Just three years after the merger of Adam & Eve and DDB, the combined agency has secured its first Campaign Agency of the Year title. It tops off a remarkable 12 months for a shop that seemed to spend much of 2014 (when it wasn’t winning new business or producing beautiful ads) on podiums throughout the world, picking up accolades for a remarkable performance.
Of course, for the founders James Murphy, David Golding, Ben Priest and Jon Forsyth, this isn’t the first time that they have won the Agency of the Year prize – in 2010, at the then two-year-old independent Adam & Eve (and one year before the agency was acquired by DDB), the team also emerged victorious. The fact that they have recreated this magic in so short a space of time vindicates the merger.
So how did they manage to do it again, and with a bigger train set? In short, through taking all the elements that made Adam & Eve such a success and instilling them in their new fiefdom. Murphy has always had a nose for a new-business opportunity and, in 2014, the agency won ten of the 11 pitches it contested.
These were some of the biggest and most hotly contested pitches around. The year started with a bang with the European Sony Consumer Electronics account and continued at a similar pace. McCain, Mulberry, Haig Club and – perhaps most sweetly of all – the global advertising business for Virgin Atlantic (from their alma mater Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R) all found a new home in Bishop’s Bridge Road. Almost as satisfying was the AA’s decision to hand its UK advertising account to the shop without a pitch. The business moved from last year’s Advertising Agency of the Year, VCCP.
Adam & Eve/DDB also extended its relationship with existing clients – winning the digital business for the Heineken-owned brands Foster’s, Desperados and Kronenbourg 1664. It also managed to wrest the John Smith’s account from its long-standing incumbent (and sister agency), TBWA\London. Such sustained success meant that the shop spent the year towards the top of the new-business league.
However, while indicative of vigour, new business only tells part of an agency’s story – and none more so than in the case of Adam & Eve/DDB this year. Creatively, the agency was at the top of its game, triumphing at Cannes Lions, where it was named Agency of the Year and scooped four Grands Prix, seven golds, four silvers and seven bronzes across a range of clients. It was also named Agency of the Year at the British Arrows, where its haul included five golds, and Integrated Agency of the Year at the Campaign Big Awards, where it captured a further two golds and five silvers. Further accreditation came at the Clios and vindication of its solid planning credentials was provided at the IPA Effectiveness Awards, where the shop was awarded a Grand Prix for Foster’s.
Many of these awards were for work – such as Marmite and Harvey Nichols – that had run in 2013. But its 2014 reel is just as strong and means that the agency is likely to be troubling the juries again in 2015.
Volkswagen continued to impress and live up to the long and glorious DDB heritage. Meanwhile, the spectacular debut spot for Sony, "ice bubbles" – as well as beautifully crafted campaigns for Haig Club, SSE and the cat-snack brand Temptations (at face value, one that you’d think would be creatively uninspiring) – showed the breadth of the agency’s output away from its most famous (and perhaps defining) client, John Lewis.
No write-up on Adam & Eve/DDB, however, can omit a mention of John Lewis – and its Christmas spot, "Monty the penguin", more than lived up to expectations. The ad was part of a fully integrated campaign that included the use of Google Goggles to evoke the magic of gifting as seen through a child’s eyes as well as considerable in-store activity. The Christmas work was teed up with an innovative teaser campaign in which Monty appeared in Channel 4 idents ahead of the full launch. Once again, Adam & Eve/DDB showed that the John Lewis Christmas campaign wouldn’t disappoint.
On the management floor, there were promotions for Mat Goff and Tammy Einav, who became joint managing directors. Alex Hesz was named the agency’s first director of digital, while Xavier Rees was elevated to group managing director. All appointments were in recognition of their service in ensuring that the values of entrepreneurism and determination to succeed that were instilled by the shop’s founders and were key to its growth in 2014 will continue.
Recent winners: VCCP (2013); Bartle Bogle Hegarty (2012); Bartle Bogle Hegarty (2011); Adam & Eve (2010); no winner (2009)