OPINION: Resilient Saatchi stays on top of the 300 table

It’s that time of year again. The Top 300 is out, and Saatchi and Saatchi still heads the agency list with Zenith way ahead on the media table. You could almost believe the whole Maurice saga did not happen if it wasn’t for the arrival of M&C Saatchi, straight into the table at 20.

It’s that time of year again. The Top 300 is out, and Saatchi and

Saatchi still heads the agency list with Zenith way ahead on the media

table. You could almost believe the whole Maurice saga did not happen if

it wasn’t for the arrival of M&C Saatchi, straight into the table at 20.



Both Saatchis and Zenith did take hits, and many will be surprised that

Charlotte Street still tops the table. This is due partly to the spend

from the National Lottery, but mainly to the resilience of the Saatchis

culture. In this respect, the appointment of the old girl, Jennifer

Laing, appears to have been a wise one. Zenith, led by Christine Walker,

is much more gung-ho about life post-Maurice. It has unquestionably done

well to retain its pre-eminence but it would be surprising if something

dramatic did not happen in Paddington this year.



Elsewhere, many of the top agencies achieved growth. This might appear

surprising given that many of them - with the exception of J. Walter

Thompson, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper and Publicis, and the Media Centre and

TMD Carat media companies - are not entirely happy with their new-

business performance. Instead, big clients have increased their spend.

More importantly for many of the shops, they have finally realised that

the best new business is new business from existing clients.



Arguably, M&C Saatchi can be credited with both.



There are some who will argue that the figures are irrelevant, based as

they are on the increasingly questionable use of billings. There may be

some truth in this, but it’s worth making two points: the relative sizes

of the agencies and media companies are largely correct year after year.

Second, the agencies that complain volubly over their billings are often

the most obstructive in helping us deliver the only viable alternative

table: one based on income. Worth thinking about, before you pick up the

phone this morning.



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