had a flaccid year, with the global Samsung pitch a major distraction. In London, the agency converted very few of its pitches, and lost the £8 million Tetley account.

Scottish Widows was its only respectable win and Leo Burnett is on the brink of falling out of the top ten, its billings slipping by 2 per cent last year.

Creatively, the agency has produced solid work across the board ,with strong new campaigns for Heinz and COI Communications. It has also continued to fire out commercial after commercial for McDonald's in the face of a government that is content to blame fast-food companies for the UK's obesity problem.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Publicis subsidiary

Key personnel Bruce Haines group chief executive

Jim Thornton creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £205m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £208m

Total accounts year end 22

Accounts gained 3

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 260

Score last year 5

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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