OPINION: Mid-size shops feel the pinch as standards rise

A few thoughts on last week’s Top 300: the overall standard of the top agencies in the UK - arguably the top 20 - is extremely high, and dominated by shops that place good creative work at the core of their beliefs and client offering, and are relatively free of the handling offices of the major multinationals that so dominate other countries’ top tens.

A few thoughts on last week’s Top 300: the overall standard of the

top agencies in the UK - arguably the top 20 - is extremely high, and

dominated by shops that place good creative work at the core of their

beliefs and client offering, and are relatively free of the handling

offices of the major multinationals that so dominate other countries’

top tens.



Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy and Mather, BMP DDB

and Saatchi and Saatchi is a pretty impressive top five by anybody’s

standards. DMB&B is making huge strides in its creative output (Fiat,

Umbro, Littlewoods) that is not being reflected in new business, which

is the reverse of the situation at seventh-placed Publicis. Numbers

eight and nine are filled by the mercurial M&C Saatchi, clearly capable

of the very best work, if not yet producing it consistently, and the

resurgent Lowe Howard-Spink. At ten, the declining Bates Dorland is

still more than capable of creating excellent work for some of the more

difficult larger clients in the country (Safeway, Superdrug,

Halifax).



It is a rare national top ten that does not feature any one of the Grey,

Lintas or McCann-Erickson local agencies, and each of these shops must

be worried that, despite past acquisitions and mergers, they are not in

that elite. With Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, Leo Burnett and WCRS all strong,

Young and Rubicam greatly improved and the force of the merged

TBWA/Simons Palmer yet to be felt, you can see how fierce competition

is.



All this, and we haven’t mentioned Bartle Bogle Hegarty or HHCL and

Partners and fast-growing agencies such as Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe.

There is not an agency mentioned that is not, at the very least,

professional.



All are capable of excellent work. It is hard to think of a better

collection of top shops in any other advertising marketplace. Small

wonder that some medium-sized agencies are finding life tough.



Topics