School Reports 2014: Adam & Eve/DDB


Score: 9  Last year: n/a

There were plenty of highlights in Adam & Eve/DDB’s first full year of trading as a merged entity. Whatever management tinkering had been going on in the months since the May 2012 merger, the shop was already reaping rewards.

James Murphy’s clear-out of the DDB dead wood, along with the departure of its former chief executive (and, more recently, Adam & Eve/DDB’s chairman) Stephen Woodford, seemed to cause minimal ripples among existing clients – contradicting those who thought that mixing the two cultures would be like combining oil and water or, even worse, lead to a Dare/MCBD-style meltdown.

Indeed, such was the smoothness of the process (from the outside, at least) that the agency came racing out of the traps in the hunt for new business and, on the whole, was successful in its quest. Most notable among the new-business wins were SSE and Sony Mobile, while it must have been particularly satisfying to retain the Flora account – for which Adam & Eve/DDB later instigated a creative reboot. Not everything went the agency’s way, though, and there was inevitable frustration when it failed to wheedle Morrisons from DLKW Lowe.

On the creative floor, Ben Priest’s fingerprints were all over the work, which included some of the most talked-about ads of the year – away from the obvious and expected (John Lewis), spots for Marmite and Phones 4u showed an agency at the top of its game. Furthermore, David Golding’s role in the agency was vindicated by the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix at Cannes for John Lewis.

With this formula for success, it’s little wonder that Adam & Eve/DDB was such a close runner for Campaign’s Advertising Agency of the Year title in 2013.

How Adam & Eve/DDB rates itself: 8

Adam & Eve/DDB's year in a Tweet: Creativity that made clients famous. Effectiveness that made competitors envious. A good first year for a new agency. Plenty still to do.

Adam & Eve/DDB
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership Omnicom
Key personnel James Murphy chief executive
David Golding chief strategy officer
Ben Priest executive creative director
Jon Forsyth chief communications strategy officer
Nielsen billings 2013 £218m
Nielsen billings 2012 £256m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 33
Accounts won 4 (biggest: SSE)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Benecol – resigned)
Number of staff 248 (+22%)

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.