Annual: Top 10 things to forget

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 12 December 2008 12:00AM

1. The downturn hits adland

As the year went on, economic conditions grew worse. Clients were slashing budgets, major media owners (including ITV, Channel 4, Associated Newspapers and News International) had made cutbacks and WPP had introduced a hiring freeze. So the recession is something we'd like to forget, please. Unfortunately, it looks like this could be just the start.

2. TBWA's attempted acquisition of Beattie McGuinness Bungay

In October, negotiations between TBWA\Worldwide and the founders of Beattie McGuinness Bungay broke down at the 11th hour. Leaked news of the proposed deal only served to destabilise TBWA's London office. BMB came out smelling of roses though, selling a stake to Cheil just a month later.

3. ITV tumbles out of the FTSE100

Nothing seemed to symbolise the plight of the media sector more than ITV's fall from the FTSE100 for the first time since its creation in 2004. The news reflected a decline in the company's valuation from £5.3 billion when it launched to £1.77 billion.

4. Lowe's annus horribilis

A terrible year for the London agency started in January when its chief executive, Amanda Walsh, left and was not replaced. Reviews followed for Twinings, Nokia N-series, Innocent, Stella Artois and John Lewis. Then Ed Morris, the executive creative director, announced plans to step back from the role after the Lowe Worldwide chief executive, Steve Gatfield, also stepped down.

5. Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel

In August, BBDO confirmed its plans to merge Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel into Proximity. The move looked inevitable after a tumultuous period that saw key management and accounts (notably Land Rover and Orange) depart but marked a sad day for the UK DM industry, which lost one of its pioneering brands. Also a sad day for trade hacks looking to fill word counts with long agency names.

6. Nationwide calls off ad review

Nationwide called a review of its £10 million creative business after Leagas Delaney resigned the account. At the centre of it was Peter Gandolfi, Nationwide's head of brand marketing. A week later, it emerged he was leaving and Nationwide would continue working with Leagas Delaney, for the time being.

7. Not-so-Innocent smoothies (again)

Innocent faced more accusations of being a timewaster. In September, it scrapped the third pitch for its ad business in 15 months when, despite shortlisting four agencies, it opted to develop its own ideas in-house. Innocent defended its ethics but surely agencies will think twice about going for its business in future.

8. WPP moves HQ out of London

The holding company lost patience with government plans for higher Corporation Tax by announcing it was switching its headquarters to Ireland to save costs. Few could blame Sir Martin Sorrell and WPP for the move but it is a blow when the UK's biggest marcoms group is no longer based in the UK.

9. BBC reaction to "Sachsgate"

The antics of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand in winding up Andrew Sachs were bad enough, but the slow reaction of the BBC's board of directors in apologising was even worse and provoked a national backlash.

10. Initiative losing Orange

Initiative's loss of the £76 million Orange media account to Mediaedge:cia prompted speculation that IPG would close the agency or merge it with Universal McCann. This now looks premature as Initiative goes into 2009 having staved off a review of its Tesco business.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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