April 2021 new business accelerates and surpasses 2019 levels

Global activity grew 77% from last year and 43% from April 2019, Campaign AI data shows.

Citroën: parent Stellantis chose Publicis Groupe to lead global media
Citroën: parent Stellantis chose Publicis Groupe to lead global media

Global advertising new business continued a strong growth trajectory in April, with activity estimated at a value of $7.1bn (£5.1bn), according to the latest data from Campaign’s Advertising Intelligence tool.

This represents a 77% increase compared with April 2020’s $4bn. In volume terms, there were 605 account moves in April, up from 488 in the same period last year.

The difference between the growth in value and volume suggests that the accounts that changed agencies in April were of a higher value than those in 2020.

Even more positively, both in terms of value and volume, global new business in April exceeded that in April 2019, indicating that a robust recovery in the advertising market is under way.

April’s new-business value of $7.1bn is 43% higher than April 2019’s $5bn, while the number of account moves was 17% higher than the same month in 2019.

In the first quarter, Campaign reported that new business was up compared with the equivalent three months in 2020, at $13.2bn versus $10.8bn. However, it was lower than the $17.6bn posted in the first quarter of 2019.

Strong US activity

There were four creative account wins that breached the $100m billings mark in April, three of which were in the US. BBDO picked up Home Depot ($300m), Doner won Johnson’s Baby ($140m) and Bartle Bogle Hegarty scooped Barbie ($100m).

The other major move was the $200m global Jaguar Land Rover business, which went to Accenture Interactive.

On the media side, there was one significant move – automotive giant Stellantis, which was formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA, handed its massive $2.4bn account to Publicis Groupe.

There were two other big wins in April. Horizon Media landed the $280m US Hershey’s business, while Havas Media Group won the $230m Dr Pepper brief in North America.

Recovery in restaurants and transport

Among the 15 sectors covered by Campaign AI, the strongest year-on-year growth in April came from not only automotive, which was buoyed by Stellantis and Jaguar Land Rover, but also restaurants and transport.

As restaurants gradually returned to normal capacity, much of the new-business growth was credited to the $50m Denny’s US ad account, which went to Anomaly. Smaller wins include Subway Asia-Pacific media, KFC CRM in the UK and media for restaurant holding group Alsea in Mexico.

Meanwhile, in transport, the two biggest accounts were Alamo, which awarded its $50m global media business to UM, and JetBlue, which chose DDB to handle its $45m creative duties. Both are likely to be linked to the easing of travel restrictions as people look for dometic or regional getaways. Smaller wins include CT Freight creative in Australia and media for intercity transport operator FlixMobility in Germany.

Campaign AI is compiled in partnership with global marketing consultancy R3. To request further information and to subscribe, please click here.

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