School Reports 2016: Starcom Mediavest Group


The fortunes of an agency sometimes depend on one major account win, and so it proved for Starcom Mediavest Group when it was awarded Lidl's £73 million media business in August.

It was just the lift that the SMG bosses Pippa Glucklich and Steve Parker needed after moving into their flagship Turnmill office (the site of a former nightclub) in Farringdon. The days when the media agency felt like a poor relation with its tradesman’s entrance at the rear of sister creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi’s HQ on Charlotte Street are over.

Relocating to the fringes of Tech City has also added credibility to the NextTECHnow initiative, SMG’s outreach programme for tech start-ups to get introduced to clients. The agency has invested further in corporate culture, arranging more than 300 learning and development workshops and a scheme to help parents back into the workplace after taking time out to raise a family.

Lidl aside, the agency’s new-business record was less remarkable, but it picked up seven other accounts including Royal London, Etihad and Warner Music UK, Honda and DMG Media were the only three account losses. It was, of course, a coincidence that SMG’s media trading stablemate, VivaKi, decided to pull most of its spend with the Mail at the turn of the year after the newspaper group imposed a new ad sales deal on all media agencies.

Now, a new era beckons as SMG is being disbanded and its parent company, Publicis Groupe, will operate two agencies – Starcom and Mediavest Spark – as part of a global shake-up.

How the agency rates itself: 8

"A stellar performance from Team SMG, who continue to grow, diversify and disrupt. The move to our shiny Farringdon office provided us with the creative and collaborative environment from which to continue our growth. Outstanding new-business success culminated in our brilliant Lidl win. Our tech initiative, NextTECHnow, delivered more than 100 partnerships, generating innovation and value for clients, start-ups and staff alike."

Starcom Mediavest Group
Type of agency Media
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Nielsen billings 2015 £389m
Nielsen billings 2014 £308m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 109
Accounts won 8 (biggest: Lidl)
Accounts lost 3 (biggest: DMG Media)
Traditional media 65%
Digital media 35%
Number of staff 620 (+14%)
Women in senior management 50%
BAME staff in senior management 0%
Key personnel Iain Jacob, president, EMEA
Pippa Glucklich, co-chief executive
Steve Parker, co-chief executive
Jodie Stranger, president, Global Network Clients
Rachel Forde, managing director, P&G United

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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