School Reports 2012: The7stars

The independent media agency the7stars had good news in 2011 - six years after it launched, it broke into the UK's top 20 media agencies by billings.

Recent Phones 4u work
Recent Phones 4u work

Score: 6

Agency fact file: The7stars
Type of agency Media planning and buying
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Jenny Biggam founding partner
  Mark Jarvis founding partner
  Liam Mullins head of trading
  Nick Maddison head of new business/account director
  Julian Ireland head of digital
Nielsen billings 2011 £55m
Nielsen billings 2010 £44m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 52
Accounts won 17 (biggest: Gala Coral)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: William Hill – resigned)
TV 37%
Press 31%
Outdoor 10%
Radio 4%
Search/online 18%
Number of staff 38 (+35%)

This added weight to its claim to be the UK's leading independent media agency (though this very much depends on your definition of independence).

Under the leadership of the hard-working, high-profile Jenny Biggam, the agency picked up a raft of new accounts including the H Samuel and Ernest Jones jewellers, Dune, Sandals, Atlantic Records and the charity Rethink Mental Illness. It did, however, lose the £15 million William Hill business when it declined to repitch for the account - a move that threatened to put a major dent in its billings tally. However, it quickly landed another betting company in the shape of Gala Coral, though its spend wasn't as significant.

Eden, the joint venture media agency that the7stars founded alongside the creative agency Adam & Eve (with Phones 4u as a founding client), also continued to grow and, in 2011, picked up Uniqlo and Pizza Express.

New-business growth meant revenue rose by more than a third in 2011, enabling the7stars to invest in staff and a larger office in Dean Street. However, with a predominantly retail-dominated client list that also features Peacocks and Habitat, it will be interesting to see how the agency's growth is impacted by the high-street slowdown. Pertinently, this might feed into the wider issue of how much longer the7stars remains independent.

Score last year: 6

How the7stars rates itself: 7

"We have built the UK's leading independent media agency by our approach to trading, talent recruitment, high standards of transparency and our uncompromising quest for innovation."

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