Top 300 Agencies: School Reports. (6 of 6)

TBWA\LONDON - 6

After several hugely successful years, TBWA\London sailed into stormy waters in 2004. Shaken by the loss of the mobile operator 3, its biggest account, and suffering from an unsettled senior management team, the agency experienced an uncharacteristically shaky year.

2004 began badly when 3 left for WCRS months after reappointing TBWA to its £53 million account. Thomas Cook also departed, later assigning the agency to work on a project basis, while Abbey's acquisition by Grupo Santander meant TBWA's hold on another of its major accounts appeared unsteady.

As if all that wasn't enough, the agency kept a low profile on 2004's big pitchlists. It picked up Gossard and Tussauds but its new-business highlight came in October when it picked up the £20 million Muller account.

The agency's coffers were also fattened when Masterfoods handed it Pedigree and Skittles in February and then Twix, Galaxy and Starburst later in the year as part of a global shift out of Grey.

Creatively, the agency remained at the top of its game and its PlayStation "mountain" commercial walked off with the Grand Prix at Cannes. Strong work for French Connection, Apple and John Smith's contributed to an impressive reel, but the departure of the deputy creative director, Paul Silburn, to Fallon Minneapolis was a blow for the department.

A further setback for the agency was the near-departure of the managing director, Jonathan Mildenhall, for New York. His future, unresolved until January, bred uncertainty among staff and clients.

2205 is likely to see the newly promoted European president, Paul Bainsfair, keep a close eye on the London agency's performance. The pressure is on to replace 3's lost billings and return to the higher plane TBWA normally occupies.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Trevor Beattie chairman and creative

director

Andrew McGuinness chief executive

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £173m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £237m

Total accounts year end 40

Accounts gained 11

Accounts lost 4

Number of staff 250

Score last year 8

TEQUILA\LONDON

Tequila and TBWA\GGT eventually merged into the combined outfit Tequila\London in 2004 (hence no score in this report), ending the anomaly of TBWA\Worldwide having two direct marketing operations in London.

The move, which had been widely expected because Tequila's international presence had eclipsed that of the London-centred GGT, has given Omnicom a strong below-the-line network. The two agencies bring complementary skills to the mix and Tequila's strength in sales promotion should enhance the offering of GGT, which has a reputation for strong strategic and creative work.

The merger has gone smoothly to date and the agency's management teams have married well. The former heads of Tequila and GGT, Tim Bonnet and Penny Reid respectively, were made joint chief executives. GGT's creative director, Nick Moore, took overall creative charge with Tequila's creative director, Nick Schanche, reporting to him. Mike Cornwell, previously the chief executive of GGT, moved sideways and was handed the role of European managing director.

The first major challenge for the new agency will be new business and neither shop performed well in this respect last year. Tequila managed to hold on to all of its clients but only picked up a few small new accounts, including the Gala Group bingo and casino chain and a place on Lever Faberge's household products roster. GGT fared worse, losing Vauxhall.

Yet Vauxhall's departure helped overcome a major client clash with Tequila (which holds the Nissan account) and so helped make the merger possible.

However, this was small comfort for GGT, which counted Vauxhall as one of its biggest and oldest clients.

The agency's focus for the new year will be to bed the merger down as quickly as possible. This is essential to keep staff upheaval to a minimum and will enable Tequila\London to concentrate on its combined client list - which includes big-spending direct marketers such as the One Account - and winning more business.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Tim Bonnet joint chief executive

Penny Reid joint chief executive

Nick Moore creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 n/a

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 n/a

Total accounts year end 35

Accounts gained 12

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 270

Score last year N/A

THE ALLMOND PARTNERSHIP - 4

The Allmond Partnership was on a high after winning the Weetabix business towards the end of 2003. It was moving into 2004 as a newly independent agency that had just won a large domestic account. With this in mind, 2004 turned out to be a disappointing year for TAP.

The initial appetite was certainly there but the agency suffered a sickening blow in April, when it lost its £33 million O2 buying account to ZenithOptimedia.

Last year, we asked whether TAP could harness the momentum it had built up and move beyond its BT television buying expertise. The loss of O2 did not help but under the chief executive, Nigel Allmond, and managing director, Paul Longhurst, the agency pressed on with a series of changes.

It hired its first communications strategy director (Abba Newbery from Universal McCann) and promoted Leigh Yoxall and Kerry Howard to associate directors to boost the management team.

TAP's Ape TV interactive division had a good year, winning a BSkyB Award for developing the best interactive advertising idea for Weetabix's Weetos.

However, its attempts to diversify were dealt a blow by the departure of the press director, Nigel Breckon.

There was bad news in September when TAP lost the £7 million Yell TV buying business. The agency faced a difficult situation because of conflict between Yell's Yellow Pages and BT's rival directory The Phone Book.

TAP will face a nightmarish 2005 if BT presses on with plans to consolidate its £100 million spend into one advertising holding company. But, if it can hold on to BT and win some smaller UK business, 2005 will be a qualified success for one of the few remaining independent media agencies.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Nigel Allmond chief executive

Paul Longhurst managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £68m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £77m

TV billings 92%

Press billings 4%

Outdoor billings 1%

Radio billings 1%

New-media billings 0%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 2%

Total accounts year end 11

Accounts gained 1

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 19

Score last year 7

THE INGRAM PARTNERSHIP - 6

When The Ingram Partnership celebrated its first anniversary in October, Chris Ingram marked the event by reiterating his ambition to revolutionise the marketing communications business for the second time in his career.

Yet with more than 12 months of work under its belt, TIP's revolution seems to be a quiet one. As with most other companies in the consultancy territory, observers find it difficult to judge progress and measure success.

Certainly, TIP has had a lower profile and made less of a noise in the industry than you might expect from the collection of heavyweight talent its name represents.

Much of this is undoubtedly due to the fact TIP only takes on strategic tasks and does not offer implementation of any sort. TIP claims to have won more than 40 projects of this sort and boasts a client list that includes 20th Century Fox, London 2012, BT, Diageo, Guardian Media Group, COI Communications, Bosch and Carphone Warehouse.

And since the ambition has always been to work at a very senior client level, it is not surprising that many of these projects have included strategic consultancy on an international basis. But how much of this business is sustainable is probably hard for even TIP to gauge.

The company does seem to have been successful in establishing a dialogue at an enviably senior level within client companies - half of its relationships are at marketing director level and 25 per cent at chairman or chief executive level. Some questions remain over whether the disparate people and companies that were brought together under TIP are really operating as a coherent, integrated unit.

A clearer public positioning, more openness about its work and a greater sense of teamwork should all be high on TIP's agenda for 2005. And although most business to date has come from referrals, the company really needs to market itself more effectively if it is to spark any sort of revolution.

Type of agency Strategic brand and comms

consultancy

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Chris Ingram founding partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 n/a

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 n/a

Total accounts year end n/a

Accounts gained n/a

Accounts lost n/a

Number of staff 28

Score last year N/A

TRIBAL DDB - 6

The year began badly for Tribal, when four of its brightest stars, including the creative directors, Sam Ball and Dave Bedwood, quit to set up their own agency. But the managing director, Ciaran Deering, made the most of the opportunity to refresh his management team with some high-profile and senior hirings, as well as promoting Ben Clapp to the creative director's role.

Neil Hughston, a former board account director at Publicis, joined as the head of client services, Nigel Palmer from Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners was made senior account director and Robin O'Neill, who set up Media Contacts at Media Planning Group, was appointed head of media.

Losing the British Gas business was another blow, although Tribal managed to hold on to the account for longer than many expected following the move of the above-the-line business out of DDB and into Clemmow Hornby Inge.

Tribal did well to make up the difference, winning £1.2 million of new business from Austravel, BT Yahoo!, Axa, Harvey Nichols and Philips. The Austravel and BT Yahoo! briefs involved full brand repositioning and campaigns using a wide range of digital elements.

The agency branched out into some new areas, notably producing its first television ads using Flash for TUI's low-cost airline, Thomson Fly. Tribal also devised nice campaigns for the Volkswagen Golf V and The Guardian and will be looking to produce more good work under the auspices of its youthful creative chief.

Customer relationship marketing will be another focus for the agency in 2005. Deering has identified e-mail marketing and data capture as an area that offers huge growth opportunities.

Type of agency Digital advertising

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Ciaran Deering managing director

Ben Clapp creative director

Declared income n/s

Accounts gained 5

Accounts lost 1

Creative 40%

Media planning and buying 20%

Web design/build 40%

Biggest-spending clients Volkswagen, Philips, TUI

Number of staff 50

Score last year N/A

TULLO MARSHALL WARREN - 8

Tullo Marshall Warren's 16th year was one of its best ever. It started with a restructure that promoted Sean Dewhurst and Chris Freeland to joint managing directors. Tequila\London's Julia Foster was then installed as its new-business director and Julie Roberts later joined as the group account director.

The agency pulled in ten new accounts in 2004 and won extra business from its existing clients Guinness and Coca-Cola.

It embarked on a potentially lucrative relationship with Royal Bank of Scotland by winning the company's FastPay account. It picked up a direct brief for Lloyds TSB and then cemented its relationship with Lever Faberge by splitting the Persil account with Tequila\London.

A place on the Visit Britain and Post Office rosters followed. By the end of the year, the agency had also won the Sight Savers, Coutts and Diners Club accounts, a new product launch from Thomas Cook Signature and digital assignments from Age Concern, Cadbury Schweppes, the Carbon Trust and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The only setback came in November, when Morgan Stanley decided to review its £20 million consumer banking account, although TMW was invited to repitch.

Last year was another good one for the creative director, Daren Kay, and his boss, Paul Tullo, who have worked hard to show the agency is as much about strong executions as it is about strategy.

In recent years, TMW's relationship with Guinness has become one of the most fruitful in direct marketing. The pairing netted a silver at the Campaign Direct Awards, while, at the same ceremony, TMW landed an Agency of the Year gold. It also scooped a gold Lion at Cannes and seven DMA/Royal Mail Awards (three gold, two silver, two bronze).

The agency that has been the surprise package of the direct industry over the past few years put in a blistering performance in 2004. TMW may not be independent for very much longer if it maintains this form.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Sean Dewhurst joint managing director

Chris Freeland joint managing director

Paul Tullo executive creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £3m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £2m

Total accounts year end 40

Accounts gained 10

Accounts lost 4

Number of staff 170

Score last year N/A

UNIVERSAL MCCANN - 4

It is hard not to feel sorry for the management of Universal's UK operation. Traditionally dependent on network business, the London agency has suffered blow after blow as its network has continued to haemorrhage accounts.

Universal's joint managing directors, Andy Jones and Damian Blackden, were put in place at the end of 2003. They began 2004 energetically, focusing on new business and building the agency's planning resource following the departures of the previous year.

In the first half of the year, the agency landed RHM, Telegraph Group and More Th>n, amounting to £35 million in combined billings. It also retained the fashion retailer H&M after a pitch. Universal was more than punching its weight in domestic pitches.

The quality of its work was also high. Perhaps surprisingly, given its grey reputation, Universal emerged as one of the more creative agencies of the year, winning two prizes at the Campaign Media Awards for its Bacardi and H&M work.

In personnel terms, Russell Place was promoted to planning director to replace Abba Newbery, who departed for The Allmond Partnership.

A sense of energy was building around the agency before the inevitable network problems occurred. Universal lost T-Mobile across Europe, leading to a £20 million loss in the UK. Nestle was a global loss, resulting in a chunk of the UK business moving out of Universal. It also lost Panasonic as part of a pan-European review. In between, the agency lost the BSkyB account, which it had held for seven years, to MediaCom.

However, there was better news in October when Universal landed the Burton's Food account. The SC Johnson broadcast account also came its way as part of a global realignment.

Last year, we set Universal the task of winning more business than it lost and in 2004 it failed to do this. Sky's departure was a big blow but Universal managed to win enough UK-only business to cover this. A stronger vision from Interpublic for the Universal network would benefit its London agency significantly.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Interpublic subsidiary

Key personnel Damian Blackden joint managing

director

Andy Jones joint managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £338m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £325m

TV billings 59%

Press billings 24%

Outdoor billings 10%

Radio billings 4%

New-media billings 0%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 3%

Total accounts year end 80

Accounts gained 4

Accounts lost 4

Number of staff 102

Score last year 6

VALLANCE CARRUTHERS COLEMAN PRIEST - 8

When you consider that the founders of Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest devised the strategy for Orange while at WCRS, it is not surprising their subsequent transformation of BT Cellnet into O2 has elevated the brand from the poor relation of its sector to a contender for its crown.

Indeed, the agency's dedication to long-term branding enabled it to win the Grand Prix at the IPA Effectiveness Awards while also triumphing in the Effectiveness Agency of the Year category for shops billing under £100 million a year. If this were not enough, the agency was the first in the award's history to win the top prize on its debut.

It is easy to forget this agency "minnow" is only in its third year.

It proves consistently that size isn't everything by snatching the big accounts from the larger players time and time again.

Hyundai and Diet Coke were both seduced by the VCCP appeal in 2004. And, thanks to the arrival of Capri Sun, Dyson and Jordans, the agency guaranteed itself a credible position in the new-business league with no losses for the second consecutive year.

The agency's success is rooted in strong strategic thinking, led by the planning founder, Charles Vallance, However, this regularly appears to be achieved at the cost of creative integrity, an area that needs to be addressed in 2005.

All in all, however, it is pretty impressive stuff for what is still a fledging outfit. If it continues in the same vein, yet more big clients are likely to fall for the charm of VCCP's tightly integrated campaigns at the expense of the industry's established leaders.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Charles Vallance founding partner

Adrian Coleman chairman

Ian Priest managing director

Rooney Carruthers creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £73m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £43m

Total accounts year end 17

Accounts gained 9

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 86

Score last year 7

VIZEUM - 5

While 2004 was the year Trista Grant achieved some sort of equilibrium in her work/life balance by going part-time, the agency she left behind appeared to have a rough time of it. Grant's replacement, the respected Chris Boothby, took on the role of operations director with responsibility for the day-to-day running of the agency. He immediately had to prove his sea legs by settling the Vizeum vessel as it lurched from highs to lows and back again.

The year got off to a disappointing start when Vizeum lost its long-standing £10 million RHM account. There was also some confusing Aegis Media jiggery-pokery as Vizeum was forced to sacrifice its equally important £30 million Disney brief to its sister agency Carat.

Frustratingly for the new management team, 2004 also ended on a low with the departure of the planning business for its £25 million BMW account, which went to the newly created WCRS/Naked start-up, Element. However, there were moments to savour in between. Vizeum's European network offered up sizeable new business in the form of Heinz and Panasonic, while the UK office won Npower and easyJet independently.

The Vizeum position, based on neologisms such as "connectology", seems to turn off as many clients as it turns on. But it is difficult not to feel some pangs of nostalgia for the days when the agency was known as BBJ ( it wasn't broken, so why did they attempt to fix it?). That said, it must be gratifying for Vizeum's management that the agency plays such a pivotal role in the network, which would do well to learn from the UK rather than impose its culture upon it. Consistency will be the key to success in 2005, as will sorting out a stronger, cleaner, senior management line-up.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Aegis subsidiary

Key personnel Trista Grant managing director

Chris Boothby operations director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £176m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £206m

TV billings 49%

Press billings 17%

Outdoor billings 10%

Radio billings 2%

New-media billings 4%

Below-the-line billings 12%

Other 6%

Total accounts year end 29

Accounts gained 8

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 76

Score last year 5

WALKER MEDIA - 7

It seemed inevitable that the news of Christine Walker's and Phil Georgiadis' ascent up the ranks of media's rich list would overshadow what was another solid year for Walker Media. So first the juicy stuff.

The sale of 25 per cent of the agency's equity to M&C Saatchi gave M&C a 75 per cent stake, valuing Walker's stake at £6 million and Georgiadis' at £1.5 million. With best practice in corporate governance to consider, the partners took the respective roles of chairman and chief executive.

While the sums involved may be eye-watering, there was no "fat cat" behaviour.

It is to their collective credit that Walker and Georgiadis also gave some of the equity to long-standing employees such as the broadcast director, Jon Horrocks.

Despite this new-found - or newly replenished - wealth, the agency's management did not take its eye off the new-business machine.

Wins such as Drambuie, US Tourism, Halfords and Multiyork all demonstrate that the management still has fire in its belly and an ability to seize accounts from larger rivals. Indeed, a glance at the agency rankings reveals that Walker Media has already leapfrogged Aegis Media's Vizeum and WPP's Mediaedge:cia.

The only cloud on the horizon came when the agency's grasp on its Marks & Spencer account looked potentially under threat following the arrival of yet another management team at the beleaguered retailer. So far it remains buttoned down.

All in all, the Walker Media management can look back on the past year with some satisfaction, and not just for the improvements in their personal bank balances. With the earn-out some years away, the challenge now is to make the most of the agency's position - it is neither part of a fully formed network nor a media independent - to ensure the cogs of the new Walker Media machine keep turning.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership M&C Saatchi subsidiary

Key personnel Christine Walker partner

Phil Georgiadis partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £197m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £173m

TV billings 48%

Press billings 38%

Outdoor billings 4%

Radio billings 4%

New-media billings 1%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 5%

Total accounts year end 60

Accounts gained 7

Accounts lost 0

Number of staff 52

Score last year 6

WALSH TROTT CHICK SMITH - 6

When Daniel Taylor joined as the managing partner at the end of 2003, he said Walsh Trott Chick Smith needed a firecracker putting up its arse and that he was the fuse. He took a bit of a ribbing from his peers at the time but there is no denying his arrival coincided with a change in the agency's attitude and fortunes. It therefore came as a blow to the agency to learn that Taylor was quitting in 2005.

The agency began 2004 with modest wins for Superdrug and the children's channel Nick Junior, but it focused on client service and minimising the fall-out from the potentially damaging exit of the hugely influential Amanda Walsh.

Then Will Hamilton, the former WCRS and McCann Erickson marketing director, came on board. He brought energy and enthusiasm to the agency's new-business effort and implemented the systems required to give it a much-needed kick-start. His efforts led to the defining moment in Walsh Trott's year, when the pitch team of the three founding partners, Dave Trott, Murray Chick and Gordon Smith, beat Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and St Luke's to the £15 million launch of Sainsbury's car insurance. This victory helped Walsh Trott increase its revenues by a third.

Until this point, the agency faced constant criticism for not using its greatest asset - Trott - to his full potential. However, the Sainsbury's pitch, coupled with D&AD's decision to hand Trott the long-overdue president's honour, has resulted in Trott being thrust once more into the spotlight, whether he likes it or not. He now has a client of stature and with it the spend to allow him to create work that puts his agency back on the creative map.

Apart from its decision to resign Ryvita, the agency lost no other accounts over the past year. This means it now boasts a fairly robust client list, including some enviable brands such as The Independent and Daihatsu. The onus is now on the agency, and Trott especially, to prove it can produce advertising that will win the admiration of more clients of a similar calibre.

Taylor's decision to move to Burkitt DDB this year, however, indicates growth is not going to come easily.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Murray Chick chairman

Dave Trott creative partner

Gordon Smith creative partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £31m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £18m

Total accounts year end 29

Accounts gained 3

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 30

Score last year 4

WCRS - 8

After a turbulent couple of years, the tide finally turned for WCRS and, with the completion of its management buyout in April, new life was breathed into the agency, most remarkably into the new-business department.

Here, the agency went from strength to strength and the year was characterised by one successful pitch after another. The highlight was unquestionably winning the £53 million 3 account. WCRS did well to ingratiate itself with the client, which moved from TBWA\London without a pitch.

Other notable wins included Phones 4U, Mr Kipling, NiQuitin and the Vertu handset business, which placed WCRS on the Nokia roster.

Wins outweighed losses in 2004. The £16 million Debenhams account went to Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, while First Direct moved to WPP as part of HSBC's global realignment. The substantial billings from 3 will also go some way to compensating WCRS's loss of Camelot at the end of 2003.

WCRS has also been busy expanding its offering and, having set up Meme, Personal, Huge Entertainment and Element, it is now equipped to create digital campaigns, direct marketing and branded content. Element, its communications planning joint venture with Naked Communications, has already won the £25million BMW media planning business.

The agency succeeded in filling some senior management positions, with Leslie Ali and Jeremy Bowles joining as joint creative director and managing director respectively. However, Ali has already quit her post, showing that the post-MBO management team still has some political issues to iron out.

WCRS had an impressive year creatively, producing some discussion-provoking work for 3, a refreshed campaign for 118 118 and some striking BMW ads.

Following the agency's new-business success in 2004, WCRS can afford to be selective in the pitches it takes this year. The big challenge will be to get the best from its four new companies and to ensure they work effectively as a unit.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Robin Wight founding partner

Stephen Woodford founding partner

Leon Jaume founding partner

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £146m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £139m

Total accounts year end 27

Accounts gained 9

Accounts lost 1

Number of staff 153

Score last year 4

WHEEL - 6

This was a year of consolidation for Wheel following its management buyout by the chief executive, Phillip Hunt, and managing director, Ewan Sturgeon, in December 2003.

The agency rebranded in May, dropping the Abel & Baker name almost two years after it acquired the creative agency. It also postponed its north of England acquisition drive, instead choosing targets on the basis of expertise rather than location.

Wheel bought the digital media specialist Oscar Media in March to strengthen its media offering and started to offer a full service to its existing clients Starbucks, Marks & Spencer and Disney.

The Oscar acquisition brought Caroline McGuckian to Wheel as the agency's media director and the strengthened media team no doubt helped the agency win its highest-value new account in 2004, the online media planning and buying for Easycar.com.

Other wins across the year included the global launch of Absolut Cut and the online work for the jeweller Ernest Jones. Wheel also grew its BT account - it now handles 40 per cent of BT's online work - and has produced some strong creative campaigns for Opodo and Starbucks across the year.

Staff changes were a feature of the year: the executive creative director, Marc Giusti, left to go freelance and the media director, Philip Ludgate, moved to Graphico New Media. Wheel brought in Paul Frost from rmg Black Cat as the head of strategy and planning and promoted the creative director, Chris Clarke, and the group account director, Laurent Ezekiel, to board level.

Wheel will be forgiven for beginning 2005 more cocksure than many of its digital independent rivals.

Its new parent, LB Icon, the digital services group that bought the agency last month, should give the agency enviable stability and the opportunity to raise its international profile.

Type of agency Digital full service

Company ownership LB Icon subsidiary

Key personnel Phillip Hunt chief executive

Ewan Sturgeon managing director

Declared income £7.2m

Accounts gained 6

Accounts lost 0

Creative 45%

Media planning and buying 15%

Web design/build 40%

Biggest-spending clients Unilever, Marks & Spencer, BT

Number of staff 97

Score last year 7

WIEDEN & KENNEDY - 7

After a dazzlingly creative year in 2003, Wieden & Kennedy had a lot to live up to in 2004. But with some more outstanding campaigns for Honda - one winning this magazine's Campaign of the Year - and a raft of other strong work, the agency cracked it again.

2004 began with the appointment of Neil Christie from Euro RSCG London as managing director. This provided the smooth management handover the agency needed following the departure of the inspirational Amy Smith for her native Australia.

Christie also supplied the new-business impetus the agency previously lacked and W&K appeared on more pitchlists than usual in 2004. Despite this effort, its new-business growth was not spectacular and victories included the small Wales Tourist Board and Associated New Media accounts.

Another notable new-business success was gaining a place on the Unilever roster when W&Kwon a pan-European project for Persil.

W&K continued to develop its non-TV and print capabilities and it created a magazine and documentary for Nike through its content division, W&K Entertainment. It also launched large digital campaigns for Aiwa and Honda and growth in these areas is a must, allowing the agency to showcase its creativity beyond its traditional arena.

W&K is a small agency capable of handling big clients while producing some of the best work in London. But the network appears to have a laid-back attitude to UK growth. This is a shame because the strength of W&K's creative output speaks well for the whole UK market.

Type of agency Advertising

Company ownership Private company

Key personnel Neil Christie managing director

Tony Davidson joint creative director

Kim Papworth joint creative director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £27m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £37m

Total accounts year end 4

Accounts gained 2

Accounts lost 3

Number of staff 49

Score last year 7

WWAV RAPP COLLINS - 6

Two painful losses threatened to ruin 2004 for WWAV Rapp Collins. Fortunately, a dogged new-business drive turned matters around and allowed the agency to go into 2005 feeling reasonably optimistic. The year's low points came in April, when Cancer Research UK shifted its business into OgilvyOne, and in June, when Oxfam moved its £5 million account after 11 years. These losses were tough on WWAV because the agency had served both charities well creatively, particularly in the difficult medium of DRTV.

However, WWAV managed to keep hold of some of the Cancer Research account.

It also landed £7 million of business from RCI, the international timeshare operation, as well as the £3 million DM account for the children's charity Plan International.

Meanwhile, the agency made valuable inroads with COI Communications, winning briefs for the Royal Marines and the Department of Work and Pensions as well as a firework safety assignment from the Department of Trade and Industry. These pieces of business might not have had the same emotional significance to the agency as Oxfam and Cancer Research, but they more than matched the lost billings. The agency also added to its impressive pharmaceutical client list with the Organon and AstraZeneca accounts.

It sought to leverage this particular field of expertise in November by launching a specialist pharmaceutical division, Rapp Collins Consumer Health.

Ian Haworth's creative department once again did the job without turning heads or troubling awards judges. Like many direct marketing agencies that have been hit hard by the recession over the past couple of years, WWAV found 2004 slightly easier going. To capitalise on this it must make sure none of its other long-standing clients follow Oxfam's example in 2005.

Type of agency Direct marketing

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Key personnel Chris Gordon chairman

Marco Scognamiglio chief executive

Ian Howarth head of creative

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £27m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £26m

Total accounts year end 41

Accounts gained 7

Accounts lost 2

Number of staff 210

Score last year 5

ZENITHOPTIMEDIA - 5

ZenithOptimedia's chief executive, Antony Young, spent his second year at the helm balancing a management team of tough-tackling buyers and flair players.There was more of an emphasis on planning, with the arrival of Lucy Banks from Initiative as creative director and Derek Morris from Publicis as vice-chairman. Alongside the managing director, Gerry Boyle, they provide the agency's planning power.

The balance of ZenithOptimedia's team now looks about right. It lost its well-regarded deputy managing director, Tom George, to Mediaedge:cia, but brought in the former CIA joint managing director, Tim Neligan, to replace him. Jeff Hyams, the managing director of Zed, the direct and digital division, also moved to Mediaedge:cia but was swiftly replaced by Greg Grimmer, ZenithOptimedia's commercial director.

By far the most significant departure was that of John Perriss, the worldwide chief executive of the network and the creator of Zenith Media in 1988.

Perriss handed over the reins to the European chief, Steve King, in March.

King's succession could foster more cordial relationships with other Publicis Groupe agencies.

The agency has marketed its "ROI Agency" positioning heavily and its capture of the O2 account in April seemed to justify its confidence. New business slowed after this and there was little of significance until ZenithOptimedia landed the consolidated Associated British Foods account in December (it already had about £8 million of the total £20 million spend through clients such as Ryvita).

On the negative side, the agency said goodbye to Kraft and Nestle's water business after international reviews. It also lost Entertainment Film Distributors to MediaCom after a conflict with its UIP business.

ZenithOptimedia's work was of a higher standard than is often credited (its Aussie Haircare and HP activity impressed at the Campaign Media Awards and its early O2 work is also promising). It would be good to see this come to the fore in 2005 and for the flair players to hit the back of the net more often in pitches.

Type of agency Media

Company ownership Publicis Groupe subsidiary

Key personnel Simon Marquis chairman

Antony Young chief executive

Gerry Boyle managing director

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2004 £622m

Nielsen Media Research

billings 2003 £606m

TV billings 55%

Press billings 27%

Outdoor billings 8%

Radio billings 8%

New-media billings 0%

Below-the-line billings 0%

Other 2%

Total accounts year end 162

Accounts gained 11

Accounts lost 5

Number of staff 349

Score last year N/A

Topics