School Reports 2015: Leagas Delaney

Penfolds
Penfolds

Score: 5  Last year: 5

Leagas Delaney remains something of an oddity.

An independent creative boutique with ongoing international aspirations, it sits at the hub of a modest network sustained by a small collection of multinational clients. And, as 2014 proved, it is a position that has upsides and downsides.

The big upside was the arrival last year of Telecom Italia, which named Leagas Delaney as its lead agency after a pitch involving contenders from across Europe and becomes its top-spending account.

However, while Telecom Italia was arriving, Skoda was leaving. The Volkswagen-owned car-maker had chosen Fallon, its UK agency since 1999, to be its lead creative shop across Europe.

It was unpleasant news not only for Leagas Delaney’s Prague office, which had run the account for a decade, but also for the group. The fact that Leagas Delaney Hamburg will continue handling the brand in Germany seemed scant consolation.

Winning other new business with a well-known name and a budget to match proved challenging.

The agency, which also last year lost its managing director, James Hayhurst, failed in a six-way pitch for the £15 million Travelodge business. And, despite making the final shoot-out, the £8 million account of Flybe, the budget airline, took off for The Corner.

Nevertheless, there was one win that seems a natural fit for the agency. Penfolds, the Australian wine producer, chose Leagas Delaney to launch a global integrated campaign covering the Penfolds masterbrand as well as individual wines within the portfolio. The agency’s Shanghai team will handle the brand’s China launch.

Penfolds provides Leagas Delaney, an agency with global reach and luxury credentials, with the opportunity to do the kind of creative work on which it built its reputation. It needs more of the same.

How the agency scores itself: 7

How the agency rates itself: Of 2014’s six new accounts, three international wins particularly stood out. Telecom Italia’s €100 million domestic business, Penfolds’ prestigious global project and the Danish shoe brand Ecco’s global advertising account. We continue to be in investment mode for Shanghai, which is exciting. Losing the international slice of Skoda (though we retained the account in its lead market, Germany) was less so. All in all, some great wins and new and unusual projects. More of that, please!

Leagas Delaney
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Independent
Nielsen billings 2014 £9m
Nielsen billings 2013 £8m
Declared income £7.3m
Total accounts at year end 26
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Telecom Italia)
Accounts lost 1 (MSC Cruises)
Number of staff 70 (+15%)
Key personnel Tim Delaney chairman and executive creative director
Margaret Johnson group chief executive
Remi Rasenberg managing director
Steve Cramer group chief operating officer

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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