School Reports 2012: Partners Andrews Aldridge

In an otherwise pretty quiet year, the news in December that Phil Andrews would depart, 13 years after founding the agency, at least made it a historic one. In fairness, Andrews had long since been booted upstairs to join the multitude of Engine functionaries (what do they all do?), but his links to Partners Andrews Aldridge ran deep and it will doubtless seem a very different place without him.

Recent Rolls-Royce work
Recent Rolls-Royce work

Score: 6

Agency factfile: Partners Andrew Eldridge
Type of agency Communications
Company ownership Engine
Key personnel Steve Aldridge creative partner and chairman
  Martin Nieri chief executive
  Paul Snoxell creative director
  Richard Dunn head of planning
Nielsen billings 2011 £5m
Nielsen billings 2010 £11m
Declared income £11.2m (estimate)
Total accounts at year end 18
Accounts won 3 (biggest: Wickes)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 109 (-9%)

Fortunately - and either by luck or design - earlier in the year Martin Nieri, the managing director of CMW London, had been lured to PAA as its chief executive. So, in management terms at least, the transition process will hopefully have been quite smooth.

PAA's new-business efforts started strongly but tailed off. Its success in winning the digital and DM account for Wickes, which was previously handled in-house, was a triumph but, for most of the rest of the year, its foot seemed to be off the gas. A project for existing client BMW and work for Samsung aside, the cupboard seemed pretty bare. And although it found itself on the O2 pitch, it was ultimately unsuccessful.

Perhaps more importantly, its client retention efforts were exemplary - it successfully defended the global integrated Rolls-Royce business and lost no accounts.

Its work for Rolls-Royce provides a real creative highlight - of particular note was an art collaboration with Rankin, which took 100 images to mark the centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy on a world tour. The rest seemed to disappear beneath the radar.

When Nieri joined, he said his focus was on boosting the new-business presence. The industry will be following this promise closely in 2012.

Score last year: 6

How Partners Andrews Aldridge rates itself: 7

"2011 was all about focusing on the future for Partners Andrews Aldridge. Nothing signals intent like a major hiring; with Martin Nieri joining as our new chief executive in November, we have secured one of the sharpest brains in the business. Our digital portfolio expanded without compromising our reputation for beautifully crafted ideas. And our work extended from an ultra-luxury collaboration with Rankin to a hand-made digital initiative that got post-riot London supporting local shops."

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