The Lists 2020: Top 10 ad suits

The best of the industry in 2020.

Top ad suits: Einav, Goff, Martin, Rees, Douglas, Marjoram, Scott, Jenkins, Davies, Graeme and Abraham
Top ad suits: Einav, Goff, Martin, Rees, Douglas, Marjoram, Scott, Jenkins, Davies, Graeme and Abraham

1 Tammy Einav and Mat Goff

Joint chief executives, Adam & Eve/DDB

Crowned Advertising Agency Heads of the Year at the Campaign Agency of the Year Awards, this pairing continues to show that joint roles can yield great results. In another notable 2020 achievement, Adam & Eve/DDB was named the UK’s biggest agency by billings, snatching the number-one spot from Omnicom sister shop Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, according to Nielsen. While the loss of Halifax to their mentors, James Murphy and David Golding at New Commercial Arts, will have smarted, Einav and Goff will dust themselves off – they always do.

2 Karen Martin

Chief executive, Bartle Bogle Hegarty London

This year Martin was promoted from managing director to chief executive. Campaign’s Account Person of the Year in the Agency of the Year Awards, Martin also saw her work on the Tesco account rewarded when the supermarket nabbed the Grand Prix in the IPA Effectiveness Awards. Her work was also recognised when the agency won Effectiveness Company of the Year at the same ceremony.

3 Xavier Rees 

Chief executive, Havas London and Havas Helia

Big-hearted and thoughtful, Rees brings a progressive management style to Havas. A vocal supporter of the workplace as the best environment for creativity, he insists on it being a welcoming and inclusive place. In 2020 he led the highly regarded Press Pause partnership with Creative Equals, where employees are empowered to challenge views and behaviours they feel are problematic, with impunity.

4 Julian Douglas

Vice-chairman, VCCP

A former winner of Campaign’s Account Person of the Year, Douglas continued to innovate in 2020 and led the successful pitch for Walkers (conducted in lockdown conditions) that resulted in the PepsiCo-owned brand leaving Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO after 22 years. “Dougie” was also instrumental in the launch of VCCP’s school-engagement programme and entry-level employment scheme, called The Table.

5 Sheryl Marjoram 

Chief executive, McCann London

Having at last been handed the keys to the McCann London kingdom (and the executive washroom) in 2019, Marjoram is beginning to impose her personality on the agency and making it a threat again. This is no mean feat – many have tried, with varying degrees of success. The chair of McCann’s UK Conscious Inclusion Council, Marjoram has also been shown to be a force for good.

6 Bill Scott 

Chief executive, Droga5 London

Scott wasn’t to know what the future was to hold when he wrote in these pages in January: “In many ways, 2020 is shaping up to be a belter of a year. It will yield new Olympic heroes, new European football champions, the chance of a new US president and the hope of a meaningful conclusion on Brexit.” Well, he got the new US president bit right at least. But his longer-term view is that agencies need to show breakthrough creativity – something Droga5 London is leading on under the stewardship of Scott.

7 Sarah Jenkins 

Managing director, Saatchi & Saatchi London

Having successfully made the transition from Grey London to Saatchi at the end of 2019, Jenkins has already made an impression on her new agency. A long-time champion of diversity and inclusion, she has helped launch a series of initiatives to open up recruitment to improve diversity and social mobility. These include a seven-year partnership with Harris Academy Greenwich, one of the largest academies in London, through which the agency will offer curriculum learning, digital and in-person resources, mentorship and career information to students in years seven to 13.

8 Ete Davies 

Chief executive, Engine Creative 

In his first full calendar year in charge of Engine Creative, Davies has helped reinvigorate its creative and strategic reputation with some excellent appointments, including Gen Kobayashi as chief strategy officer. In 2020 he launched Growth Studio, a new area of consultancy focused on how brands can drive growth via innovation, and was given responsibility for running Engine Sport. Davies’ thoughtful demeanour, along with a passion for equality, are clearly valued by the business. He works tirelessly to get more people of colour into senior positions in adland via initiatives such as CultureHeroes and #blackandbrilliant.

9 Natalie Graeme

Co-founder, Uncommon Creative Studio

In a year during which Uncommon Creative Studio became the most-nominated agency at the Campaign Big Awards and took Campaign’s Independent Agency of the Year award, Graeme has shown her mettle as well as the scale of her ambition. Having snatched B&Q from Engine Creative and making it to the final two on Walkers, she is doing an uncommonly good job of convincing new business prospects that its distinctive brand of creativity is the future.  

10 David Abraham 

Founder and chief executive, Wonderhood Studios

The cerebral Abraham isn’t the first entrepreneur to attempt the launch of an ad agency allied with a production offering. But he seems to have pulled it off, with a credible option that has attracted the attention of Three UK, which appointed Wonderhood after a final shootout involving Mother and Uncommon Creative Studio. As a statement of intent, that’s quite a powerful one given the agency (sorry, we mean studio) is barely two years old.

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