School Reports 2014: Razorfish

McDonald's
McDonald's

Score: 7  Last year: n/a

Razorfish had considered itself as one of adland’s best-kept secrets. Of course, many chief executives would describe their agency that way. But if you compare Razorfish’s £24 million turnover and 280 staff with its renown in the UK, you can understand where it is coming from.

That said, Razorfish picked up two big accounts in 2013 that could go a long way to raising its profile.

The agency was appointed to Argos’ digital account in August and aims to transform the retailer’s fortunes after it took a battering from more internet-savvy competitors. Razorfish will also help Lloyds Banking Group develop digital products and services across its brands.

There were other wins, including C&A, Michelin and Net-A-Porter, but none so newsworthy as Argos and Lloyds. Razorfish did make a big-name hire, however – Måns Tesch, one of the brothers behind the award-winning (now-defunct) Swedish agency Tesch & Tesch, joined as the executive strategy director.

On the downside, Weight Watchers reviewed its digital media, for which Razorfish declined to repitch, and the agency failed to land Desperados in a pitch. In addition, the head of planning, Adrian Gans, departed for Brand Union, while the associate creative director, Jon Adolfsson, left for TBWA\London.

Razorfish was responsible for some good creative work in 2013, including 100 McDonald’s Moments. It also created another Audi City, a shop in which people can use technology to browse car models and add their specifications – this time in Beijing.

In spite of this, the work still suffers from relative obscurity. Until Razorfish produces more things that cross over into the mainstream, it will be hard for the agency to shake off its "best-kept secret" label.

How Razorfish rates itself: 7

Razorfish's year in a Tweet: Razorfish’s 2013? Won 10 clients, lost zero. Doubled Creative Dept., 21 awards. Hired Måns Tesch. Double-digit growth. New building in 2014.

Razorfish
Type of agency Full-service digital
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Key personnel Chris Mellish chief executive
John Cunningham chief technology officer
Sean Chambers executive creative director
Megan Harris media director
Måns Tesch executive strategy director
Declared income £24m
Total accounts at year end 28
Accounts won 10 (biggest: Lloyds Banking Group)
Accounts lost 1 (Weight Watchers – resigned)
Number of staff 280 (+10%)

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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