Feature

Advertising Network of the Year EMEA 2020: McCann Worldgroup

This is its second win in a row.

Advertising Network of the Year EMEA 2020: McCann Worldgroup

McCann has been crowned as Campaign’s EMEA Advertising Network of the Year for the second year running. The network, a team of 3,500 people, across 44 markets, claimed to have grown at double the industry rate in revenue terms, and delivered substantial growth through new business.

Campaign’s judges were also impressed by the network’s creative reel and its strong haul of awards in 2019, encompassing a diverse range of clients, alongside McCann’s contribution to industry thought leadership, and its commitment to culture as well as to a diversity and training agenda. 

In terms of awards, McCann claimed that, for the first time in its history, it achieved the number-one ranking in every major award in both creativity and effectiveness across the region – including at Cannes and in the Effies. Creative highlights included work for Nestlé Purina "Street-vet" from Paris, Ikea "ThisAbles" in Israel (pictured, top), Aldi "Kevin the carrot" in the UK, L’Oréal "The non-issue" in France and the UK and Coca-Cola "Half-full" in Romania. 

L'Oréal: 'The non-issue'

These were highly effective campaigns, delivered under the leadership of chief creative officer Adrian Botan. What’s more, the majority of the creative work reflected the network’s "meaningful" positioning, putting social good at the core, while generating results and brand value for clients. 

Organic growth was supplemented by a consistent new-business performance, with wins including Opel, Three Mobile, Iberia and Lloyds Pharmacy. McCann also grew its existing relationships with Aldi, L’Oréal, eBay and Novartis. 

Investment in culture and diversity also caught the eye of the jury. McCann appointed its multicultural expert Sufia Parkar to the role of diversity and engagement director to further embed inclusive thinking across its culture.

The network’s culture is set by a stable leadership team, with Pablo Walker, president Europe, at the helm, supported by strong leaders in key markets and in his central team. This has enabled McCann to impress in terms of investing in industry thought leadership, breaking new ground with its Truth Central consumer insights division, and screening a new docuseries, Machine Learning: Living in the Age of AI, which sought to put a human face on artificial intelligence and offer insights for marketers. 

The impact of the chief strategy officer of McCann Worldgroup Europe, Harjot Singh, has been felt across the network, most notably in Europe, where he has established a strong reputation for creative effectiveness. His introduction of proprietary frameworks that embed rigorous strategy, foresight and creativity across the region have helped brands play a meaningful role in people’s lives. 

McCann launched its LAB 13 innovation spaces in Düsseldorf and Manchester, and gathered people across the network to hack a business problem for its clients – emerging with a brave idea in the shape of L’Oréal’s "The non-issue". The network established an innovation council to bring together leaders from the agency, alongside clients and the technology community, to explore leading-edge ideas and practices. Brands participating include Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, Mastercard, Nestlé, Novartis, and Reckitt Benckiser. In addition, the network’s LIVE social strategy approach aims to unite consumer insights, creative resources and social intelligence.

So, last year was another one of high performance for McCann in the region. The judges suggested that the network still has more to do in terms of diversity and on articulating its strategy more clearly when it comes to blending specialism and integration. Otherwise, the biggest challenge for McCann in the year ahead is to fight off competition for its crown.

Runners-up

BBDO EMEA

BBDO was praised by the judges for combining exceptional business results with diversification of services and creative excellence. Highlights of 2019 included new campaigns for Essity/Bodyform, An-Nahar newspaper, Vodafone Italy, Spanish Lotteries, Ozujsko Beer, Smart Car, Ford and Ikea Russia. The network won 19 Grands Prix from award shows including Cannes, Clios and D&AD (black Pencil). It also landed 38 Effies including three Grands Prix. New-business wins came in the shape, among others, of Rexona (Unilever) regional, Vodafone Italy, O2 Germany, Ford global and Brown-Forman global. The strength of the network’s leadership was reflected in the appointment of six new chief executives/managing directors in markets, all from within, five of them female.

DDB

DDB generated organic growth from existing clients and, after participating in 300 pitches, converted more than half into accounts. The network also took home high-profile business on a global and regional level that was built on existing business such as E.ON in Germany, Thalys in France and Sony PlayStation in the UK. Gender equality was an area of focus, resulting in senior female leadership in more than half of DDB’s agencies in the region. The network also made it a priority for its leaders to provide solutions to support employee health and wellness in 2019. And DDB created talked-about work for Hennessy, McDonald’s and Volkswagen.

Grey Europe

Under the leadership of Eduardo Maruri, its chief executive and president, and chief creative officer Javier Campopiano, Grey Europe has grown into a network delivering creativity across geographical and disciplinary barriers. It  posted a 40% increase in new-business wins in 2019, and captured the attention of judges with its cross-border approach to talent, together with an increased emphasis on diversity. Creative highlights included campaigns for Burger King, the UN, Gillette and Lucozade, and the network is looking to push its creativity to higher levels with a new creative board for the region now in place.

TBWA\EMEA

Although the judges felt that TBWA\EMEA could demonstrate more in terms of a transformation and diversity story, its business success on a large scale was identified as its strongest asset. TBWA admits that its "Disruption" mission statement gives it a lot to live up to and, in 2019, it delivered in terms of work for clients such as McDonald’s, Amazon, Beco and Adidas. New-business performance was strong, especially in the UK, with wins including AMD (London), HP (Istanbul) and Hyundai (South Africa). Much of TBWA’s focus is on organic growth via its long-term investment in client partnerships with the likes of Apple and Nissan, which should put the network in a good place for future growth. 

The & Partnership

2019 was the year that The & Partnership’s strategy of creating bespoke "&Model" agencies delivered results in the shape of double-digit revenue growth.  More than 50% of its people are now embedded in on-site agencies built for clients across 19 European markets, and this impressed Campaign’s client judges, who praised the approach of assembling multi-disciplinary teams as "truly differentiated". They also felt that the work for Toyota provided standout, alongside The & Partnership’s low staff turnover and 50% of women in leadership roles. New-business wins included Centrica and NatWest, while The & Partnership’s success in the Nordics was impressive – it gained eight clients there, including Kenwood, Snickers and DeLonghi.