28 February, 1997
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has shot to the top of the annual Campaign Top
300 Agencies league for the year 1996 with a 24.29 per cent year-on-year
rise in billings to pounds 306.81 million (ACN MEAL). The rise was
partly because of a strong new-business performance, but also because of
an increased spend by its biggest client, BT.
AMV displaces Saatchi & Saatchi, which drops 13.8 per cent to fifth from
its number one position last year, and J. Walter Thompson, which falls
to second after temporarily taking the lead in the last quarterly
Unusually, AMV is one of the few agencies to claim declared billings
lower than its ACN MEAL figures. The agency’s rise to the top is also
not without a certain piquancy. Unlike many if its rivals, AMV has never
pursued size for its own sake.
The figures mark the first time AMV has reached the number one slot
after a steady climb up the tables. In 1995 it was in fourth place with
billings of pounds 246 million.
In 1977, when David Abbott joined, the agency had billings of less than
pounds 1 million. In 1978, with billings of pounds 1.8 million, the
agency advertised in Campaign for a food account under the headline:
’How long can these men survive without food?’
By 1981 AMV had risen to 42nd place in the rankings with billings of
pounds 14 million. In 1984 it was 21st with billings of pounds 35
At the time of going public in November 1985, AMV had billings of pounds
47 million and ranked in 11th place in the league table.
It was also the fastest growing agency in the UK at the time which, as
the chairman, David Abbott, pointed out in his first annual report,
wasn’t bad for a company that had not gone down the acquisition
The merger with BBDO in 1991 propelled the agency into the top ten for
the first time - from 16th to eighth place with billings of pounds 130