School Reports 2013: MediaCom


Score: 8  Last year: 6

The largest media agency in the UK had a strong year in 2012. Client retention was exceedingly high, which, given that it has 328 accounts, is no mean feat. The agency claimed 29 wins and, while many were small brand names, its more significant account captures included the £15 million Quality Solicitors for MediaCom Edinburgh, Nuffield Health and Goodyear Dunlop.

MediaCom’s only notable losses were some regional work for Specsavers and the investment company M&G, which spent £3 million on media.

Management-wise, the ship was steady and ably steered by the chief executive, Karen Blackett, the managing director, Claudine Collins, and the chief strategy officer, Sue Unerman, with the chairman, Jane Ratcliffe, also remaining hands-on. The all-female cast became a little more gender representative when Josh Krichefski moved from MediaCom EMEA to UK in January as the chief operating officer.

In 2012, MediaCom delivered award-wining work for a range of clients that resulted in it scooping the Grand Prix for the most-awarded agency at the Campaign Media Awards.

Work highlights included Papa’s Big Tomato Challenge, where Dolmio encouraged families and Scout groups to grow their own tomatoes, and a partnership between Nikon Coolpix cameras, Channel 4 and Asda that saw Nikon double its market share.

While retention is hard for the agency because of the size of its client base, growing the business through account wins is even more difficult. But MediaCom generated £46 million in organic billings growth as well as an estimated £80 million in new business across the UK network. Continued growth on this level would be welcome.

Type of agency Media planning and buying
Company ownership WPP
Key personnel Karen Blackett chief executive
Josh Krichefski chief operating officer
Sue Unerman chief strategy officer
Jane Ratcliffe chairman
Claudine Collins managing director
Nielsen billings 2012 £1,142m
Nielsen billings 2011 £1,258m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 328
Accounts won 29 (biggest: Quality Solicitors)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: M&G)
TV 35.3%
Press 21.2%
Outdoor 6.6%
Radio 4.5%
Search 5.5%
Other (including digital and fees) 26.9%
Number of staff 838 (+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

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

How MediaCom rates itself: 7

"We embraced creativity. Everyone had creativity training, helping us to our best ever awards hoard: 4 Media Week awards, 4 Campaign Media Awards, plus the Grand Prix.  We loved our clients, we won £80.1m of new clients, and generated £46m from organic growth. We widened our talent pool, we launched an Apprenticeship programme -  an industry first.  We continued to evolve the idea of a media agency. We restructured our Investment team - improving integration."