School Reports 2012: McCann Erickson

McCann Erickson was accused of being asleep in its last school report. In 2011, despite some high-profile hirings and a fair bit of strategic prodding, the London office arguably didn't quite rouse itself.

Recent American Airlines work
Recent American Airlines work

Score: 4

Agency factfile: McCann Erickson
Type of agency Creative communications agency
Company ownership Interpublic Group of Companies
Key personnel Chris Macdonald chief executive
  Nikki Crumpton chief strategy officer
  Linus Karlsson chairman and chief creative officer
  Nick Constantinou managing director
Nielsen billings 2011 £309m
Nielsen billings 2010 £293m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 113
Accounts won 6 (biggest: HTC)
Accounts lost 4 (biggest: Nescafe)
Number of staff n/s

Despite announcing at the end of 2010 that it was planning to bring in an executive creative director, no such hiring was made. Linus Karlsson is officially the chief creative officer of the New York and London offices, but how that works in practice is hard to fathom.

The agency's ambitions (or, more accurately, those of Nick Brien, McCann Worldgroup's chairman and chief executive) are laudable, and hirings such as Matias Palm-Jensen, the chief innovation officer for Europe, show it is set on producing more exciting work.

At the beginning of 2011, the London offering was pulled together with McCann Erickson, MRM, McCann Healthcare and Momentum in a new Worldgroup structure under the chairmanship of Chris Macdonald, with Nikki Crumpton taking on a group strategic role.

The London office was also boosted by McCann Worldgroup's acquisition of the interactive design agency AllofUs. In addition, McCann acquired the DM shop Meteorite and merged it with MRM London.

Amid all of the internal restructuring, though, there was fallout. McCann lost its HTC pan-European business to Mother after just five months. Nescafe went to Publicis after a pitch, bringing a 25-year relationship to an end. Weight Watchers, for which McCann was a roster agency, also moved after pitching its consolidated business. McCann's most notable win was Saga's ad account, which it has since lost to VCCP.

The work doesn't seem to have turned a corner just yet, with the exception of some standout American Airlines spots starring Kevin Spacey. Hopefully we'll see a new McCann London in 2012, perhaps even with its very own executive creative director at the helm.

Score last year: 5

How McCann Erickson rates itself: 6

"2011 was a year of transition: the focus on restructuring the agency to be more integrated and provide more services for clients; notably in creative technology and through the acquisition of AllofUs. Highlights: the multi-award-winning Kingmaker Xbox mobile game, increased social media projects (L'Oreal) and our work for the 2012 Olympics with spectacular results for our Volunteering, Ticketing and the Paralympics campaigns. We enter 2012 with lots of pitches and new talent joining."

Return to the School Reports 2012 A-Z directory


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