School Reports 2013: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

The Guardian
The Guardian

Score: 9  Last year: 9

Bartle Bogle Hegarty had a momentous 2012, ceding full control to Publicis Groupe and cementing its great status in the advertising world with its 30th anniversary. Clutching a fantastic reel, it also took the world’s major advertising festivals by storm.

The performance of Campaign’s Agency of the Year in 2012 was doubly impressive given that it was the second time in successive years that it landed the accolade. BBH’s work last year was inspired – from The Guardian’s "three little pigs" spot, which won two gold Lions, to irreverent Lynx activity that created a buzz outside of conventional media channels.

Its brilliant campaign for Lynx Anarchy also picked up the UK’s sole Grand Prix at Cannes (in the Creative Effectiveness category). Other creative highlights included "the swan", a charming film for Audi; a dramatic St John Ambulance spot; humorous Weetabix ads; and striking British Airways work. BBH also created an impactful film starring the make-up artist Lauren Luke for Refuge, which resulted in donations to the charity doubling.

The agency strengthened its creative department, led by Nick Gill, by promoting the creative director on the Guardian "three little pigs" spot, David Kolbusz, to the role of deputy creative director.

BBH, led by the chief executive, Ben Fennell, had a 70 per cent pitch conversion rate and acquired some sought-after new clients. It lost Persil and Kronenbourg 1664, but its wins included the RAC’s £12 million business after a pitch against the incumbent, Rapier, Grey, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and Saatchi & Saatchi. BBH also landed the global Old El Paso and Huawei accounts, each worth £25 million, and a significant chunk of the Dove Men+Care global business out of Ogilvy & Mather.

The agency can be immensely proud of its 2012 and faces a new era under the full control of Publicis Groupe and with the founders Sir John Hegarty and Nigel Bogle planning their exits. But BBH’s distinct culture, creative excellence and stalwart management leave it well set for another rewarding 12 months.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Key personnel Jim Carroll chairman
Ben Fennell chief executive
Nick Gill executive creative director
Charlie Rudd managing director
Jon Peppiatt deputy chairman
Nielsen billings 2012 £250m
Nielsen billings 2011 £210m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 40
Accounts won 4 (biggest: Huawei)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Persil)
Number of staff 407 (+4.9%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

How BBH rates itself: 8

"At 30, BBH is immaturing with age. Our founding belief in the power of creativity and the primacy of the idea has never felt more relevant or true. Thanks to our staff and clients for a very special year."