Top 300 Agencies: School Reports. (Part 5 of 5)


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership WPP subsidiary Key personnel James Murphy chief executive Alison Hoad vice-chairman Mark Roalfe executive creative director Ben Priest creative director David Golding planning director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £209m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £185m Total accounts year end 37 Accounts won 10 Accounts lost 2 Number of staff n/s

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R progressed through 2005 in much the way it finished 2004 - by strengthening its existing relationships with clients and contesting as many pitches as possible.

Contrary to popular expectations, the agency held on to its key clients under the leadership of the new chief executive, James Murphy. This was despite the departure of two of the company's founders, Jim Kelly and MT Rainey, in April.

RKCR/Y&R's appearance on a multitude of pitchlists gave the agency a real sense of buzz and energy. Wins were plentiful, if the clients were somewhat small in scale. They included Hertz, BAE Systems, British Heart Foundation, Visit London and Kremly Vodka. The Bacardi win at the close of the year was the most significant.

Meanwhile, the Young & Rubicam network suffered from unresolved management issues and lost the prized global Jaguar account to Euro RSCG in March.

Ann Fudge was moved partially from her position as network chief, but no clear successor was named. In Europe, William Eccleshare's move to BBDO led to the promotion of Massimo Costa.

But none of this appeared to sap the energy at Greater London House.

The agency brought in Alison Hoad from Campbell Doyle Dye in March as vice-chairman. Strong campaigns emerged for Budweiser, Virgin Trains and Virgin Mobile, and there were some interesting new executions, such as a live TV ad for the V music festival.

But the agency's creative highlight was, of course, the "your M&S" campaign.

The ads made the ailing Marks & Spencer cool again, attracting numerous column inches in the national press along the way.

So it was another strong year for RKCR/Y&R, but the agency needs to concentrate on winning pitches for larger pieces of business in 2006.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 7

How RKCR/Y&R rates itself: 9

"This year we managed to:

- help turn M&S around;

- help turn Kate Moss around (Virgin Mobile);

- relaunch Virgin Trains;

- win Budweiser, Volvic, Visit London, BAE Systems, Hertz, Virgin Games, Pulsar, Eidos and Bacardi;

- grab three silvers at Campaign Press and Posters;

- welcome Alison Hoad, Russell Hopson, Nick Simons and Jules Chalkley;

- work hard and be nice."


Type of agency Direct marketing Company ownership Private company Key personnel Jonathan Stead chief executive John Townshend executive creative director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £30m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £24m Total accounts year end 12 Accounts won 5 (biggest: ntl) Accounts lost 0 Number of staff 95

In a year when the growth in direct marketing budgets levelled off, Rapier's stable management team, clear positioning and consistently strong work proved to be a winning combination: the agency was crowned Campaign's Direct Agency of the Year 2005.

Rapier showed that its offering of high-quality DM across any channel - exclusively for service brands - was a popular one. It trounced its more mainstream competitors in the new-business league. As a result, its total billings were up £49 million to £165 million, boosting profits by a handsome 26 per cent.

Its £30 million ntl haul was the biggest prize this year. Rapier already held the integrated Telewest Broadband account and convinced ntl to add its integrated account to that business without a pitch just weeks before the companies planned to merge.

Other wins included COI's Disability and Discriminations Act task and the Health and Safety Executive accounts. It secured an extra £10 million from its flagship client the AA, even though it failed to beat Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners in the pitch for its Roadside Assistance advertising business.

Creative highlights were integrated campaigns for South Eastern Trains, Smart and the AA (which won a silver at the Campaign Direct Awards).

The agency enjoyed a remarkable 2005 - keeping up the momentum in 2006 is its only challenge.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 9

How Rapier rates itself: 8

"Rapier's USP finally seems to be ringing bells with clients. Our ability to translate direct thinking into mainstream media appealed to ntl, COI, Mercedes Vans and South Eastern Trains, making 2005 our best ever year for new business. One point - we'd like to improve our awards tally in 2006."


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership Publicis Groupe subsidiary Key personnel Lee Daley chairman, chief executive Kate Stanners executive creative director John Wright managing director Chris Chalk chief strategy officer Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £211m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £212m Total accounts year end 101 (UK group) Accounts won 30 across all group divisions (biggest: Standard Life) Accounts lost 3 (biggest: Toyota Yaris UK) Number of staff 506

Saatchi & Saatchi has long held the enviable position of being the only advertising agency that the man on the street can name. In 2005, its chief executive, Lee Daley, took action to maintain this profile.

As a result, the year was a whirlwind of headline-capturing new ventures and innovations.

A brand entertainment agency, Gum@Saatchi, an innovation unit, Industry@Saatchi, and a youth division, Friends of Jonny, were created as part of the plan.

All have won business since they launched, but it remains to be seen what kind of contribution they will actually make to Saatchis' bottom line.

The agency's new-found energy was converted into new-business opportunities.

It joined the Post Office and easyJet shortlists, among others. Although its conversion rate could have been better, the agency did pick up Standard Life's £7 million demutualisation account and Bacardi-Martini's Dewars brief.

However, a massive crack emerged over the course of the year as Clemmow Hornby Inge stole increasing amounts of Saatchis' all-important, globally aligned pan-European Toyota business.

Looking at the agency's management, Daley has built a strong team around him. He hired Chris Chalk as the chief strategy officer and Adam Kirby as the business development director at the end of the year.

Under the new executive creative director, Kate Stanners, Saatchis' output for Lexus and the NSPCC was strong. However, there is still some way to go before the reel is as exemplary as Stanners would like.

Daley needs to transfer his energy to the agency's core advertising business in 2006 . His new ventures may pay off one day but, in the meantime, income from the likes of Toyota will be sorely missed.

Score last year: 4

Score this year: 5

How Saatchis rates itself: 5

"Significant execution of a five-year vision: new businesses rooted in creativity (Gum and Industry); diversified business model/revenue streams; new knowledge practices; improved professional service; reinvigorated culture and environment; key strategic hires. Significant work for T-Mobile, Comet, Visa and Lexus, but poor conversion on new business, some losses, a few significant wins and constant pitching."


Type of agency Direct marketing Company ownership WPP subsidiary Key personnel Gary Sharpen creative partner Martin Troughton managing partner Nigel Owens client partner Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 n/a Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 n/s Total accounts year end 14 Accounts won 6 (biggest: esure) Accounts lost 1 (HP) Number of staff 35

The year 2005 was always going to be a period of upheaval for the agency formerly known as Red Cell Response. Martin Troughton joined as the chairman from fellow WPP subsidiary Harrison Troughton Wunderman at the end of 2004. With his reputation for creating successful agencies, there was little doubt Troughton had big plans.

The first result of his arrival was the departure of the chief executive, Miles Murphy, in January. Gary Sharpen was already in place as the creative director. His high profile and talent make him a good partner for Troughton.

However, this partnership alone was not enough to stop the agency losing its place on the Sky roster after a review. STOR did rally with a number of new accounts. They included Autoglass, the Chartered Management Institute, Learn Direct and the pick of the bunch, the £10 million esure task.

This was proof that the newly acquainted management team could work together.

But the dismantling of the Red Cell network was the catalyst for Troughton's launch of a radical new position. Nigel Owens, an agency lifer and sales promotion specialist, was catapulted into the spotlight, getting his name above the door alongside those of Troughton and Sharpen. All three took equity in the business to engender a feeling of entrepreneurial flair.

The agency goes into 2006 having generated a lot of interest. It now needs to prove it can deliver on its ambitions to become WPP's direct marketing equivalent of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Score last year: n/a

Score this year: 4

How STOR rates itself: 3

"This was a year of building the foundations for a great agency and we changed almost everything, including our name. We made some mistakes but, in general, the changes were good. The work got better and the clients got happier. Expect more to be built on the foundations in 2006."


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership Private company Key personnel Neil Henderson joint managing director Phil Teer joint managing director Neil Thomson chief operating officer Al Young executive creative director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £24m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £37m Total accounts year end 15 Accounts won 5 (biggest: Strongbow) Accounts lost 1 (118 500) Number of staff 72

After a turnaround in 2004, last year was pretty flat for St Luke's.

The loss of all its existing BT business was a reminder that the agency badly needs to secure another large account to stay comfortably afloat.

St Luke's focused on BT, its biggest-billing client, for much of the year. It pitched for Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's £40 million consumer account, but ended up losing its £3 million 118 500 directory enquiries task.

At the end of the year, its remaining £17 million BT business-to-business account called a review and St Luke's declined to repitch. A project to launch BT's Openreach division means the agency still has a place on the roster, however.

St Luke's performed well elsewhere on the new-business front. It joined the Scottish Courage roster with its £8 million Strongbow win and picked up accounts including Beefeater restaurants, PJ Smoothies and Waterstone's. It also came close to winning the £25 million More Th>n business.

However, its successful pitch and subsequent creation of an ad campaign for Rover was a waste of time and money. It picked up the £20 million brief at the start of the year, just before the client went bust.

Creatively, the year was uninspired. The Clarks work remains solid and Strongbow offers an account with the potential for interesting work.

St Luke's today bears little resemblance to the pioneering shop it was at launch ten years ago. In 2005 it showed it could get on to some high-profile lists.

It needs to do so again this year and fill the big hole that was BT.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 5

How St Luke's rates itself: 6

"We'll remember 2005 for:

- great work, particularly Clarks, Ikea and Magic FM;

- £60 million of new business;

- winning MG Rover and watching it collapse three months later;

- getting on to the PepsiCo, Whitbread and Scottish Courage rosters and being reappointed to COI's;

- not repitching for BT Business after five years;

- seeing our design agency, The Nest, take off;

- celebrating ten years of co-ownership."


Type of agency Media Company ownership Publicis Groupe subsidiary Key personnel Iain Jacob chief executive, EMEA Jim Marshall chairman Linda Smith chief executive, Starcom UK Chris Locke group trading director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £662m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £678m Total accounts year end 135 Accounts won 13 (biggest: Gillette) Accounts lost 5 (biggest: COI TV buying) TV 59.5% Press 26.2% Out of home 5.6% Radio 6.4% Below the line 2.3% Number of staff 340

Following an underwhelming 2004, Starcom had a bumpy 2005 characterised by a massive account loss and the departure of a key executive.

Yet the year began with vigour and purpose. The agency was soon celebrating two significant wins: BT's radio planning and buying account and the £50 million pan-European LG Electronics brief.

By April, however, the agency's Mediavest office had lost the prized COI TV buying (billing £69 million) to Carat after a review. It soon bounced back by landing the smaller COI radio buying task. The agency also benefitted from Procter & Gamble's Gillette acquisition, landing the bulk of its business in October.

July brought a major thunderbolt. A bored and demotivated Mark Cranmer, one of media's most renowned leaders, resigned as the Starcom MediaVest EMEA chief executive. The cerebral Iain Jacob, Starcom's UK chief executive and Cranmer's long-time associate, was named his replacement. Jacob acted swiftly to hire the GCap Media commercial director, Linda Smith, a former Starcom Mediavest commercial director, as his UK chief executive.

Separately, three Starcom directors, Pete Edwards, Jez Groom and Will Saunders, left to launch a start-up. The trio are well respected, but it is too early to gauge the impact of their departure, given that Smith has been briefed to reinvent the business.

The launch of the specialist content division, Starcom +, signified the company's aim to move into new areas. And the work was of the usual high standard, with campaigns for Levi's, 20th Century Fox, Avon and Johnnie Walker impressing the judges at the Campaign Media Awards. Success in 2006 will be defined by how quickly the agency recovers from the loss of Cranmer and how well Jacob and Smith build for the future.

Score last year: 5

Score this year: 5

How Starcom rates itself: 7

"We are most proud of our product, demonstrated by our awards success - we broke boundaries with Levi's and Nintendo. On a new-business level, we had fantastic growth with our existing clients BT and Gillette. This, combined with our new-business wins, meant we soon recovered from the loss of COI TV."


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary Key personnel Neil Dawson chairman Matt Shepherd-Smith chief executive Danny Brooke-Taylor joint creative director Tony McTear joint creative director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £155m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £173m Total accounts year end 37 Accounts won 4 (biggest: Etihad) Accounts lost 5 (biggest: Abbey) Number of staff 216

After a rocky 2004, TBWA\London found itself still on uncertain ground during a year punctuated by management upheaval and painful account losses.

Its first setback was the loss of the £22 million Abbey account to WCRS.

The £20 million Sun and News of the World brief, and Thomas Cook also departed. And the agency's billings dropped by 11 per cent in the Nielsen Media figures.

But perhaps more destabilising was Trevor Beattie's exit. So influential had the chairman and executive creative director been in shaping the agency over 14 years that outsiders came to believe that TBWA stood for Trevor Beattie's World of Advertising.

Beattie took Andrew McGuinness, TBWA's chief executive, and Bil Bungay, his creative partner, with him. The threesome launched a start-up, snatching French Connection as its founding client.

Paul Bainsfair, TBWA's London-based European president, swiftly promoted Danny Brooke-Taylor and Tony McTear to joint creative directors. Nevertheless, TBWA failed to plug the gap left by its departing clients. Its two major wins - the Abu Dhabi airline Etihad and the £25 million Adecco - were not the high-profile accounts it is famous for.

The agency has always sought a major retail client but failed to make the Sainsbury's or Argos shortlists. It also failed to win a place on the COI roster.

Creatively, the agency survived Beattie's departure: its PSP campaign for Sony PlayStation was a highlight and its first work for Muller was strong.

TBWA surely put the worst behind it in 2005, although the appointment of Matt Shepherd-Smith as chief executive has taken a suprisingly long time. He and Neil Dawson have a large task to replace the lost billings and return the agency to better times.

The London agency's relationship with Paris will also play an important role. The network's centre of gravity moved from New York to Paris in 2005, along with its chief, Jean-Marie Dru. Can the network support two major hubs in Europe?

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 3

How TBWA rates itself: 7

"He was distracted early in the year, but worked hard over the summer and winter. Made new friends at the end of the year and played an important role in the TBWA International XI winning the annual Gunn Cup. We expect him to run noisily back into the playground in 2006."


Type of agency Direct marketing Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary Key personnel Tim Bonnet chief executive Nick Moore executive creative director Richard Madden executive planning director, deputy chairman Craig Elston customer insight director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £2m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £1m Total accounts year end 24 Accounts won 7 (biggest: Conduit) Accounts lost 4 (biggest: Barclays) Number of staff 205

The year following a merger is always difficult. Integrating two cultures, even if they are from the same stable, presents a number of problems. This was the challenge the new Tequila\ London management faced as they attempted to merge the planning-led, traditional creative DM shop TBWA\GGT with the sales promotion-focused Tequila.

The deal led to unease among some clients and the agency was forced to repitch for Prudential's customer retention account which, to its credit, it retained. It was less fortunate with other financial services clients.

Barclaycard departed early in the year, not surprising given that the agency snared the £20 million Morgan Stanley DM brief. But at the end of the year Morgan Stanley announced it was off to pastures new along with Unicef, another longstanding client.

Management changes did not help to steady nerves. Halfway through the year, Penny Reid, the former TBWA\GGT managing director and the new agency's joint chief executive, was made chairman. But just weeks later it became clear that she intended to leave.

Despite these distractions, the agency won credible new business from Reuters, Conduit (118 888 and ) and the UK DM brief for GE Money.

Nick Moore's creative department picked up some awards: a silver at the Campaign Direct Awards for the Newspaper Marketing Agency and a commendation for Sainsbury's. Its One Account work won the People's Choice award at the Direct Marketing Awards.

The agency also bolstered its digital division, naming Matt Mills the managing partner of digital and doing some interesting digital printing work for Sainsbury's.

Tequila\London goes into 2006 with a redefined and, hopefully, stable management team. The merger fallout needs to have been be confined to 2005, allowing a new culture to emerge in 2006.

Score last year: n/a

Score this year: 4

How Tequila rates itself: 7

"In 2005, we confounded the sceptics by successfully merging TBWA\GGT and Tequila. We had a tremendous new-business year, winning Conduit, Reuters, GE Money and a spot on the COI roster. With a strong management team and a fantastic creative and strategic offering, Tequila is well positioned for an outstanding 2006."


Type of agency Digital full service Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary Key personnel Bill Brock managing director Ben Clapp creative director Matt Dyke planning director Alison Lomax media director Declared income n/s Accounts won 3 (biggest: Hasbro) Accounts lost 1 (Camelot) Creative 30% Media planning and buying 15% Web design/build 30% Consultancy 25% Biggest-spending clients Volkswagen, Philips, The Guardian Number of staff 70

It was another year of upheaval for Tribal DDB, and the few small pieces of business it won were hardly fair compensation for the loss of its Camelot buying account and some of its most senior members of staff.

The management merry-go-round that was a negative feature of 2004 continued into 2005 with the departure of Ciaran Deering, who quit as the managing director in March to pursue interests outside the advertising industry.

A three-month search for his replacement resulted in the appointment of Bill Brock,'s sales and marketing director. The hiring was a good one, particularly in a market where senior staff are hard to come by. But Brock's arrival preceded yet more departures. Neil Hughston, the agency's client services director, left in September without a job to go to (he later joined Saatchi & Saatchi) and its head of media, Robin O'Neill, departed for Media.Com.

Brock moved quickly to replace O'Neill with Alison Lomax and restructured his client services team around two more signings, Rick Adamus, who joined as the global business director for Philips, and Craig Morgan, who came on board as the group account director for Volkswagen and The Guardian.

The agency's creative output was dominated by Monopoly Live and new business was quiet. Tribal picked up some work for Johnson & Johnson, Hasbro, and The Observer, but lost its Camelot digital media buying account to Media Contacts. Revenue increased by more than 25 per cent from the first to the second half of the year - a healthy increase but not exceptional in a market that grew by 62 per cent over the same period.

In 2005, Tribal lost status in the digital sector. Newer shops are flourishing while it struggles to keep up.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 4

How Tribal rates itself: 7

"The year brought new wins for Johnson & Johnson, Hasbro, The Observer and This, combined with heavy organic growth, led to 33 per cent revenue growth year on year. Award-winning campaigns, such as Monopoly Live, showcased Tribal's strategic and creative thinking and proved our ability to give hard-to-reach consumers a truly immersive brand experience."


Type of agency Direct marketing Company ownership Private company Key personnel Richard Marshall business development director Paul Tullo board creative director Chris Warren managing director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £10m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £9m Total accounts year end 18 Accounts won 6 (biggest: Lloyds TSB) Accounts lost 1 (Morgan Stanley) Number of staff 198

Tullo Marshall Warren reached the shortlist for Campaign's Direct Agency of the Year in 2005. Given its age (17), size (it is the UK's largest independent DM shop), consistent growth and loyal clients, the agency could be forgiven a (characteristically quiet) grumble about this being its first appearance on the shortlist.

A solitary loss last year, Morgan Stanley, was not enough to mar another impressive period of new-business growth. Top of the pile was the £20 million Lloyds TSB account - TMW became the bank's lead strategic agency and increased its existing business following a roster pitch.

The wins continued to flood in, beginning with Unilever Ice-Cream and Frozen Food, which appointed the agency to oversee its Birds Eye customer management. Then came the Carbon Trust, the government-backed Energy Savings Trust, GNER and HomeChoice, to name a few.

TMW's client list is now said - absurd though it may seem - to be too full; it gets a punt at almost every brief in town, but is forced to turn many away. Its finances are in good shape: turnover rose by 17 per cent over the course of 2005, profit before tax grew by 20 per cent and fees jumped to £13.2 million.

The trophy cabinet was in trouble over the year, however. Campaigns for Nissan and Guinness were of the usual high standard, but not high enough to put the creative director, Paul Tullo, on the podium at the Direct Marketing Association Awards or the Campaign Direct Awards.

There were few additions to the agency's stable management team, although Tequila\London's Julia Foster was installed as the new-business director and Julie Roberts later joined as the group account director.

So 2006 could be the year that TMW goes one step further in the Agency of the Year stakes. But it needs to produce work that will wow, not merely impress, awards juries.

Score last year: 8

Score this year: 8

How TMW rates itself: 8

"This was an exceptional year, with fee growth up by 22 per cent. This was fuelled by our appointment as the lead DM agency across the Lloyds TSB Group and a significant increase in business from existing clients. But there is no room for complacency and we look forward to 2006."


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership WPP subsidiary Key personnel Amanda Walsh chief executive, United Network Jim Kelly joint managing director Robert Campbell joint managing director Steve Henry creative director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £91m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £91m Total accounts year end 15 Accounts won 6 (biggest: Hero) Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Iceland) Number of staff 82

What a difference a year makes. United London (then HHCL Red Cell) started 2005 with a school report score of seven, stronger creative muscle and a new, pickier approach to pitching. It ended it on an altogether more discordant note.

While it would be hard to describe the agency as healthy after a rollercoaster 12 months, it is even harder to pinpoint exactly why it ended the year looking so punch-drunk.

The year started well with a string of promotions, including Nick Howarth to chief executive, Sid McGrath to managing director, and Richard Huntington to planning director. But these were followed by the news that the £10 million Iceland account was moving out of the agency. The upmarket chocolate brand Godiva quickly followed.

Some of United's troubles can be put down to a poor pitch conversion rate. Fidelity, Travelodge, Business Link and First Choice were some of the accounts that came, talked and left. The first significant win of the year - the £5 million launch of Hero's Fruit Today - did not arrive until September. Other wins, a relaunch project for She and Game's ad brief, were insubstantial.

By that time, the top creative agencies in the Red Cell network had rebranded as United, and Howarth had signalled his intention to leave for Clemmow Hornby Inge. His departure unsettled the agency: he had a loyal following and left large shoes for McGrath to fill. But there was constant speculation about the agency's grip on Sky following Howarth's announcement and the departure of creative director Jonathan Burley to Leo Burnett. Another blow came in late December, when one of the agency's signature clients, Pot Noodle, announced it was leaving.

The recent appointment of Robert Campbell and Jim Kelly could provide the boost the agency needs.

Score last year: 7

Score this year: 4

How United rates itself: 5


- continued Sky success - winning more business, hitting eight million subscribers;

- winning Hero, more COI, The National Magazine Company, Game;

- the Food Standards Authority salt campaign and the Captain's Nutrition Mission exceeding targets;

- becoming the London hub of the United network.


- missing out on the big pitches;

- saying goodbye to Iceland, Pot Noodle, Godiva;

- losing friends."


Type of agency Media Company ownership Interpublic subsidiary Key personnel Nick Brien worldwide chief executive, president Graham Duff president, EMEA Damian Blackden joint chief executive Andy Jones joint chief executive Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £342m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £341m Total accounts year end 71 Accounts won 9 (biggest: Intel) Accounts lost 7 (biggest: L'Oreal) TV 64% Press 22% Out of home 3.7% Radio 3.9% Below the line n/a Other 6.4% Number of staff 101

Universal McCann began the year resembling a punch-drunk boxer clinging to the ropes. After a sorry 2004, 2005 was even worse for the network and, consequently, for its London operation.

Blows included the pan-European loss of Motorola and, even more significant, L'Oreal Golden. Both had a serious effect on the network's UK business, with L'Oreal alone billing close to £100 million in the UK (almost one-third of Universal's 2004 billings).

But while Universal's network has been prone to take rather than give, it provided the UK office with an excellent springtime boost in the shape of the Intel business, swiped from Media Planning Group.

Locally, Universal did little to set the new-business world alight. There were small wins such as Nickelodeon, the sports company Nobok and a place on the Meat and Livestock Commission roster. However, Universal failed to convert pitches for Abbey and Visit London.

The joint chief executives, Damian Blackden and Andy Jones, brought in some talent - bolstering the agency's research resource by hiring the former Clear Channel director Yvonne O'Brien as the UK research director.

Universal lost its strategy director Martyn Stokes to Media Planning Group but he was swiftly replaced by Abba Newbery.

A return to form seems possible after Nick Brien was appointed worldwide chief executive and president in August and the ex-ITV sales boss Graham Duff was named EMEA chief this year.

The breaking of reporting lines to McCann Erickson last autumn was a good move and it seems likely that Brien will provide a stronger vision.

Not before time.

Score last year: 4

core this year: 3

How Universal rates itself: 4

"A successful year domestically; a challenging year as a network. The appointment of Nick Brien means we have a clear vision of delivering marketing communications excellence for our clients. Our focus will be creativity, innovation and accountability to ensure our strategic ideas and flawless implementation will drive our clients' success."


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership Chime Communications subsidiary Key personnel Charles Vallance founding partner, planner Rooney Carruthers founding partner, creative director Adrian Coleman founding partner, account handler Ian Priest founding partner, account handler Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £93m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £75m Total accounts year end 24 Accounts won 8 (biggest: Gala Bingo) Accounts lost 0 Number of staff 107

Even if VCCP had won as much new business as Bartle Bogle Hegarty or created as many rumours as Lowe London, its 2005 would still have been overshadowed by its £35 million sale to Lord Bell's Chime Communications in the summer.

The deal was seen as a coup for an agency less than four years old and with one client, O2, that accounts for almost 30 per cent of its billings.

However, the time and effort that went into finalising the deal in the first half of the year had a noticeable effect on the agency's attempts to pitch for, and pick up, new business. It scored victories with the Coca-Cola orange juice brand, Minute Maid (strengthening VCCP's position on the client's roster),Gala Bingo and Hachette Filipacchi, but lost out in much bigger pitches for Expedia, More Th>n, Patak's and Dunlop. Even so,the agency finished the year at number ten in the Campaign new-business league. The agency also moved its sites away from traditional advertising streams by backing the launch of DM agency Stephens Francis Whitson. It opened in January 2005 with two clients: Dyson, which it shares with VCCP, and Disney, which it won independently.

Creatively it was a mediocre year, the Diet Coke skateboarding tortoise being a case in point. No doubt the agency hopes that the hiring of the veteran JWT creative John Donnelly will make a difference.

VCCP scored highly in 2004 thanks to its transformation of BT Cellnet into O2 (for which it won the IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix). However, that company's £18 billion purchase by Spain's Telefonica, raises questions about the account's future with VCCP.

O2's future needs to be settled to ensure VCCP a smooth ride in 2006, while more energy needs to go into developing the agency's creative product.

Score last year: 8

Score this year: 7

How VCCP rates itself: 8

"A vintage year of iconic campaigns. We have consistently demonstrated our ability to produce truly integrated work across all forms of communication. Through the Chime deal in July 2005, we have now added digital, sales promotion and media capabilities to the group to offer even broader solutions."


Type of agency Media Company ownership Aegis subsidiary Key personnel Grant Millar joint managing director Matt Andrews joint managing director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £154m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £178m Total accounts year end 31 Accounts won 7 (biggest: Eurostar) Accounts lost 2 (biggest: BMG) TV 44% Press 27% Out of home 14% Radio 4% Below the line n/a Other 11% Number of staff 81

It was a year of transition for Vizeum - the agency plugged a gap in its leadership and looked to the future with a new management line-up.

At the start of the year, Mark Robinson, a former marketing director at JWT, was appointed the worldwide head of marketing. The July hiring of Grant Millar, the former head of media at BT, as one of the agency's joint managing directors brought a welcome client perspective to its management team.

Matt Andrews, Vizeum's planning director, was promoted to joint managing director. This may have prompted some to question why a medium-sized agency needed two managing directors, but at least the appointments ended a long period of instability at Vizeum, which had been without a managing director since Trista Grant departed in early 2004.

On the new-business side, the year started well with the capture of River Island, Total Oil and the Liberal Democrats. But the agency was deflated when it lost BMG to Manning Gottlieb OMD after the record label was bought by Sony. However, it bounced back by winning Paramount Entertainment and Eurostar. The retention of its BMW business was also impressive.

The consolidated npower/Thames Water business was secured, but Vizeum was disappointed not to win the £60 million Aviva account at the end of year.

In 2006, it would be good to see more evidence of strong work coming out of Aegis' "clever" media agency, and the conversion of a couple of large pitches would not go amiss.

Score last year: 5

Score this year: 6

How Vizeum rates itself: 7

"Vizeum built momentum in 2005. New business rolled in; Grant Millar joined as joint managing director from BT; Matt Andrews was promoted to joint managing director, Stuart Newman to operations director and Matt Platts to investment director. We maintained our grip on some major brands, including Coca-Cola, AOL, Heinz, Coors, HBOS and BMW."


Type of agency Media Company ownership 75% owned by M&C Saatchi; 25% owned by agency management Key personnel Christine Walker chairman Phil Georgiadis chief executive Jon Horrocks managing partner, broadcast Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £208m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £198m Total accounts year end 65 Accounts won 6 (biggest: Weetabix) Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Tourism New Zealand) TV 51% Press 32% Out of home 9% Radio 2% Below the line 1% Other 5% Number of staff 56

Walker Media had a solid 2005 following the excitement of 2004 and the sale of another 25 per cent of its equity to M&C Saatchi as part of the group's flotation. The senior management was stable - the departure of the director of TV, Lucas Cridland, notwithstanding - and new business quietly satisfying.

The agency's biggest win was Weetabix's £9 million media planning and buying account. Other highlights included the £4 million Independent News & Media business and H Bauer's TV Easy. On the negative side, the agency parted company with its £1 million Drambuie account and the £3 million Tourism New Zealand business left in December.

Walker Media finally got around to embracing new media with the launch of a dedicated online operation, arguably a long overdue addition to its offering. It also added another string to its bow with the development of a communications planning division.

Last year we set Walker Media the task of making the most of its position - the agency is not part of a network but has the support of an advertising group, yet it did not quite stand up to the networks by getting on the year's large pitchlists. However, it came eighth in the Campaign new-business league and its appearance on the Barclays pitch at the end of last year bodes well.

Score last year: 7

Score this year: 6

How Walker Media rates itself: 7

"It was a solid year that billed £230 million. Despite industry speculation, M&S was retained .We won Weetabix, Independent News & Media and another IPA Effectiveness award. New divisions - our insight unit, Spark and Walker-i - were added.Our TV billings grew again (up 65 per cent in two years), proving that clout is not all about volume."


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership Cagney subsidiary (AIM listed) Key personnel Murray Chick chairman Dave Trott creative director Gordon Smith creative director Justin Cernis director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £28m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £31m Total accounts year end 14 Accounts won 4 (biggest: First Alternative) Accounts lost 2 (biggest: First Choice) Number of staff 32

This was another underwhelming year for Walsh Trott Chick Smith.

Daniel Taylor, the managing partner who publicly promised to put a firecracker up the agency's arse when he joined in 2003, departed for Burkitt DDB.

His departure signalled a malaise that resulted in two key clients jumping ship. First was the £3 million Superdrug business, then the £4 million First Choice Holidays account.

Of the four inbound accounts, the £7 million First Alternative business was the pick of a bunch that included Yeo Valley, Marston's Resolution and the Missing Person's Helpline. The agency did appear on some credible pitchlists - Subaru, HP Foods, Royal National Institute of the Blind and COI financial services -but without success.

Creatively, however, the agency produced some notable work. It introduced the animated Little Bill character for Sainsbury's Bank and used Sir Alan Sugar in a high-profile ad for National Savings & Investments. The Independent remained a highly visible client for which the agency picked up a Marketing Society Award for Excellence.

By the end of the year, WTCS had signed a deal to become part of Cagney, a mini-holding company that floated on the Alternative Investment Market in the autumn. The initiative is being led by the industry veteran Paul Simons and teams up WTCS with the Media Foundry PR company, brand consultancy Brand Aid and the promotional marketing specialist Cubo.

Despite industry legend Dave Trott's established creative credentials and strong personality, the agency has lacked real momentum for some time.

The AIM listing could give it an incentive to grow but stronger, more focused ambition is a prerequisite.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 5

How WTCS rates itself: 7

"New campaigns for Sainsbury's Bank, National Savings, The Independent, Silver Spoon, Marston's Pedigree, Welsh Assembly Government and Daihatsu. New assignments from Wolverhampton & Dudley, Silver Spoon, COI and First Choice Group. Income rose by more than 25 per cent as WTCS became the core of the Cagney Group."


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership Private company Key personnel Robin Wight chairman, founding partner Debbie Klein chief executive, founding partner Leon Jaume executive creative director, founding partner Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £137m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £145m Total accounts year end 31 Accounts won 5 (biggest: Abbey) Accounts lost 1 (Volvic) Number of staff 125

WCRS did not rest on its laurels after a strong 2004.

The agency's 2005 was punctuated by some decent account wins, some much talked-about creative work and a string of first-rate hirings. Above and beyond that, it spent much time and effort turning itself into a multi-disciplinary outfit through its mini-holding company, Engine.

WCRS's first success was winning the £22 million Abbey task, one of the biggest account moves of the year. It went on to scoop some smaller prizes, such as Heinz soup. But, despite appearing on some major pitchlists, it failed to convert another major client.

Its losses were limited to Volvic following the pan-European realignment of the brand.

In common with the previous year, WCRS experienced some major management changes in 2005. Debbie Klein, the former joint managing partner, was promoted to chief executive as Stephen Woodford moved over to head Engine.

Her fellow managing partner, Jeremy Bowles, left the agency.

Three strong hirings from Mother completed the line-up. Will Orr joined WCRS as managing director while Yan Elliot and Luke Williamson signed up as joint creative directors.

The aim of the new creative team is to bring some shine to WCRS's reel.

Last year had its creative highs and lows. One of the best ad campaigns was for 3, shortlisted by Campaign for Campaign of the Year. But the flat Abbey work suggested the agency lacked the confidence to push its clients.

WCRS built up Engine in 2005, adding a sales promotion agency, Woo, and buying two PR companies. Its existing agencies had mixed fortunes. The direct marketing division, Personal, won £12 million of Abbey business, but the media arm lost its founding BMW client and its head, Yusuf Chuku.

WCRS ended the year on a high, buying out its final 26 per cent from Havas to become completely independent. The agency began 2006 in a good place. It has a strong team, a good reel and an energetic bearing.

Score last year: 8

Score this year: 8

How WCRS rates itself: 8

"In 2005, we built on the momentum generated by our management buyout. The year was characterised by great work and a brilliant new-business performance. The marketing community approved of our results, WCRS being the only agency shortlisted for both Agency and Campaign of the Year."


Type of agency Advertising Company ownership Private company Key personnel Neil Christie managing director Kim Papworth creative director Tony Davidson creative director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £52m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £28m Total accounts year end 8 Accounts won 5 (biggest: Pizza Hut) Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Sky One) Number of staff 58

The year began unusually for Wieden & Kennedy, with the traditionally new business-shy agency demonstrating it was capable of picking up some valuable accounts.

Its first coup was the £13 million Pizza Hut business, followed by Sky One, Electronic Arts and a place on the COI roster. It also picked up some Coke business, additional Nike work from the agency's Amsterdam office and Yakult after a hotly contested pitch.

But the transition from an agency dominated by Honda to one with a broad spread of clients did not go too smoothly. The Sky relationship was short lived, "creative differences" cited as the reason for the split.

Creatively, W&K was not as principled with all of its new clients as it appeared to be with Sky. Its work for Pizza Hut and EA was not well received.

However, the Honda campaigns proved W&K's spark was still there - "yume no chikara" and "impossible dream" provided more of the mould-breaking advertising the industry has come to expect from the agency.

Its 2004 Honda blockbuster, "grrr", was a hit with the juries , sweeping the board at Cannes and taking the film Grand Prix.

The agency's management remained stable with the exception of its long-serving planning director, Russell Davies, who moved to Nike. He was replaced immediately by Stuart Smith.

WK Fat, an in-house media operation, was the agency's most significant business development.

It made a shrewd appointment when it hired Simon Summerscales, the former Naked Communications partner, as its chief.

W&K needs to keep up the new-business momentum it had at the start of 2005 while extending its exemplary creative standards across its range of clients.

Score last year: 7

Score this year: 8

How W&K rates itself: 7

"This was our best year yet. We uprooted to a bigger and better home. We won some great new clients. We launched WK Fat. We won the Account Planning Group Grand Prix and IPA (Small) Agency of the Year. We had the world's most-awarded commercial. But we can still do better."


Type of agency Direct marketing Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary Key personnel Chris Gordon chief executive, WWAV Rapp Collins Group Matthew Eccles chief executive, Zalpha; chief strategy officer, Rapp Collins Europe Ian Haworth chairman, executive creative director Marco Scognamiglio chief executive, WWAV Rapp Collins London Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £15m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £25m Total accounts year end 15 Accounts won 15 Accounts lost 1 (Lloyds TSB) Number of staff 259

WWAV Rapp Collins had a busy year but much of its activity was off the public radar. It had success in growing its healthcare division, but the sensitive nature of the work meant it was unable to publicise it.

In more conventional areas WWAV had a satisfying new-business year. It landed lead-agency status on Unicef, picked up a massive brief to develop customer relationship management programmes for Sony Europe and won Somerfield.

The loss of its place on the Lloyds TSB roster was an undoubted blow but WWAV, an agency with strong financial services credentials, reacted quickly by winning Capital One, which called off a full-scale pitch following chemistry meetings with the agency.

Worryingly, though, WWAV showed it could win and lose a client in the same year. It landed Ladbrokes in March but then lost it to sister Omnicom agency Claydon Heeley Jones Mason in October over fee issues. WWAV's failure to win a sought-after car client was frustrating.It made the Seat shortlist late in the year but lost out to Geronimo.

The agency implemented some management changes that should strengthen its performance in the London market. Marco Scognamiglio was promoted from the managing director to the chief executive of the London agency.

This freed the group chairman and chief executive, Chris Gordon, to spend more time building Rapp Collins' European presence.

To improve creativity across the Rapp Collins network, Ian Haworth, the agency's executive creative director, took the role of chairman. The daily running of WWAV's creative department passed to the creative directors, Nick Platt and Barney Cockerill. WWAV's relationship with DDB also bore fruit with successful joint pitches for Exclusive Resorts and Getty Images.

The agency created strong work for Great Ormond Street Hospital, Wanadoo and the NSPCC but, as WWAV celebrates its 25th year, the new creative directors should extend this across their client base.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 6

How WWAV rates itself: 7

"Lloyds TSB departs. Won the pitch, didn't get the business. That's showbiz. Capital One atones, followed by Unicef. Somerfield. Pan-European work from Sony. Healthcare blossoms (top secret) as does DDB partnership. On a roll as management changes reap rewards - clients vote WWAV number one in independent research. 'Nuff said."


Type of agency Media Company ownership Publicis Groupe subsidiary Key personnel Antony Young chief executive Derek Morris vice-chairman Gerry Boyle managing director Mark Waugh deputy managing director Nielsen Media Research billings 2005 £551m Nielsen Media Research billings 2004 £626m Total accounts year end 167 Accounts won 10 (biggest: L'Oreal Golden) Accounts lost 5 (biggest: Muller) TV 56% Press 28% Out of home 9% Radio 5% Below the line 2% Other 0% Number of staff 361

The task of transforming ZenithOptimedia into a modern media agency has not been easy, especially after an awkward merger. But after three years at the helm, its chief executive, Antony Young, seems to have pulled it off. In 2005, the agency scored well in all areas.

It finished the year in second place in Campaign's business performance league, recording net gains of £78.6 million. The agency landed £117 million in new business from L'Oreal, Richemont and Allied Bakeries. The L'Oreal win - part of a pan-European triumph that is probably the continent's largest ever media account move - was testament, at least in part, to the work of ZenithOptimedia's international team in building a stronger network.

The agency also swiped the media planning for Campbell's from Naked, but a significant downside was the loss of its Sara Lee and Carlsberg accounts, both as part of pan-European consolidations into OMD Europe.

It also lost its Paramount Home Entertainment business to PHD.

ZenithOptimedia produced award-winning work with its launch strategy for Chip and Pin, and developed strong campaigns for O2, Toyota and HP.

Under Greg Grimmer, its digital and direct division, Zed, merits a special mention for a stellar new-business year in which it won BT's online planning and buying and Tiscali.

Young, ably supported by his managing director, Gerry Boyle, has built a stable management team. Derek Morris and Lucy Banks continued to provide planning clout, while Chris Hayward's promotion to the head of broadcast ensured ongoing leadership for the buying teams.

ZenithOptimedia's task for 2006 is simply to produce more of the same.

And, having partially plugged the network's leaky bucket, it should aim to win a few more domestic pitches.

Score last year: 5

Score this year: 7

How ZenithOptimedia rates itself: 8

"A great year in the evolution of ZenithOptimedia. We've maintained a stable management team and moved on the quality of our work, as recognised by the Cannes Media Lions and Campaign Awards. New business was excellent - net new billings of £80 million. Our network, UK operation and group companies, particularly Zed, all took huge steps forward."


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