Adam & Eve/DDB
Type of agency
Number of UK staff
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Everybody turned out winners in the £60 million 2012 marriage of Adam & Eve and DDB London.
In putting what was arguably Britain’s most creatively potent independent shop with one that had gone significantly off the boil, DDB London’s Omnicom parent got an agency that has proved to be much greater than the sum of its parts.
As for Adam & Eve’s founders, whose exit from WPP five years earlier prompted a bitter legal battle with its chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, the deal has turned them into multimillionaires on completion of their five-year earn-out.
As the key players in what was effectively a reverse takeover of DDB London, Adam & Eve’s James Murphy, Ben Priest, David Golding and Jon Forsyth have proved they can replicate their start-up achievements on a broader scale.
In doing so, they have given a much-needed adrenaline shot to an agency that, in its previous incarnation as Boase Massimi Pollitt, was an industry trailblazer. But, beset by management problems and a series of account losses, culminating in the departure of its £35 million Virgin Media business, was looking a shadow of its former self.
Meanwhile, the agency synonymous with Volkswagen had been slipping worryingly down the UK rankings, dropping outside the top 20 in 2010.
Unencumbered by chemistry issues that often bedevil such agency marriages, the merged Adam & Eve/DDB could not have confronted the challenges set for it more successfully, having been named Campaign’s Agency of the Year in both 2014 and 2015.
The accolades are the result of creative work with huge cut-through to match its success in a series of hotly contested major pitches. In recent times, these have included the £16 million Aviva business while bringing in Waitrose to complement its signature John Lewis account.
What’s more, Adam & Eve/DDB now sits comfortably as the UK’s third-ranked agency.