The Lists 2020: Top 10 ad planners

The best of the industry in 2020.

Top ad planners: Gregory, Lion, Jameson, Lee, Williams, Beverley, Mackay-Sinclair, Gallery, Nairn, Mawdsley, Angear, Huntington and Arden
Top ad planners: Gregory, Lion, Jameson, Lee, Williams, Beverley, Mackay-Sinclair, Gallery, Nairn, Mawdsley, Angear, Huntington and Arden

1 Simon Gregory and Will Lion

Joint chief strategy officers, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Simon Gregory and Will Lion were promoted this year to head Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s strategy department after leading the planning for the agency’s biggest clients for many years. Lion works on Audi, and Gregory on Tesco, Barclays and Ladbrokes Coral. At the recent IPA Effectiveness Awards, BBH was crowned Effectiveness Company of the Year and the agency’s paper on its Tesco turnaround work, in conjunction with MediaCom, took the Grand Prix. Since being appointed, the agencies have helped Tesco add £4.3bn in incremental revenue.

2 Lucy Jameson

Co-founder, Uncommon Creative Studio

The agency Jameson co-founded is punching well above its weight. In particular, her strategic advice has helped client ITV stand out this year both for its ongoing “Britain get talking” mental health campaign and its anti-racism ad, which followed complaints about a Black Lives Matter-themed performance by dance troupe Diversity on Britain’s Got Talent. The agency also only narrowly missed out on securing the Walkers account but even to be in the running for an account of that size at such an early stage in its development is a feat in itself.

3 Michael Lee

Chief strategy officer, VCCP

Lee can take some of the credit for a great new business year at VCCP, most notably helping to secure one of the biggest ad accounts up for grabs this year: Walkers crisps. Lee, who is chair of the shortlisting panel for the 2021 APG Creative Strategy Awards, has also been vocal on “compass planning”, VCCP’s theory on managing brands in difficult times. Somehow he has also managed to fit in some pro bono communications services to fundraise for AFC Wimbledon.

4 Dylan Williams

Chief strategy officer, Droga5 London

Last year, Williams was asked by Droga5 parent company Accenture to probe how ad agencies can grow with consultancies. His agency’s performance emphatically provided an answer this year with insightful work for Rustlers and Amazon. One of the industry’s big thinkers, Williams contributed a provocative chapter on ethical transformation for Facebook’s Build Brilliant Brands book.

5 Martin Beverley

Chief strategy officer, Adam & Eve/DDB

Beverley and his agency enjoyed another good year. A runner-up in Campaign’s Strategic Planner of the Year 2020, he oversees creative strategy across some of the agency’s biggest clients, including John Lewis, Virgin Media and PlayStation. The IPA Effectiveness Awards recognised two of his papers this year: for John Lewis and the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

6 Katie Mackay-Sinclair and Chris Gallery

Partners, Mother

This strong pairing can take much credit for the great work Mother produces. In particular, it continued to impress with Ikea’s advertising, which relies on powerful insight. Also notable was its ad for Samsung, which featured a love story inspired by a photo of onions. Gallery has also helped to ensure Mother’s unique Shoreditch office keeps its character, despite Covid restrictions.

7 Andy Nairn

Founding partner, Lucky Generals

Nairn, the 2020 winner of Campaign’s Strategic Planner of the Year, is an established thought leader and has created a formidable effectiveness culture at the agency he co-founded seven years ago. He is also witty and well liked. A promoter of progressive cultural and working values, Lucky Generals was the only agency to publish its BAME pay gap for Campaign’s BLM Adland Audit. It also produced some excellent work in response to lockdown for Zoopla and Yorkshire Tea.

8 Craig Mawdsley and Bridget Angear

Joint chief strategy officers, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

By its usual high standards, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has not had a great year. Perhaps the biggest blows were the loss of long-standing clients Walkers (22 years) and BT (24 years). But Mawdsley and Angear remain two of the brightest minds in the business and their solid counsel to brands will be critical to the agency’s progress. Two Diageo papers with which Mawdsley was involved, received widespread plaudits in the IPA Effectiveness Awards, including three special awards: Best New Learning, Best Multi-market and Best Use of Data.

9 Richard Huntington

Chairman and chief strategy officer, Saatchi & Saatchi London

It was a big year for Saatchi & Saatchi as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Huntington has helped bed in BT, and was rewarded when the brand decided to shift all its business to Saatchi & Saatchi and sister agency Digitas. His strategic nous helped BT shift direction during lockdown to launch the “Top tips on tech” campaign aimed at improving the nation’s digital skills. He is proud that Ipsos MORI research found 5.7 million people learned or did something new as a result of it.

10 Jo Arden

Chief strategy officer, Publicis.Poke

Arden is another well-respected, big thinker. This year she made a major move to become chief strategy officer at Publicis.Poke, joining in June. She leaves a solid legacy at her previous employer MullenLowe, which won Effectiveness Network of the Year at the recent IPA Effectiveness Awards. Her new agency will be hoping she can sprinkle some of her strategic magic there.

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