School Reports 2012: Grey London

Grey London had the chance last year to show that its management team has effected an impressive turnaround.

Recent work from Grey London - Lucozade
Recent work from Grey London - Lucozade

Score: 6

Agency fact file: Grey London
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership WPP
Key personnel Chris Hirst chief executive
  Nils Leonard executive creative director
  Simon White joint managing director, head of planning
  Hugo Feiler joint managing director, head of client services
Nielsen billings 2011 £136m
Nielsen billings 2010 £134m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 18
Accounts won 2 (biggest: Vodafone Ireland)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 195 (+17%)

The shop was able to concentrate on getting work out of the door after shoring up its new business in 2010.

Overall, Grey managed to demonstrate a creative spark. Lucozade was its success story of the year. The agency's campaign for the brand was ambitious in scope and gave it some much-needed differentiation and a renewed appeal to a younger audience in a very competitive market.

For Lucozade's breakout spot, Grey assembled the rapper Tinie Tempah, Blink-182's drummer, Travis Barker, and the boxer Katie Taylor. The combination proved to be a winner and the follow-up spots cemented the brand's association with music. The track on the TV ad for the Sport Lite variant, which was released by the Ministry of Sound, charted at number one.

Other notable work included a charming campaign for Clover Lighter that featured an elderly choir. In addition, Grey's first creative output for Sony involved an ambitious CGI spot that aired in both 2D and 3D worldwide.

Grey also won the advertising account for Vodafone Ireland at the beginning of the year and picked up Greene King's creative business after a pitch.

To boost digital credentials, Ivan Palmer, the managing partner of the Grey-owned social media agency Social Partners, and Craig Morgan, the digital director, were promoted to the board. However, Grey lost its chief strategy officer, Neil Hourston, who left to launch the start-up The Corner.

In all, though, 2011 was a solid year that showed a marked improvement on the work and an agency that lost its way some years ago continue to head in the right direction.

Score last year: 7

How Grey London rates itself: 7

"Bedding in our ten new-business wins. The year of Lucozade 'yes'. Three films. Fourteen-million YouTube views. Louder UK number-one single. Highest pre-order in iTunes history. 2.1 million new customers. Shortlisted for Campaign and Advertiser of the Year. Hyper Island. Vodafone Ireland and Greene King wins. One year on, still winning awards for The Angina Monologues. Our first 'FWA' for Country Life Picnic app. Twelve-thousand people 'like' a buttery spread on Facebook. Euro Effie for Pantene."

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