School Reports 2014: Publicis London

Confused.com
Confused.com

Score: 5  Last year: 4

Just when everybody was wondering whether Publicis London was ever going to fully recapture its knack of producing big, populist campaigns, along came Brian, Confused.com’s enthusiastic but socially inept robot, to suggest the old creative spark was still there. Launched in May last year, Brian took a while to get into his stride. Indeed, Campaign wondered if he would quickly be consigned to the scrapyard. By the year’s end, though, Brian was beginning to look as though he had the legs to maybe give even Aleksandr the meerkat a run for his money.

Certainly, that campaign suggests some self-confidence is returning to an agency that had been suffering for so long from a ho-hum new-business performance and with the key roles of executive creative director and head of planning unfilled. Last year wasn’t without some upheaval on the management front line, most notably when Nigel Jones, the UK group chairman, having overcome serious illness, opted to return to DraftFCB to take up a global strategy role. However, there was evidence that the new ECD, Andy Bird, and the new chief strategy officer, Tony Quinn, were making Publicis London’s presence felt. Additional firepower also arrived in the form of Ogilvy & Mather’s Cannes gold Lion-winner Sue Higgs as a creative director.

Meanwhile, Pavlos Themistocleous, from OgilvyOne, became the agency’s first creative director of digital – his hire taking place shortly before Publicis Groupe’s acquisition of Poke as part of plans to get its creative networks more digitally focused.

On the business front, fortunes remained mixed. KP Snacks, a long-standing client, moved its £10 million UK account into BMB. But there was compensation with the capture of Coca-Cola’s Schweppes account, as well as SCA’s global tissue and babycare businesses. Maybe a return to the agency’s old Baker Street offices – scheduled for late summer – will prove a symbolic homecoming.

How Publicis London rates itself: 7

Publicis London's year in a Tweet: Worked hard, got new clients, new partners (POKE) and lots of awards. And had fun. It’s all in a year’s work.

Publicis London
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Key personnel Karen Buchanan chief executive
Andy Bird executive creative director
Tony Quinn chief strategy officer
Will Arnold-Baker joint managing director
Neil Quick joint managing director
Nielsen billings 2013 £215m
Nielsen billings 2012 £214m
Declared income £36.8m
Total accounts at year end 62
Accounts won 9 (biggest: Kipling)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Zurich)
Number of staff 294 (-4%)

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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