For an unprecedented fourth year on the trot, Adam & Eve/DDB has been crowned Advertising Agency of the Year. While 2016 saw the agency’s founders – James Murphy, David Golding and Ben Priest – take a step back from their roles to assume group positions (and enjoy the spoils of their labours), the management team that has inherited this most prestigious of mantles has not been found wanting, claiming a growth figure of 12.5% this year. All credit, then, to Rick Brim, Tammy Einav, Mat Goff, Alex Hesz and Ben Tollett.
It’s not just in creative output that A&E/DDB leads the game (more of that later) – this year, it was also named Effectiveness Agency of the Year by the APG. Further weight was also added to its already groaning awards cabinet with a haul of creative gongs, including Campaign Big Agency of the Year, British Arrows Agency of the Year and The One Show Agency of the Year. It also picked up more Cannes Lions than any other UK shop.
And what of the agency’s 2017 reel? There was plenty to keep future juries busy. Among the highlights were some beautifully crafted campaigns for the likes of H&M, Volkswagen, EA Sports, Sky Sports and, of course, memorable Christmas executions for John Lewis and Waitrose. Away from traditional advertising, the agency designed a syllabus to suit those with no digital knowledge for Google’s nationwide education programme – this included physical spaces to help create unique learning zones.
The new-business effort didn’t disappoint either, with accounts including Sky Sports, Radox, HM Revenue & Customs and GWR coming through the doors – for the latter, the agency produced some particularly charming print work inspired by Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. It is for this remarkably rounded effort that A&E/DDB takes home the spoils.
VCCP ran A&E/DDB a very close second with a new-business record that was unsurpassed by any other agency.
It recorded 23 wins across the year, including some of the most keenly contested pitches – for Cadbury, Britvic and Domino’s.
VCCP created a multi-market campaign for Canon that sought to reposition its cameras for the Instagram generation, while its work for Nationwide was particularly beautiful and raw, featuring ordinary people speaking up for what matters to them. It gave the financial institution a heart, and Nationwide chief executive Joe Garner described the work as the most successful in its history. Other campaigns for O2 and Domino’s showed how far VCCP’s creative game has been raised.
It’s little wonder that it was named Marketing New Thinking Agency of the Year, even if Agency of the Year just narrowly eluded it.
Mother, too, put in a credible performance with work that got people talking. From Ikea to Moneysupermarket.com to KFC, the agency’s creative teams showed that they could flex their muscles in any sector to produce beautiful, memorable and effective work. While the loss of Boots to Ogilvy & Mather left a hole, the KFC win – along with assignments from Debenhams, Cereal Partners and Gymbox – helped mitigate this.
In Mother’s 21st year of existence, a new management team was installed, led by Ana Balarin, Hermeti Balarin, Chris Gallery and Katie Mackay. And their first year in charge promises much for the future for this unique and independent creative hotshop.
Ogilvy & Mather
2017 was also a pivotal year for Ogilvy & Mather, which dominated Campaign’s New-Business League for most of the year. With wins including Boots, Vodafone and British Airways, the agency’s position was unassailable and shows how far the reinvigorated management team (or "gang"), led by Charlie Rudd, have injected life into this venerable brand.
With O&M’s inaugural Christmas campaign for Boots currently melting hearts, there is the hope that with such an expanded client list this magic will spread across its roster of clients in 2018.
How great to see Havas London back on the right trajectory. There was a time when the agency was almost an invisible network outpost but the injection of a fresh management team (and staff) and its relocation has seen Havas London in the ascendancy. With 11 new pieces of business, including Carling, Air Wick, Finish, Rolls-Royce and Clearasil, there’s plenty for the creative department to get its teeth into over the next 12 months. If it can match the success of its Heathrow Christmas campaign, it should be an exciting year ahead.
It was a landmark year for Lucky Generals, which sold a stake to TBWA\Worldwide. Despite (or maybe because of) the deal, the agency continued to grow, claiming a 55% increase in income and a 24% rise in headcount. Domestic wins included OnePlus, Nytol and Yopa, while creative highlights included campaigns for Paddy Power, Hostelworld and Yorkshire Tea. And all the while it was doing this, the agency was responsible for inserting a new management team into sister agency TBWA\London. •
Recent winners: Adam & Eve/DDB (2016); Adam & Eve/DDB (2015); Adam & Eve/DDB (2014); VCCP (2013); Bartle Bogle Hegarty (2012)