A view from Claire Beale

Welcome to the Annual 2015

It's not easy to get a grip on 2015.

So much happened but so little – so far – has really changed. For all the talk about fundamental shifts – from the return of the full-service agency to the demise of the "digital" label – the industry ended the year looking rather as it began.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s a familiar air to some of the winners laid out in our Agency of the Year categories. Try as we might, we couldn’t find a better advertising agency – all round – than Adam & Eve/DDB, which had another storming year (though Grey was so, so close). Meanwhile, the shortlists in some other categories (Digital Innovation Agency, Customer Engagement Agency) were disappointingly short. It’s been quite a while since we’ve been spoilt for choice across all the key categories.

But that doesn’t mean our winners are simply the best of a limited bunch: all have turned in excellent, world-class performances. We just wish excellence was a little more infectious this year.

Looking ahead to 2016, it’s going to be interesting to see how the recent Publicis Groupe restructure shakes out, what happens with the investigation into media trading that’s being conducted by US advertisers, and whether some of the management changes implemented in London this year (from Havas to MediaCom to Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R to McCann) see the emergence of a stronger, more competitive agency marketplace.

So much, of course, will depend on the advertising industry being supported by smart, ambitious and brave clients. If Campaign has a clear wish for 2016, it’s that.