The Annual 2006: Top 10 digital talent

1. MARTIN BROOKS, Chief Executive, Agency Republic and Zulu

Agency Republic has had a superb year under the guidance of Brooks, with new-business wins including a place on the Unilever roster and Unicef. On top of that, the Omnicom group of agencies he oversees, Zulu, is starting to look like a pretty smart proposition. This year, it won the launch brief for Sony PlayStation 3 and snapping up the interactive television agency Weapon7, which had offers from a number of suitors, for £10 million. With a heap of accolades this year, Brooks maintains his reputation for doing things his own way.

2. LUKE TAYLOR, Chief Executive, LBi

A £2 billion-a-year industry is probably in need of a super-sized agency, and Taylor delivered by taking the helm for the entity created by the merger of LB Icon, Framfab and Wheel in August. Taylor points out that with 450 staff, LBi is bigger than most ad agencies. Having said that, one of the first acts the merged company did was to hire a human resources director to help the agency create a small-company feeling post merger. The industry will be keenly watching Taylor's performance in 2007.

3. Mark Cridge, Chief Executive, Glue London

Industry sniping might have it that Cridge has taken his eye off the ball at glue London since its acquisition by Aegis Group, but the agency has continued winning accounts, including the RAC's online advertising work and a portion of the Mini business. Cridge also remains a figure of fascination and, despite the sniping, it seems impossible to find anyone who actually has a bad word to say about the industry's poster boy.

4. WAYNE ARNOLD, Managing Director, Profero

In between running Profero, which this year produced stand-out work for Child Protection on the Internet and Mini, Arnold has been instrumental in co-ordinating an industry-wide collaboration to help improve creativity in the bread-and-butter online ad formats. As well as being at the top of the digital ad industry, Arnold is one of the hardy few to have completed the Marathon des Sables, a six-day endurance race across the Sahara Desert.

5. NIGEL MORRIS, Chief Executive, Isobar

With 1,600 people working in Aegis Group's digital network Isobar, Morris is at the forefront of developing the digital advertising industry into a global concern. He is rather busy keeping track of what's going on at offices in 68 countries, but manages to keep his finger on the pulse of the UK scene, and earlier this year oversaw a restructure that has given the agency's global clients a single point of contact.

6. FLO HEISS, creative partner, Dare

Dare Digital picked up more gongs at the Campaign Digital Awards this year than any other agency, testament to Heiss' continuing passion for online creativity. Stand-out work included Lynx's lovely ladies, featuring two women who contort themselves into every letter of the alphabet, and a nifty bit of self-promotion in the form of Dare School - possibly the only graduate recruitment campaign that has been featured in the venerable Popbitch mailout.

7. AJAZ AHMED, chairman, AKQA

One of the survivors of the dotcom era, Ahmed is one of the few people in digital advertising who can accurately be described as a veteran. The agency he founded, AKQA, continues as a force in the industry. Although it lost its slice of the Aviva business, it picked up new business from Unilever, McDonald's and Smirnoff, and awards included recognition for its Sainsbury's work.

8. ROB FORSHAW, partner, Grand Union

Grand Union has had a bumper year, winning the Department of Health's sexual health brief and npower, among others. As well as winning new business and running the show, Forshaw, who abandoned a career in traditional advertising for the digital world in 1999, still has time to handle planning for agency clients, including the Energy Saving Trust.

9. JON WILLIAMS, creative director, Wunderman Interactive

Williams is much respected in the industry. Accolades include recognition at the Campaign Digital Awards for the Missy Elliot Respect launch for Adidas.

10. SAM BALL AND DAVE BEDFORD, founders, Lean Mean Fighting Machine

Ball and Bedford are still among the most admired creatives working in digital, and were recognised at Cannes with awards for work including the International Herald Tribune creative. The IHT likes what LMFM does so much that they are now creating print and DM campaigns.


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