School Reports 2012: HMDG

Minor celebrities should hope that HMDG has an epic 2012.

Recent HMDG work - Harveys
Recent HMDG work - Harveys

Score: 6

Agency fact file: HMDG
Type of agency Full-service advertising and communications
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Nick Hurrell account handling partner
  Neil Dawson planning partner
  Greg Grimmer media partner
  Paul Shearer creative partner
Nielsen billings 2011 £28m
Nielsen billings 2010 £14m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 11
Accounts won 7 (biggest: Harveys)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Auto Trader)
Number of staff 36 (+20%)

Last year, the agency introduced David Hasselhoff into its campaign for Clinton Cards, Emma Forbes as the face of Rachel's Dairy and Katy Wix from the sitcom Not Going Out to front its Harveys commercials.

Joanna Page continued to spearhead HMDG's Superdrug campaign, so the likes of Robbie Savage and Stacey Solomon could expect to benefit from an agency that is unafraid of injecting a dose of hearty populism into its films.

It's an approach that has paid off for HMDG as it gained momentum during 2011 with 11 new-business wins, including the £16 million Harveys account. Other gains included Nike, Karcher and Sliderobes.

However, the new-business door was a revolving one and the agency lost two significant chunks of business - Auto Trader to Glue Isobar and to VCCP.

In November, HMDG celebrated its fifth anniversary and while the slick account handler Nick Hurrell and planning brains Neil Dawson have been constants in the HMDG line-up, it has had a conveyor belt of creative leaders - Al Moseley was replaced by John Messum, who then left in June to be replaced by Paul Shearer, the former creative director of Arnold KLP Europe.

Shearer has introduced an element of creative spark on projects for the peace organisation International Alert and Nike, for which it created an online film to launch one of its shoes.

Last year saw a healthy 20 per cent increase in staff, with appointments including the marketing director, Lisa Rokny, who will look to push new-business performance during 2012. Otherwise, HMDG should seek to build the volume of its more innovative work and be more forward-thinking in its approach to emerging channels. The partner Greg Grimmer has made a good start on this, but it could be pushed further.

Score last year: 6

How HMDG rates itself: n/s

"In 2011, we welcomed Paul Shearer. Harveys and Nike followed soon after. Paul also directed our work for Nike, Sliderobes, and International Alert. We grew our billings and our staff, and consequently have enjoyed our most successful year to date. We wish Auto Trader well, and are proud of our role in their transformation from magazine to digital superbrand. Our new-business pipeline and our reel are stronger than ever as we enter 2012."

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