School Reports 2011: Rapp

It seemed to be a case of "Groundhog Year" for Rapp, in that its 2010 closely resembled its 2009. The agency's performance, once again, was characterised by a strong new-business showing, a stable management team, diverse income streams - and a lack of creative sparkle.

Recent Rapp work: NSPCC
Recent Rapp work: NSPCC

Score: 7

Agency fact file: Rapp
Type of agency Direct, media planning and buying
Company ownership Omnicom
Key personnel Marco Scognamiglio group chief executive
  Peter Mitchell chief executive, London
  Ian Haworth chairman
  Russell Marsh group strategy director
  Rik Haslam chief creative officer
The Nielsen Company billings 2010 £16m
The Nielsen Company billings 2009 £46m
Declared income £33.3m (2009)
Total accounts at year end 65
Accounts won 22 (biggest: Guide Dogs)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Cancer Research UK's Race for Life)
Number of staff 336 (+8.4%)

Rapp's new-business highlight, not to mention a sign of greater integration with sister agencies, was its key role, alongside DDB UK, in landing the £71 million Virgin Media account, triumphing in what was one of the pitches of the year. Other new-business wins included the £7 million direct account for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, while it built on its digital credentials by winning Bacardi's UK digital ad business and digital activity for The Guardian.

The agency managed not to drop any major pieces of business - however, it did lose out in the annual pitch for Cancer Research UK's "Race for Life" campaign.

Rapp possesses an impressive management team under the UK group chief executive, Marco Scognamiglio, and there was little upheaval in 2010, with Peter Mitchell, the chief executive of the London business, growing into the role.

The agency continued to diversify its revenues, with 40 per cent now coming from digital activity. Another ace up its sleeve is its healthcare business, which, though necessarily low-profile, is high-margin. New wins for healthcare included briefs from Boots and Novartis.

Rapp's creative work isn't terrible (NSPCC "real call" was third in Campaign's top ten DM ads of 2010) but, again, it failed to set the market alight. Rapp seems aware of this and has promoted Rik Haslam, once of OgilvyOne, to chief creative officer with a brief to raise creative standards to "engage on a greater emotional level". This should be Rapp's priority in 2011 as it looks to add something special to its relentless focus on ROI.

Score last year: 7

How Rapp rates itself: 8

"2010 proved another vintage year in new-business terms - our clearly defined, data-driven, integrated proposition appealing to both traditional and digitally focused clients. Virgin Media, Bacardi, The Guardian and ActionAid were just some of the brands added, while the breadth of our work encompassed everything from critically acclaimed DRTV (NSPCC) to Bacardi's first Facebook app. Our healthcare offering continued to prosper with new work for global brands such as Novartis and Merck."

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