What lessons are to be learned from the latest MMS agency rankings?
The old biblical one about reaping what you sow is the most obvious that
springs to mind.
Certainly there can be no better examples of the rich harvest that comes
from carefully planted seedcorn than Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and BMP
DDB which now sit comfortably on top of the haystack.
It’s a phenomenon from which all agencies can draw comfort. So often
derided in the past for its financial profligacy, amoral behaviour and
gloss-over-substance priorities, the industry now has the best possible
proof that forward-thinking and principled management brings its
Neither AMV nor BMP ever showed any inclination to join the Saatchi
brothers’ ruthless rush for growth. Indeed, while Saatchi & Saatchi was
lording it at the top of the rankings a decade ago, BMP, Saatchis’
senior by seven years, was sitting in mid table. AMV was an even more
modestly placed number 16.
It’s no accident that these agencies have climbed to the top in similar
fashion. Both have spent time honing their philosophies and have never
been tempted to go for a quick fix. Both treat their staffers decently
and draw great loyalty in return. Both have set out to offer the best
strategic thinkers and, most important, put outstanding creativity at
the heart of everything they do.
That’s not to say either agency can claim to have civilised UK
advertising on their own. J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather - both
still top ten players - have long espoused similar values.
What distinguishes AMV and BMP is that they have sustained continuity
and managed change over a prolonged period. As a result, AMV in
particular has consolidated its place at the top of the rankings in a
way that Saatchis never managed.
They’ll not be kept down, though. Witness M&C Saatchi’s leap up the
ranks from 14th to sixth spot, a remarkable testament to the power of
the Saatchi ’can do’ spirit when it is properly focused, not distracted
by share prices or diverted by hubris.