Between the Lines: Could CHI follow Dunstone?

When Clemmow Hornby Inge launched in 2001 with the Carphone Warehouse, Charles Dunstone's account was worth £10 million to the agency.

These days, the business is billing upwards of £20 million all told, and as Dunstone's empire continues to grow, it seems pretty clear that CHI will grow with it.

Now that Dunstone has snapped up AOL (page 1), which happens to spend about £25 million on advertising at the moment, CHI is well placed to add that to its client portfolio. After all, Dunstone is one of the most loyal clients around.

With CHI eyeing overseas expansion, Dunstone's entry into the US market could provide the agency with the perfect platform for a New York office. Any US venture is risky for an independent UK agency - few have made a success of it and even Bartle Bogle Hegarty has struggled. To go with a client in your back pocket helps, of course. But to go with a client as loyal and ambitious for growth as Dunstone ... well, that's surely a no-brainer. CHI is being cautious, but the path to Manhattan looks like a straight one.