School Reports 2013: ZenithOptimedia


Score: 4  Last year: 7

By any standards, ZenithOptimedia’s 2012 was not a vintage year.

Accounts tumbled like skittles in the alley in the backroom of a pub. Among these were the £40 million B&Q, £20 million Associated British Foods and £5million Butlins accounts,

as well as the HTC global business, worth £10 million in the UK. It picked up some odds and ends, including the Giorgio Armani business and the Royal Bank of Scotland digital account (including NatWest), but nothing sufficient to remedy the yawning hole left by the aforementioned losses.

Zenith Media also lost its managing director, Stephen Farquhar, who decided to work in a different time zone and take on the role of managing director of Zenith China. His position had not been filled by the end of the year. However, the chief executive, Gerry Boyle, was promoted to global managing partner and UK chairman. Tim Hipperson, the outgoing chief executive of the digital and direct agency G2 Joshua, was announced as his successor as the UK chief executive at the turn of the year.

ZenithOptimedia’s losses are, however, not indicative of an agency on a permanent downward spiral. Certainly, 2012 was a difficult year for the agency, but it is strong and will no doubt bounce back in 2013 once it picks up some fresh business. Surely, this will be Hipperson’s focus when he steps through the door in April.

Type of agency Media planning and buying
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Key personnel Gerry Boyle chief executive
Tim Neligan chief operating officer
Mark Howley managing director, Optimedia
Chris Hayward head of investment
Nielsen billings 2012 £698m
Nielsen billings 2011 £713m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 205
Accounts won 8 (biggest: Giorgio Armani)
Accounts lost 7 (biggest: B&Q)
TV 51%
Press 18%
Outdoor 6%
Radio 2%
Search 6%
Display 5%
Sponsorship 5%
Cinema 1%
Other 6%
Number of staff 395 (+2%)

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 ZenithOptimedia rates itself: 6

"In 2012 we launched our new Live ROI agency proposition, launched performance media division Performics, and established Live Academy our digital training programme for all employees and clients. Investment in Newcast, our content division, has continued apace securing the Coronation Street sponsorship for We continue to be proud of our Talent strategy, recently being awarded Investors in People Gold – the only top 10 media agency to have achieved this."