School Reports 2014: Albion

Jose Cuervo
Jose Cuervo

Score: 6  Last year: 4

After losing two key accounts in 2012 – Giffgaff and Air New Zealand – Albion threw itself into pitching in 2013 and was successful at it too.

The biggest win was Comparethemarket.com, which appointed Albion in April with a brief to make its website as good as its advertising. The agency also won YouView’s £10 million and Zoopla’s £4 million ad accounts, as well as V Energy’s £5 million pan-European business.

On the back of the wins, Albion promoted five members of staff to associate director, a management role within the senior team.

And those weren’t the only changes. The agency elevated the executive creative director, Nick Darken, to group creative partner and then drafted in the former R/GA London creative director Andy Cutbill to replace him. Albion also promoted the client services director, Matt Roskill, to managing director.

Creatively, Albion remains an interesting proposition. There are agencies that do better TV ads, and there are stronger digital shops. But it is hard to think of many that do both these things – and make stuff – as well as Albion.

In 2013, there were TV spots for the new clients Zoopla and YouView, and Wonga’s cast of geriatric puppets was upgraded from rubber to CGI. The ads were adequate but unlikely to warrant an agency-wide decampment to Cannes.

Albion’s creative highlight was its launch work for V Energy: a clever campaign to silence internet trolls, which included a browser extension that converts vicious slurs into pleasantries. The agency also devised an app for Jose Cuervo that allows lost friends to digitally howl at each other on a night out.

The work is not setting the world on fire, but it still feels as though, whatever the future holds for the ad industry, Albion is better-prepared for it than most.

How Albion rates itself: 7

Albion's year in a Tweet: @albionlondon’s 2013 in numbers: 13 (double-digit growth), 11 (wins), 2 (standout creative campaigns), 1 (new ECD), 0.8 (Cracking year).

Albion
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Jason Goodman chief executive
Glyn Britton managing partner, strategy and innovation
Matt Roskill managing director
Andy Cutbill executive creative director
Paul Jakimiciw managing partner
Nielsen billings 2013 £40m
Nielsen billings 2012 £21m
Declared income £7.1m
Total accounts at year end 31
Accounts won 11 (biggest: Comparethemarket.com)
Accounts lost 1 (Epson – resigned)
Number of staff 73 (+12%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding  8 Excellent  7 Good  6 Satisfactory  5 Adequate  4 Below average  3 Poor  2 A year to forget  1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

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