School Reports 2014: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

The Guardian
The Guardian

Score: 8  Last year: 9

Reaching the dizzy heights of the previous two years (in which it was named Campaign’s Agency of the Year) was always going to be a challenge – and, though BBH fell a little short, the shop gave it a pretty good stab.

While 2013 started strongly and it looked suspiciously like becoming yet another BBH-shaped year, British Airways decided to toss a spanner in the turbo engine with its ad review. But more on that later.

And so the year began with a flurry of satisfying multimarket new-business wins including Pirelli, Clarks, Bang & Olufsen and the Mondelez International brand Philadelphia, as well as a glut of impressive domestic creative work for the likes of Robinsons, Weetabix, St John Ambulance and Tango. The death of the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in April allowed BBH to flex its creative muscles with a truthful and hard-hitting – yet poignant all the same – print ad for The Guardian, which helped the agency sweep the boards at the Campaign Big Awards 2013.  

There was also a raft of promotions, with David Kolbusz stepping up to deputy executive director, Mel Exon to chief digital officer and Jason Gonsalves and Jonathan Bottomley to joint chief strategy officers in acknowledgment of jobs done well. The Queen also took note, acknowledging Nigel Bogle’s achievements to advertising with a knighthood – meaning that BBH now has more KBEs than WPP.

Sadly – and inevitably – not everything went BBH’s way. BA’s decision to call a review as part of some quest for what looks like a mythical new agency model diverted time and resource from its otherwise well-oiled machine and put a bit of a dampener on festivities for the agency management. But they really should not let this detract too much from an otherwise typically excellent year.

How Bartle Bogle Hegarty rates itself: 9

Bartle Bogle Hegarty's year in a Tweet: In 2013 our work got better, our clients grew, and we grew too.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Type of agency Creative advertising
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Key personnel Jim Carroll chairman
Ben Fennell chief executive
Nick Gill executive creative director
Charlie Rudd managing director
David Kolbusz deputy executive creative director
Nielsen billings 2013 £230m
Nielsen billings 2012 £259m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 44
Accounts won 8 (biggest: Philadelphia)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 401 (-1%)

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.