School Reports 2011: Elvis

2010 was a year of transition for Elvis, as it regrouped to progress from being a strong mid-weight agency to one capable of consistently battling with the big boys.

Recent Elvis work: Virgin Trains
Recent Elvis work: Virgin Trains

Score: 6

Agency fact file: Elvis
Type of agency Integrated
Company ownership Esprit de Corps
Key personnel Martin Semmens joint chief executive
  David Bainbridge joint chief executive
  Carl Ratcliff executive planning director
  John Treacy creative director
  Ben Clapp creative director
The Nielsen Company billings 2010 £17m
The Nielsen Company billings 2009 £15m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 15
Accounts won 3 (biggest: Honda)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Virgin Media)
Number of staff 101 (-8%)

The most significant changes came towards the end of the year, when Elvis benefited from the merger between its sister Esprit de Corps agencies MCBD and Dare. MCBD's vice-chairman, David Bainbridge, and planning director, Carl Ratcliff, both moved across to the Elvis management team. Bainbridge took the role of joint chief executive, working alongside the agency's co-founder Martin Semmens, while Ratcliff became the executive planning director.

The restructure also saw the departures of the creative director, Carl Easton, and the managing partner, Craig Morgan, while Mark Leversedge, the other Elvis co-founder, moved on to a more general strategic role within EdC.

Progress was made on the new-business front too. The agency secured a coup when it won the pan-European digital and direct marketing account for Honda and, during the course of the year, Elvis also picked up digital advertising business from Red Bull and WKD.

However, it did suffer a blow when Virgin Media moved its digital work out of the agency as part of a consolidation of its integrated business into DDB.

The standard of Elvis' work has improved over the past few years and in 2010, the agency continued this progression, particularly in digital. It produced standout campaigns for Virgin Trains and Virgin Holidays, both of which won DMA gold, as well as an innovative augmented reality online game for Drench.

Elvis enters 2011 in a solid position. Its management line-up has been significantly boosted and, with some new business already through the door and plans for global expansion afoot, don't be surprised if the agency enjoys a very strong year.

Score last year: 7

How Elvis rates itself: 7

"A Rocky IV year. Starting with a win on Honda. Followed by our 'Apollo Creed' moment - the blow of Virgin Media consolidating into DDB (who we'd beaten in the original digital pitch). Our 'training montage' sequence included some intensive repositioning, double gold DMA, new offices with Dare and the arrival of new trainers in the form of David Bainbridge and Carl Ratcliff. All ending with a triumphant double knockout pitch victory - to be continued ... "

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