School Reports 2013: Proximity London

Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble

Score: 6  Last year: 7

While Proximity London didn’t cause a splash in 2012, it remained a stable shop that improved its creative offering. The year was characterised by putting the right measures and people in place, rather than winning big accounts.

Despite losing its head of planning and digital, Mark Iremonger, after six years to the social media agency iCrossing, it went on to hire Garbrielle Moss as the deputy managing director and its first chief innovation officer. Moss was subsequently promoted to the role of managing director after the departure of Chris Slough, who left the agency in early 2013 to join Iris.

Despite being one of the biggest agencies in the sector, Proximity London didn’t make much of a mark on the new-business front and missed out on scooping the whopping £50 million Department of Health direct marketing account.

However, the agency managed to land five new accounts, with its biggest win coming from the pregnancy and fertility brand Clearblue –winning the global digital account from Arc Worldwide. It also extended existing relationships with clients including Kraft Foods and Lloyds TSB.

Work highlights included activity for Procter & Gamble’s Mums On A Mission app on Facebook, which asked mothers what they did every day and enabled them to write to-do lists to share with others, and its Philadelphia work for Kraft.

The two campaigns resulted in Proximity landing four accolades at the 2012 DMA Awards, making it the second-most-awarded agency behind OgilvyOne.

2012 proved a solid year for Proximity London. While it won more accounts than in 2011, it failed to create a stir in the market. Its task is to combine its improved creativity with the new-business success of previous years. This might not be such an easy task following the 2013 departure of its executive creative director, Caitlin Ryan, to join Karmarama.

Proximity London
Type of agency Direct and digital
Company ownership Proximity Worldwide and BBDO
Key personnel Mike Dodds chief executive
Lou Barber chairman
Caitlin Ryan executive creative director (outgoing)
Gabrielle Moss managing director
Nielsen billings 2012 £16m
Nielsen billings 2011 £34m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 51
Accounts won 5 (biggest: Clearblue)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 234 (nominal 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

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

How Proximity London rates itself: 8

"In 2012 we won even more DMAs, Bigs, Echos and Caples. We added five new digital clients, which contributed to 9% growth, we invested in new senior digital and planning talent and 2013 starts off the back of straight pitch wins, with a great team, more clients and even better work in the pipeline."