School Reports 2013: McCann London

Sony Mobile
Sony Mobile

Score: 4  Last year: 4

McCann issued its Christmas cards extremely early last year – before Halloween, in fact. Why? Because it said it was "keener than ever to deliver" in 2012. The agency may have been keen, but in new-business or creative terms, it didn’t quite hit its stride.

The agency did finally get round to filling the executive creative director role (which had been vacant for a year-and-a-half). The hiring, of the Wieden & Kennedy creative duo Rob Doubal and Lolly Thomson, was a welcome one. But, as the agency had previously been rudderless creatively and in such need of a turnaround, the pair will need some time to fully make their mark. Another new face was Dan Izbicki, drafted in from VCCP to replace the head of planning, Jon Tipple, who moved to the sister agency FutureBrand.

The biggest dent in McCann’s billings in 2012 was the loss of its £40 million B&Q account – the business went to Karmarama after a review and McCann pulled out of the process midway through. Throughout the year, the agency made its way on to quite a few pitchlists, but the conversion rate was poor. There were some wins, such as the global account for Kaspersky Lab and a few new Premier Foods brands (including Loyd Grossman and Batchelors) after the company consolidated its advertising into McCann and JWT.

But there were some misses. Its network made a quick exit from the global HSBC pitch and it competed for Carling’s UK ad account towards the end of the year, but didn’t convert.

The work – aside from some decent spots for its new global client, Sony Mobile, a creative Microsoft app and a nice B&Q Christmas spot – didn’t set many pulses racing. Let’s hope that, after the dramatic reshuffle at the top of the McCann network, the London office will have solid support in 2013, get some sharper work out and bag some new clients.

McCann London
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Interpublic
Key personnel Chris Macdonald chief executive
Nikki Crumpton chief strategy officer
Rob Doubal executive creative director
Lolly Thomson executive creative director
Jamie Copas chief operating officer
Nielsen billings 2012 £276m
Nielsen billings 2011 £311m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 116
Accounts won 5 (biggest: Sony Mobile)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: B&Q)
Number of staff n/s

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 McCann London rates itself: 6

"2012 was a ‘coming back’ year for McCann – big new clients in Sony Mobile and Kaspersky, new brands from the Premier Foods stable, and new ECDs and a new Head of Planning joining in May. We invented the new brand of the year when we turned volunteers into Games Makers, won awards for work on Xbox, LOCOG, American Airlines and the i newspaper, and closed the year with real momentum in winning Harrods’ global account."