School Reports 2013: CHI & Partners

The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times

Score: 6  Last year: 7

CHI & Partners expanded its global reach, was feted on the awards circuit and helped out a friend in need, but could have done with a few more headline-grabbing new-business wins in 2012.

The agency received a major boost towards the end of the year when it expanded its global network to Asia by forming a joint venture with its sister WPP network Bates Asia, adding 14 Asian offices to CHI & Partners’ global presence, which comprises its London and New York operations.

CHI & Partners’ founding partner, Johnny Hornby, who masterminded the Bates deal, also came to the rescue of his friend Jonathan Stead in 2012 after Rapier went into administration. Stead’s brand was resuscitated following CHI & Partners Holdings’ decision to take a stake in "Rapier Mark II".

The agency’s work performed well on the international stage, and it was the only UK shop to win gold Lions in the Outdoor category at Cannes for its striking Sunday Times Rich List work, which also went on to land two golds at the Campaign Big Awards. In addition, CHI & Partners’ British Gas campaign won gold at the IPA Effectiveness Awards.

However, The Times and Pfizer accounts departed after a pitch and the agency didn’t quite make up for its losses, failing to convert the bigger pitches it competed in such as The Co-operative and Kronenbourg 1664. But there were successes, including Jack Wills’ and Coutts’ global advertising business, and the charity Adopt A Better Way.

Other than its Sunday Times campaign, the agency’s most notable creative output included another finely crafted TalkTalk campaign, some impactful British Gas work and a charming spot for It should hope that 2013 will bring some big account wins and another stream of standout creative.

CHI & Partners
Type of agency Full service
Company ownership Independent (minority stake WPP)
Key personnel Johnny Hornby founding partner
Sarah Golding chief executive
Nick Howarth chief executive
Jonathan Burley executive creative director
Neil Goodlad chief strategy officer
Nielsen billings 2012 £184m
Nielsen billings 2011 £167m
Declared income £31m (2011)
Total accounts at year end 25
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Samsung)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: The Times)
Number of staff 269 (+11%)

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 CHI & Partners rates itself: 7

"Our most creatively awarded year to date. Golds, Silvers, Grand Prix at every awards show from D&AD to Cannes, Campaign Big to IPA. Lovely and effective work across the board and in every channel for the Times, Talk Talk, Argos, MySupermarket, Princes Trust and British Gas. And with the year ending on a flurry of global new business wins and 14 new offices in Asia, we think we’ve had a pretty fine 2012 indeed."