School Reports 2013: Carat


Score: 6  Last year: 8

Carat is an agency that is changing and 2012 provided further evidence that it has been set on the right path by Tracy De Groose, who was promoted to chief executive in October. The agency picked up awards for work it had created for and Gordon’s, and it executed an impactful media strategy for its Olympic sponsor Adidas in a sports-packed year.

This took place at a time of comprehensive change at the Aegis headquarters. De Groose invested in key hires including the chief strategy officer, Matthew Hook. Stuart Newman was poached from Vizeum while Carat’s deputy managing director, Richard Morris, went the other way.

Carat’s London office seems to profit from the Aegis operating model, helped by the fact that it has had its first full year being housed in the same building as its sister agencies Vizeum, iProspect and Glue Isobar.

In autumn, the agency suffered the loss of Johnson & Johnson and Beiersdorf as part of European reviews. J&J alone carried £38 million in UK billings. Carat also lost the Arcadia and Travelodge accounts. Positive new-business stories came with the retention of General Motors at the start of 2012 and the capture of the £35 million Pringles pan-European account after its acquisition by the Carat client Kellogg.

More broadly, Carat created a buzz around its brand and culture with several new initiatives. Moreover, its investment in content paid dividends with "the truth" online film for Bodyform capturing a sizeable audience.

Carat needs to continue on this path of innovation if it is to stand out during 2013.

Type of agency Media
Company ownership Aegis Media
Key personnel Tracy De Groose chief executive
Matthew Hook chief strategy officer
Jo Allan chief client officer
Richard Sexton chief operating officer
Stuart Newman head of marketing and new business
Nielsen billings 2012 £870m
Nielsen billings 2011 £841m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 230
Accounts won 34 (biggest: Pringles)
Accounts lost 4 (biggest: Johnson & Johnson)
TV 51%
Press 17%
Outdoor 6%
Radio 5%
Search/digital performance 5%
Digital display 10%
Other 6%
Number of staff 541 (+5%)

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

How Carat rates itself: 8

"In 2012, Carat made record levels of investment in people. We launched 40 culture initiatives including a new learning and development programme. We recognised talent we already had – promoting a quarter of the agency – while also recruiting a new senior management tier. Our investment in people resulted in outstanding work, with a record number of awards won (more than 35 in total) and one of the most talked about campaigns of the year: 'Bodyform: The Truth'."


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