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Advertising Network of the Year 2015: BBDO

The network has shown that it can create consistently good work for global clients and led the push for gender equality by winning the first Glass Lion.

Barbie: BBDO got the world talking about the brand
Barbie: BBDO got the world talking about the brand

As ever, it’s about the work, the work, the work at BBDO. And on this front, the network did not disappoint in 2015. Its global Pedigree activity pursued the idea that dogs bring out the best in people and showed BBDO could marshal its agencies to create a cohesive campaign running across continents. 

BBDO – led by the chief executive, Andrew Robertson, and the chairman and chief creative officer, David Lubars – also got the world talking about a major new global client, Mattel. "Imagine the possibilities" for Barbie filmed people’s reactions when young girls took on various professions to illustrate how the doll helps kids envisage their future. The empowering message ensured plenty of coverage for the brand and the spot was a viral hit with more than 16 million views on YouTube.

But this is not a case of celebrating two shop-window campaigns while the rest is hidden from view. BBDO keeps standards high across most of its territories – no mean feat when you consider that it spans 289 offices in 81 countries.

Some 43 BBDO agencies had work shortlisted at Cannes, while 29 won Lions. The network even took the inaugural Glass Lion Grand Prix with BBDO India’s "touch the pickle" for Procter & Gamble.

BBDO exorcised itself of the crushing loss of the global Gillette creative account in 2013 by winning two pieces of worldwide business: alongside the aforementioned Mattel, Bacardi also joined the fold. The Bacardi win was huge. It’s worth about £118 million a year to BBDO and comprises the Bacardi, Martini, Bombay Sapphire, Dewar’s, Grey Goose, William Lawson’s, Cazadores and St-Germain brands.

As well as regional wins such as Disney across EMEA and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts in Europe and the US, there were multiple country wins. But the one that feels most special must be Pepsi in the US – BBDO created its first ad for the brand this year since losing the account to TBWA\Chiat\Day in 2008.

The network says it landed work worth more than $1 billion in 2015. And it proved that it can win awards with work that’s effective too. Effie Worldwide named it the most effective network in the world for the second consecutive year (and the third time in four years). Moreover, more than 20 BBDO shops were chosen as agency of the year in their countries by industry bodies and publications this year.

BBDO is Campaign’s Advertising Network of the Year as it has proved, above any other, that it can look after truly global brands.

Runners-up

Wieden & Kennedy 
Wieden & Kennedy’s relatively small size (it has only eight offices) and its status as an independent means that year in, year out the micro-network is responsible for some of the most exciting work. 

In 2015, Wieden & Kennedy offices won work from Facebook (Amsterdam), Johnnie Walker (São Paulo), Nike (Delhi), Sprite and Bud Light (New York). 

But it’s when the network is able to bring its brand of creativity to traditionally dull products that it is at its best. The London office’s ad for Finish made other dishwasher-tablet brands’ work seem boring and unadventurous. 

Meanwhile, Wieden & Kennedy continued to deliver for its cornerstone clients. It created an amusingly bizarre music video with Danny McBride for Southern Comfort, brought together Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews to suitably chaotic effect for Old Spice and the Shanghai office made Nike’s first ad specifically for China.

Ogilvy & Mather
Ogilvy & Mather had another strong awards year, scoring 123 Lions, 64 Clios and 51 Pencils. 

Standout activity included: London’s sobering campaign for 28 Too Many; Frankfurt’s remarkable "rabbit race" for Media Markt; and Beijing’s hilarious "great Chinese names for Great Britain" for VisitBritain.

The network also claimed a client retention rate of more than 95 per cent this year. 

With Miles Young preparing to depart for Oxford next year, the world will be watching to see what’s next for Ogilvy & Mather.

M&C Saatchi
Coming up on the outside with a clutch of plaudits this year and an increasingly compelling network proposition is M&C Saatchi. Its case for glory this year was helped by wins at Cannes – including

Titanium, Innovation, Cyber, Mobile and PR golds for the Clever Buoy shark-alert system for Optus by its Australian office. 

Meanwhile, M&C Saatchi Abel was named Agency of the Year at the 2015 Annual AdFocus Awards in South Africa. A stronger UK office will give the network a better case next year. 


Recent winners: Grey (2014); Ogilvy & Mather (2013); DDB Worldwide (2012); BBDO Worldwide (2011); Wieden & Kennedy (2010)

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