School Reports 2013: Mcgarrybowen

Honda CR-V
Honda CR-V

Score: 6  Last year: 5

The rebranding of Dentsu London as Mcgarrybowen appeared to give the agency momentum and confidence during 2012 as the small shop went on a strong new-business run and achieved some kind of consistent form.

Announced in March 2012, the name change went live in May and provided Mcgarrybowen with the first European outpost in its nascent network. It also heralded a period of several months when the energised agency went on to win four major accounts.

Its first triumph came in July with the £25 million pan-European Honda CR-V account. This was followed by two November wins from Mondelez International, in the shape of its European Tassimo and Toblerone businesses, while the agency also bagged the ad account from the Miracle-Gro brand owner, Scotts.

This marked an impressive new-business run from an agency that, as Dentsu London, had rarely troubled the new-business league tables.

In management terms, Ida Rezvani continues to run the London shop as the managing director and the executive creative directors, Paul Jordan and Angus Macadam, settled into their roles having joined from Wieden & Kennedy the previous year. It also hired Alex Light, the former head of client services at Poke, as the head of integration.

However, Beeker Northam, the strategy director, opted not to return after maternity leave and Lori Meakin, her maternity cover, left to become a founder of Joint. In February 2013, the agency hired Kevin Chesters from Wieden & Kennedy to fill the role permanently.

Jim Kelly, the chairman, announced in December that he planned to leave the agency in March 2013 – an indication, he said, that the transition from Dentsu to Mcgarrybowen had been completed more quickly than anticipated. Nonetheless, his wise head and strong leadership would be a loss to any agency.

Having adopted the Mcgarrybowen "work that works" mantra, the agency created impressive campaigns for Canon, but the debut work for Honda, to put it midly, divided opinion.

Mcgarrybowen won’t need a miracle to grow during 2013. A continued emphasis on new-business plus impressive work for the clients that it won in 2012 should do the trick nicely.

Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Dentsu
Key personnel Jim Kelly chairman (outgoing)
Ida Rezvani managing director
Paul Jordan executive creative director
Angus Macadam executive creative director
Nielsen billings 2012 £14m
Nielsen billings 2011 £14m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 10
Accounts won 4 (biggest: Tassimo)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 47 (no change)

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 McGarrybowen rates itself: 7

"We became the first international office of Mcgarrybowen in May 2012 and got off to a great start. Three months in we won Honda CR-V after a 6-way pitch. We went on to win Scotts, Toblerone and Tassimo. We’ve launched campaigns for Canon, Honda and Wallpaper. We bolstered our talent with a new Head of Integration. 2013 will be about keeping up the momentum and delivering new work across our new clients."