School Reports 2014: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO


Score: 8  Last year: 8

Like the crowd at a gig by the Doritos mariachi band, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO would not stand still in 2013. The Gunn Report named it the UK’s most-awarded agency for digital in 2012 – reflecting the evolution of the shop into non-traditional areas. The innovations team continued its move into intellectual property by creating products for clients, including a dashboard for Mercedes-Benz. AMV’s bold Christmas campaign for Sainsbury’s pulled away from the pack – the Oscar-winning Kevin Macdonald directed a user-generated documentary about the Christmas experience, accompanied by a standout series of ads.

The creative bar was raised for other clients too, and AMV was one of Campaign’s runners-up for Advertising Agency of the Year. It picked up seven Cannes Lions, with work for Eurostar, a new client, and Whiskas notably strong.

Account losses were not insubstantial: the £7 million Gillette business left as part of a global pitch, AMV declined to repitch for East Coast and Iglo departed when the company consolidated across Europe. More painful still was the demise of the BlackBerry account – one of the agency’s biggest clients.

The losses were, to some extent, balanced out by wins including some SCA brands and the Guinness African business to add to its UK work. AMV also took over the entire Department for Transport account that was previously shared with Leo Burnett. Best of all, in early 2014, it won the pitch for the £48 million Dixons brief.

The management team is firmly bedded in and AMV again mobilised its flair for succession management (the chief executive, Ian Pearman, started as a graduate trainee). It promoted Paul Brazier to chairman and chief creative officer, while the creative partners Alex Grieve and Adrian Rossi stepped up to become executive creative directors. Less welcome was the departure of the head of creative innovation, Thiago de Moraes, to Droga5 London – but it wasn’t enough to rock the sturdy ship that proves big doesn’t have to mean bland.

How Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO rates itself: 8

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's year in a Tweet: I*\0/* #AMVBBDO #UKsNo1fordigital #plentytocheerabout

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership Omnicom (BBDO Worldwide)
Key personnel Ian Pearman chief executive
Paul Brazier chairman and chief creative officer
Richard Arscott managing director
Craig Mawdsley joint chief strategic officer
Bridget Angear joint chief strategic officer
Nielsen billings 2013 £452m
Nielsen billings 2012 £471m
Declared income £63.5m (2012)
Total accounts at year end 54
Accounts won 7 (biggest: SCA)
Accounts lost 3 (biggest: Gillette)
Number of staff 435 (-3%)

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.