School Reports 2011: Albion

Ask advertising people to name an agency that interests them and chances are that Albion's name will be near the top of the list.

Recent Albion work: Giffgaff
Recent Albion work: Giffgaff

Score: 8

Agency fact file: Albion

Type of agency Integrated creative
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Jason Goodman chief executive
  Liz Wilson managing director
  Glyn Britton strategy director
  Nick Darken executive creative director
The Nielsen Company billings 2010 £4m
The Nielsen Company billings 2009 £4m
Declared income £6.2m
Total accounts at year end 21
Accounts won 12 (biggest: Jose Cuervo)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 65 (+8.33%)

The agency boasts an intriguing and varied list of clients, many of which seem keen to break the mould and offer consumers something a little different.

Last year, this allowed Albion to create a highly innovative campaign to launch giffgaff, the O2-backed mobile network run by its customers, as well as interesting digital and social media-based campaigns for Air New Zealand and Epson. It's fair to say the agency still has something to prove on the creative front, though.

It also had a strong year on the new-business front, adding £15 million in new billings from brands such as Airmiles, Adstream, Visit Britain and UK Radio Player. It also won the global Jose Cuervo advertising business.

But it is Albion's commitment to innovating and creating its own products that really makes the agency stand out. Last year, it was responsible for the "Slapometer", which allowed users the chance to slap the electoral candidates during the live television debates (the site generated 92 million slaps), and also devised and co-funded a campaign for the British basketball team, which included the creation of a fashion label (Albion also retains the ownership of the "Back British Basketball" IP).

In its chief executive, Jason Goodman, Albion has a strong pair of hands steering the ship, and he is supported by a management team that are all focused on pulling the agency in the same direction. The big test now will be for Albion to progress to the next level, so that it is seen not just as quirky and interesting but also capable of winning major pieces of new business and producing large-scale creative campaigns.

Score last year: 6

How Albion rates itself: 8

"2010 was the next step up as our profile started to catch up with our achievements. We launched giffgaff for O2, created standout work for Air New Zealand and developed innovative products such as Slapometer. New business continued to be strong, attracting big brands such as Airmiles and Jose Cuervo alongside hotly tipped next-generation entrepreneurs. Eleven per cent topline growth, serious talent investment and a consistently 30 per cent-plus margin made 2010 a year of impressive progress."

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