Global Media Agency of the Year: Manning Gottlieb OMD (UK)

Four agencies from Asia and one from US also competed.

Manning Gottlieb OMD: retained Virgin Media business in 2019
Manning Gottlieb OMD: retained Virgin Media business in 2019

The Omnicom shop was founded 30 years ago during a wave of independent media agency launches and has kept its unique, British character, despite becoming part of a global network – witness its role in handling the UK government’s £150m media buying account.

If 2018 was transformational for Manning Gottlieb OMD, when it won the government business, 2019 was a year of delivery. The agency increased revenue from existing clients (billings up 8% among the top 20 clients), retained one of its biggest accounts, Virgin Media, and demonstrated creativity and effectiveness in its work for brands including John Lewis Partnership, Sony Pictures and Uber Eats.

Annual billings soared 35% to £700m and staff numbers rose to 482 last year, chiefly because the government moved to the agency formally only in November 2018. Helping the government to build a bespoke supply-side platform to ensure "end-to-end" transparency in its programmatic buying was a striking innovation in 2019.

Last year brought a couple of notable wins worth £21m, including Allianz and (without a pitch) Pladis, the owner of McVitie’s, in partnership with sister creative shop TBWA. It is an alliance that underlines Manning Gottlieb OMD’s reputation for creativity in media. Client satisfaction scores rose for the sixth year in a row and staff churn fell to 18%, according to the agency, which boasts a stable management team.

OMD UK has moved into Omnicom’s Bankside headquarters in London, where Manning Gottlieb OMD is already based, but Omnicom insists no merger is planned.

The importance of investing in a distinctive culture with a unique selling point remains paramount in this category, as demonstrated here.

Judges said that they were impressed by Manning Gottlieb OMD's revenue growth and focus on talent. "They started with their people and have delivered an innovative approach to ensuring they are fostering a culture of D&I. Some good examples of delivery for clients and delivering a 96% retention rate in the current climate is impressive," one said.

Another added: "I love the 'why can't we?' approach to businesses. Impressive growth, albeit much likely coming from the big HM government win. I love their focus on ensuring the culture was not harmed but would adapt in light of a lot of pressure and I'm sure a certain level of chaos as they bedded down a new, large client. Impressive results."

Finalists

Essence US
MediaCom Hong Kong
Mindshare Hong Kong
Mindshare Indonesia
Zenith Taiwan

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