The latest media league tables always create a bit of a buzz
because, despite what the tumblers wish you believed, where you sit and
who you sit on is pretty damn important in a business still obsessed by
There might be few surprises in the latest MMS figures, but there are
some dramatic shifts which underline, if ever it was needed, what a
difference six months can make in this industry.
A year ago, CIA Medianetwork was still hanging on in the top three,
despite the first tremors of what proved to be a landslide of account
The truth of its recent UK performance is now being laid bare and the
agency is down to number ten, with almost a quarter of its billings
White knight chief executive where are you?
MediaVest, too, has had a torrid time, with the loss of the Dixons
business knocking it to ninth place. If ever there was a great ad for
the wisdom of a merger, this is it - without one, the agency, which a
few years ago was winning everything that came its way, could soon be
heading out of the top ten.
Another agency shell-shocked by the loss of business on political rather
than performance grounds, BBJ, will have to work hard and fast if it is
to prevent crashing to the late teens after the loss of the pounds 80
million Volkswagen account.
Credit, though, to the slow-burners who keep notching up business
without the sequins and tassles of some of their more flashy
counterparts. Universal McCann, Initiative Media, Optimedia and Motive
all turn in impressive performances on the back of solid service.
As for the dazzlers, Manning Gottlieb Media is up 98 per cent (thanks to
the BT TV business its sister agency, the Allmond Partnership, scooped
last year), New PHD billings are up by 40 per cent, and Walker Media was
only a toddler a year ago but is a whopping 1,746 per cent bigger
The post-merger players, though, are the latent stars. MindShare’s year
of going nowhere is still holding back billings, though a string of
recent wins and a solid WPP group proposition should put paid to that in
the next table (which reminds me, why is there no MindShare chief
included in WPP’s bonanza bonus scheme? What does that say about its
commitment to media?). Similarly for MediaCom TMB, whose pounds 100-plus
million wins (Volkswagen, Iceland, IPC) have yet to really register.
Mind you, with the need to shed more dead wood, an executive line-up
that doesn’t - publicly at least - seem to do the agency’s size justice
and continued rumblings that the agency might just not have done the
best presentation in the Volkswagen pitch, there’s still a lot for the
new managing directors to prove.
The general outlook for all agencies, though, is a healthy one. Slowly
but surely fees are replacing commissions and big billings are
definitely not proof positive of a healthy business any more.
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