In 1996 there were very few dramatic wins - increases in agency billings tended to rely more on organic growth. By Belinda Archer.

In 1996 there were very few dramatic wins - increases in agency

billings tended to rely more on organic growth. By Belinda Archer.

After the relative, ’business as usual’ calm of 1995, last year proved

rather more exciting for European networks.

Dramatic deals were pulled off, delivering agencies more credible

pan-Euro credentials, rows between supposed agency partners took place

and several new media operations were launched.

There was also some jockeying for position at the top end of the league,

with Euro RSCG being toppled from pole position to fourth. Publicis

snatched the lead, moving up from 1995’s second place, and Young &

Rubicam Europe moved from fourth to second.

A more significant development was the deterioration of the Publicis/FCB

alliance - a tie-up that fell apart earlier this year - leaving FCB

struggling to build its own European network.

The incident that worsened relations notably was the deal between

Publicis and M&C Saatchi, which helped M&C clinch the British Airways

account. FCB read the move as a blatant attempt by Publicis to seek an

alternative global partner, and relations turned sour. Interestingly,

the fall-out did Publicis no harm, with the network actually moving to

the top of the league, while FCB fell from second to 16th.

Then there was the pounds 105 million takeover by GGT of the

French-owned BDDP operation. News of the deal, which was finalised in

April, broke at the end of the year, trebling the size of GGT’s

holdings, elevating it to the top 15 league of worldwide agencies from

last year’s 18th, while giving it a toe-hold on Procter & Gamble’s

coveted roster.

Increases in network billings in 1996 tended to be achieved through

organic growth rather than dramatic ’standing-start’ wins, a trend

already developing over the previous years, when it had been apparent

that big regional accounts were moving less frequently outside their

roster of shops, if at all.

Michael Sennott, the vice-president of McCann-Erickson Europe, says: ’No

real pan-European business was truly up for grabs in 1996. It was not a

year for racing around - European clients are wary of making those

shifts because they are expensive and disruptive. They were more willing

to move slowly, perhaps by brand assignment, or they were pursuing

globalisation programmes, where business moves without a pitch.’

Kate Robertson, the business development director of Bates Europe, soon

to head the UK launch of Scholz and Friends, adds: ’The trend of

roster-only pitches continued, particularly in the more developed fmcg

area, where clients seemed to want to carry on working with trusted


Other areas needed to regionalise or globalise their business, to

improve on savings and achieve big-brand status.’

Several pan-Euro operations spent 1996 focusing on developing their

media offerings, for example. BBDO established Optimum Media Direction,

a company jointly owned with DDB Needham Worldwide, which now ranks as

the second-largest media company in Europe with dollars 7.1 billion in

billings. At the same time, Grey’s media subsidiary, MediaCom,

restructured to separate its European business from its US parent with

the launch of MediaCom Europe, while Ogilvy & Mather Europe set up the

Network as a dependent pan-Euro media brand with 25 offices and, at the

end of the year, the Lowe Group launched Western International Media, a

new media brand in conjunction with Western International Media of the

US and Initiative Media.

O&M Europe also declared 1996 as the year it would improve its creative

pan-Euro product. It initiated schemes to bring its creative staff

together more, implementing an electronic creative ideas library across

the region, invested more in creative training and took a more

systematic approach to awards.

Preoccupation with expansion across Central and Eastern Europe continued

for several networks, with most now claiming they have fully fledged

operations covering the entire region. Where networks had already

secured a full presence, efforts were made by them over the year to

develop the performance of those local shops, by pushing for greater

local market share, or to batten down control more effectively by

converting agency affiliations to majority ownership.

Mike Walsh, the chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Europe, says: ’I’m trying to

deliver for my clients a top ten office in every country because with

that kind of size I can offer the right quality and quantity of


Given that even less new business was up for grabs, margins were as

tight as ever and, with key markets such as Germany and the UK having a

tough year, agencies pursued other revenue streams. Bates Europe

particularly followed the integration route, seeing increased revenues

being generated from sales promotion, sponsorship and new media, and

Saatchi & Saatchi focused in the second half of the year on developing

its through-the-line communications offering to clients.

Sennott says: ’Geographical expansion provided growth for some, as well

as prudent local acquisitions and local, rather than pan-Europe,

business wins. Others saw growth from more co-ordinated communications


Key newcomers to the European stage included David Wheldon as president

of BBDO Europe and Stanley Bendelac as chief operating officer for Bates

Europe. Wheldon, the former vice-president and worldwide director of

marketing for Coca-Cola, joined the network in January, although his

position was announced at the end of October, while Bendelac replaced

Michael Geraghty who retired, signalling a significant focus on the

nurturing of creative talent at Bates.

Walsh raises a key point for the future of the European market which is,

arguably, the most competitive, toughest market for international

clients because it is the most mature. ’We are seeing European budgets

trimmed in favour of Asia and Latin America, because there are greater

returns in tiger economies and because they can offer greater commercial

and communication freedom, compared with Europe which is too regulated.

That has to be worrying,’ he says.

Another preoccupation for European networks may be the need to develop a

brand positioning or point of difference from rival networks, most of

which must appear depressingly indistinguishable to the multi-national

client community

One method pursued by BBDO’s Wheldon and O&M’s Walsh, is to focus on

strong local delivery, in the hope that a linkage of market-leading

shops will prove a compelling offering. ’The difference may come from

local strength, and building very strong local agencies that can work

together for the benefit of multinational clients,’ Wheldon says.

Top 20 European agency networks ranked by European billings in 1996

Rank    Agency                      Billings      Chg      Income      Chg

96   95                            (dollars m)    (%)    (dollars m)   (%)

                                 1996    1995           1996   1995

1   -   Publicis Communication   4,616   4,270    7.4    676    624    7.6

2   4   Young & Rubicam Europe   4,497   4,004   10.9    512    489    4.5

3   3   Ogilvy & Mather Europe   4,163   3,939    5.3    462    438    5.1

4   1   Euro RSCG                4,128   4,010    2.8    620    602      3

5   5   BBDO Europe              3,700   3,500    5.4    n/s    n/s      -

6   7   McCann-Erickson          3,680   3,137   14.7    517    470      9

7   8   Grey Europe              3,056   2,872    6      n/s    n/s      -

8   12  DMB&B Europe             2,763   2,300   16.7    n/s    n/s      -

9   9   Bates Europe             2,728   2,653    2.7    n/s    n/s      -

10  10  Saatchi & Saatchi

        Advertising Worldwide    2,616   2,599    0.6    327    325    0.6

11  13  Ammirati Puris Lintas    2,400   2,200    8.3    241    n/a      -

12  14  Lowe and Partners

        Europe                   1,732   1,560    9.9    233    223    4.2

13  15  Leo Burnett Europe/

        Middle East/Africa       1,450   1,300   10.3    210    183   12.8

14  16  BDDP Paris               1,202   1,258   -4.6    190    188      1

15  17  TBWA                     1,071   935      8.1    141    132    6.2

16  -   FCB Europe               1,051   n/a    n/a      131    n/a    n/a

17  19  Testa International      745     693      7      93     87     6.4

18  18  The GGT Group            n/a*    732   n/a*      n/a*   93     N/A

19  20  Bozell Worldwide         586.5   431     36.1    95     70    35.7

20  -   FCA!BMZ                  530     510      3.7    82     66    19.5

* The 1996 figures for the GGT Group are not supplied because of the

acquisition of the BDDP network.



Clients: Allied Domecq, Armani, AT&T, British Airways, Coca-Cola, Ebel,

France Telecom International, Garnier, Guinness, Hewlett-Packard,

Inmarsat, L’Oreal, Nestle, Perrier (Vittel), Pfizer, Qantas, Renault,

Rowenta, Sara Lee (Dim), Shell, Siemens, Tefal, Thomson, Unilever

(Boursin), Whirlpool, Whitehall Laboratories No of countries/offices:

22/108 Staff 96: 5,150


Clients: Andersen Consulting, Campbell’s Soup, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone,

Digital, Dr Pepper, DuPont, Ericsson, Ford, Kraft Jacobs Suchard,

Lufthansa, Novell, PepsiCo Foods International, Philip Morris, Swissair,

United Airlines, United International Pictures, Union Bank of Switzerland,

Xerox No of countries/offices: 25/44 Staff 96: 2,850


Clients: Amex, British Tourist Authority, Bulgari, Disneyland Paris,

Duracell, Ford, IBM, Kimberly-Clark, Kodak, Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Lotus,

Marks & Spencer, Mattel, Nestle, Osram, PepsiCo, Seagram, Shell,

SmithKline Beecham, Sony, Stimorol, Unilever, World Wildlife Fund No of

countries /offices: 31/87 Staff 96: 2,610


Clients: Air France, Airbus, Alcatel, Bristol Myers Squibb, Cadbury

Schweppes, Chanel, Citroen, Credis, Credit Suisse, Danone, Groupe

Schneider, Intel, Intercontinental, Iomega, Kraft Jacobs Suchard, L’Oreal,

Louis Vuitton, MCI, Peugeot, Philips, Pillsbury, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt

& Colman, Sara Lee, United Distillers No of countries/offices: 32/34 Staff

96: 4415


Clients: Apple Computer, Aral, Bayer, Bodum, BMW, Buena Vista, CPC

International, Danone, Dow Chemical, Dr Oetker, Dunlop, DuPont, Federal

Express, Friesland Dairy Foods, Gillette, Gossard, Henkel, House of

Prince, ICI (Dulux Paints), ICI (Marlow Foods), International Wool

Secretariat, L’Oreal, LG Group, Mars, Mercedes-Benz, Montblanc, Motorola,

Nutrexa, Oral-B, Pepsi-Cola, PepsiCo Foods International, Philips, Pizza

Hut, Sara Lee (Douwe Egberts), Sony, Total Oil, Unilever, Volkswagen/Audi,

Wella, Wm. Wrigley, Jr., Wrangler No of countries/offices: 37/149 Staff

96: 5,293


Clients: ABB, AT&T, Agfa, Air Canada, American Express, Bacardi Martini,

Bayer/Miles, Benckiser, Black & Decker, Boehringer Ingleheim, Boots,

Braun, Buitoni, Canon, Casio, Cathay Pacific, Cereal Partners Worldwide,

Chesebrough, Coca-Cola, Credit Suisse, Durex, Esso, Europcar, Ferrero,

General Motors, Gillette, Goodyear, Grundig, Hoya, Interbrew, Johnson &

Johnson, L’Oreal, Levi Strauss, Lucent Technologies, Mastercard, Nestle,

Parker Pens, RJR Nabisco, RJR Tobacco, Reckitt & Colman, Texas

Instruments, Tiffany & Co, Timex, UPS, US Air, Unilever, Waterman Pens,

William Grant & Sons, Yoplait No of countries offices: 28/53 Staff 96:



Clients: Agfa, AKZO Nobel, BAT Industries, Bang & Olufsen, Barilla, Block

Drug/Stafford Miller, BP Oil, BMW, Canon, CPC Foods, Danone, European

Commission, Global One, Gram, Iberia Madrid, International Olympic

Committee, Johnson & Johnson, Krups, Lee Apparel, Lexmark, Mars, Melitta,

Microsoft, Nokia, Navartis, Paulig, Perstorp, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble,

Remington, Roche, Sara Lee/Douwe Egberts, SAS, Seagram, Skoda, Slim Fast

Foods, SmithKline Beecham, Speedo, 3M, Turkish Airlines, Valio, Warner

Bros No of countries/offices: 33/66 Staff 96: 3,790


Clients: Australian Tourist Commission, Bristol Myers Squibb, Burger King,

Coca-Cola, Fiat, Gateway 2000, Hyatt, Mars Confectionery, Mars/Master

Foods, Merloni, Pedigree Petfoods, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Scholl

Footcare & Footwear, TWA,Tyco Toys, Umbro, Western Union No of countries

offices: 27/33 Staff 96: 2,296


Clients: 3M, BAT, Campbell’s (Delacre), CPC, Compaq, Cutty Sark, EDS,

Energizer, Heinz, Jamont, Jumbo, Owens Corning, Pharmacia & Upjohn, P&O,

Roche, Spanish Tourist Board, Spillers, Tarkett, Tchibo, Unicef, Warner

Lambert, Wendys No of countries /offices: 34/84 Staff 96: 2,580


Clients: Alcatel, Allied Domecq, Bonduelle, CPC International, Cadbury

Schweppes, Carlsberg, Danone, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Electrolux (Flymo),

Essilor, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, LVMH (Moet & Chandon),

Procter & Gamble, Ralston Purina, Rhone-Poulenc, Seiko, Tenneco (Monroe),

Toyota, Visa International No of countries/offices: 26/40 Staff 96:



Clients: Bahlsen, Castrol, Chefaro, Coca-Cola, Compaq, European Union,

Heineken, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, R J Reynolds, Rover, Unilever No of

countries/offices: 19/50 Staff 96: 2,700


Clients: Avis, Baileys, Braun, Citibank, Coca-Cola, Estee Lauder, General

Motors, Henkel, Malibu, Saab, Sara Lee (Douwe Egberts), Smirnoff No of

countries/offices: 23/44 Staff 96: 1,600


Clients: Coca-Cola, Fiat, Grand Metropolitan, Hoover, Kellogg, Kraft

Jacobs Suchard, McDonald’s, Nestle, Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble,

Reebok, Thorn EMI, United Biscuits, United Distillers No of

countries/offices: 21/22 Staff 96: 2,032


Clients: Accor, Aerospatiale, Aprilia, Bristol Myers Squibb, Danone,

Hasbro, Hertz, Jameson, Manpower, McCain, Michelin, Monsanto (Solaris),

Remy Cointreau, Salomon, TAG Heuer No of countries/offices: 16/54 Staff

96: 1,504

(15) TBWA

Clients: Absolut Vodka, Beiersdorf, Bel, Canon, Danone, Dow Brands,

Henkel, Nissan, Novartis, Philip Morris, Samsonite, Seagram (Chivas

Regal), 3M Imation No of countries/offices: 22/34 Staff 96: 929


Clients: Beiersdorf, Citibank, Hero, SC Johnson, Kimberly Clark, SEAT,

Tropicana No of countries/offices: 30/34 Staff 96: 850


Clients: Benckiser, Fiat Lancia, Illva Di Saronno, Lavazza, Luxottica,

Martini & Rossi, Merloni Ariston, Quaker Beverages (Gatorade), Sergio

Tacchini, Unichips No of countries/offices: 12/15 Staff 96: 645


Clients (95): ABB, BPD, Gypsum, Cadbury, Cussons, Jagermeister, Kapsch

Telecom, Krups, Michelin No of countries/offices: 12/15 Staff 96: 645


Clients: Bristol-Myers, Chrysler, Champion, Financial Times, Kelly

Services, Samsung, Unisys, Valvoline, Yardley No of countries/offices:

24/27 Staff 96: 423

(20) FCA!BMZ

Clients: AT&T, Canon, Carrefour, Henkel, Hewlett-Packard, Lancaster,

Lesieur, Marriott Hotels, Nabisco, Nestle, Rothmans, Siemens, Spontex,

Sudmilch No of countries/offices: 14/17 Staff 96: 510.


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