School Reports 2011: Chemistry

It's hard to view Chemistry's 2010 without the benefit of hindsight as, in January, Publicis Groupe weighed in with a £14.45 million offer to acquire the agency. A notable achievement from the low-profile Chemistry team that shows how much its offering of digitally driven CRM is prized by its rivals. Publicis was willing to offer a hefty premium on the Chemistry share price and may have been tempted to do so on the basis of a 2009 leap in revenues of 40 per cent.

Recent Chemistry work: Baileys
Recent Chemistry work: Baileys

Score: 7

Agency fact file: Chemistry
Type of agency Integrated
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Key personnel Joe Garton chairman and chief executive
  Diane Charlton managing director
  Jason Foo deputy managing director
  Peter Harle executive creative director
  Peter Meaklim chief financial officer
The Nielsen Company billings 2010 £10m
The Nielsen Company billings 2009 £14m
Declared income £12.8m (2009)
Total accounts at year end 18
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Novartis)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 200 (+20%)

Its management team, led by the chief executive, Joe Garton, and the managing director, Diane Charlton, continued to shy away from the industry spotlight yet Chemistry had a strong new-business performance including the wins of Baileys' social media and the Novartis digital account, plus experiential briefs from Yotel and Fru.

Chemistry also extended its relationship with Diageo, landing the Ron Zacapa rum account. Perhaps its 2010 new-business highlight was the capture of the £7 million ad account for Emirates, which it won without a pitch. This added to its responsibilities as the airline's digital agency.

Chemistry has, so far, held on to its biggest client, Orange - and the deal with Publicis (whose ad agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Fallon handle the T-Mobile and Orange accounts respectively) bodes well for this relationship. The work Chemistry has produced for the brand has remained consistent and interesting and included a direct mail piece in the shape of an old-fashioned vinyl single alluding to the sound of a "broken record".

2010 was a year of growth for the agency. It will be interesting to see if the investment and backing from Publicis can help Chemistry, which has a strong executive creative director in Peter Harle, push harder in terms of innovation and creating memorable work.

Score last year: n/a

How Chemistry rates itself: 7.5

"2010 was about managing rapid growth, without compromising on the quality of our work. Significant wins across digital and advertising strengthened our integrated credentials. This led to recruitment of additional specialist expertise in digital and social media, allowing us to deliver richer ideas for clients today and future proof for the challenges of tomorrow. All helped by a stable management team that continues to attract talent while retaining our strong culture, principles and values."

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