School Reports 2012: Beattie McGuinness Bungay

Beattie McGuinness Bungay had one of its most successful years to date. Hardly a week went by without it launching a unit or embarking on a new venture.

Recent work for Thomson
Recent work for Thomson

Score: 7

Beattie McGuinness Bungay
Type of agency Advertising, digital, experiential, sponsorship
Company ownership 49% owned by Cheil Worldwide
Key personnel Trevor Beattie, founding partner
  Andrew McGuinness, founding partner
  Bil Bungay, founding partner
  David Bain, planning partner
  Dan Gregson, managing director
Nielsen billings 2011 £79m
Nielsen billings 2010 £71m
Declared income £9.5m (2010)
Total accounts at year end 25
Accounts won 8 (biggest: Dairylea)
Accounts lost 1 (Carling)
Number of staff 102 (+11%)

Account wins were abundant and, following a low-key 2010, BMB picked up its game. After a tough start to 2011 (the shop's creative directors Ben Walker and Matt Gooden left after just a year), it came out fighting.

BMB launched itself into media and branded content. The agency initiated a media planning and buying division, BMB Media, in a joint venture with Goodstuff Communications, and it acquired the brand entertainment and experiential business Neon, renaming it BMB Neon. In addition, it launched an offering called BMB Ventures, which provides marketing advice to clients in return for equity in their businesses. Jay Pond-Jones, the TV producer, also joined as a creative director.

The shop was not only shaping itself into a more varied offering but attempting to create new revenue streams. It also moved to keep its staff motivated by making each employee a partner, receiving a percentage share of company profits.

The new wins included Digital Property Group, Pussy Drinks, Internet Explorer, Grolsch, Corona and Dairylea. However, one big disappointment was the end of the agency's partnership with Carling, which reviewed and went to VCCP.

BMB's creative output showed a marked improvement on previous years, with charming animated spots for ING Direct and McCain, and striking work for Pretty Polly featuring the singer Jessie J. But the creative highlight of the agency's year was the beautifully executed "quality time" work for Thomson.

BMB certainly has some new-found momentum behind it, though its myriad new ventures will have to prove their worth and utility this year. Undoubtedly, the agency is getting its mojo back, which should translate into some great new work.

Score last year: 5

How Beattie McGuinness Bungay rates itself: 8

"2011 was something of an Annus Fantabulous for us. The things that were sent to try us tried and failed and we all moved on. BMB feels like a start-up again. Everyone is now a partner and everyone now has a say and share in our future. Neon moved in. We all moved into our newly expanded space. And the best of our creativity moved big, grown adults to tears. Happy days."

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