School Reports 2013: Lida


Score: 8  Last year: 9

Lida started off 2012 reasonably quietly after the agency opted to shut its doors to new business following the capture of the mammoth O2 direct marketing account at the end of 2011.

However, by April, Lida could not resist the new-business trail and, by the end of the year, it had picked up new accounts from InterContinental Hotels Group, the National Trust and Virgin Holidays after several rounds of pitches.

2012 was also a good year for Lida creatively, which saw it deliver top-notch work for clients such as O2, Boots and Ikea, with whom it extended its relationship to include strategy and creative work across Ikea Business.

On the downside, Lida lost its iShares account and its long-standing Mini direct marketing business to Iris. It also resigned the Carphone Warehouse account.

The agency’s work resulted in two golds at the DMA Awards for Ikea and Mini, and three in-book awards at D&AD in the Direct category – more than any other UK direct agency.

But it wasn’t all great news for Lida in 2012. The agency lost its impressive chief executive, Mel Cruickshank, mid-year. Cruickshank, who was poached by Wunderman, had provided strong leadership, but the agency reacted quickly by promoting the chief strategy officer, Matthew Heath, to the position of chairman.

On the back of the O2 win, the agency added 42 staff in its creative and account management departments to reach a headcount of 163.

Early in 2013, Lida hired Victoria Fox, the Adam & Eve/DDB managing partner, as its managing director, completing its management line-up. Following this move, the year ahead can be faced with optimism.

Type of agency Direct marketing
Company ownership M&C Saatchi
Key personnel Lisa Thomas founder
Matthew Heath chairman and chief strategy officer
Nicky Bullard creative director
Declared income £13.1m
Total accounts at year end 19
Accounts won 3 (biggest: Virgin Holidays)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Carphone Warehouse)
Number of staff 163 (+28%)

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 Lida rates itself: 8

"We had a record annual profit growth of 96% and a staff growth rate of 28%, not to mention winning 27 accolades across seven clients, with three in-book at D&AD in the Direct category, more than any other UK Direct agency. We’ve grown existing business with Boots and Ikea but also pitched and won National Trust and Virgin Holidays (despite closing doors to new business for Q1)."