School Reports 2014: VCCP

O2
O2

Score: 9  Last year: 7

VCCP had been in the reckoning for Campaign’s Agency of the Year award a couple of times before finally landing it in 2013.

The agency topped AAR’s new-business table in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It also dominated Campaign’s rankings last year with £113.5 million in net billings gained. To put this achievement into perspective, TBWA UK came second with £59.4 million.

But what made VCCP an irresistible choice for Agency of the Year in 2013 was that it had the big creative idea too. Its "be more dog" work for O2, which was named Campaign of the Year, condensed a philosophy that could be applied across the brand’s entire business into a meme.

Further creative highlights for VCCP in 2013 included the touching "not alone" spot for Macmillan Cancer Support and the flamboyant O2 Priority ad featuring Beyoncé. Indeed, the singer was so taken with the film’s court-of-Marie-Antoinette styling that she used the footage in the music video for Bow Down.

Despite its success, VCCP isn’t bulletproof. Alongside the standout campaigns were swathes of perfunctory work – and some stuff that was even worse than that. Spots for Müller and BetVictor spring to mind.

Similarly, VCCP may have won some blockbuster accounts in 2013 – most notably Asda, but also Avis, Courvoisier and Which? – but there were losses too. Carling moved its business to Creature, and VCCP declined to repitch when Oasis and Zoopla reviewed their creative accounts. Meanwhile, pitches for Freesat, Asco and Center Parcs slipped through the agency’s fingers.

But fallibility can work to an agency’s advantage. If the big wins and ideas don’t come easily, there’s less chance of complacency. After kicking off 2014 with two Turkeys of the Week in these pages, complacency is one thing VCCP must guard against in the year ahead.

How VCCP rates itself: 8

VCCP's year in a Tweet: At VCCP we see 2013 like the first Terminator film. Brilliant, funny, quite scary but it pales in comparison to what’s coming next.

VCCP
Company ownership Chime Communications
Key personnel Adrian Coleman founding partner
Charles Vallance founding partner
Michael Sugden chief executive
Darren Bailes executive creative director
Sophie Maunder-Allan group strategy director
Nielsen billings 2013 £189m
Nielsen billings 2012 £203m
Declared income £60m
Total accounts at year end 95
Accounts won 27 (biggest: Asda)
Accounts lost 4 (biggest: Carling)
Number of staff 600 (+25%)

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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