School Reports 2014: MEC UK


Score: 7  Last year: 7

MEC showed its mettle in the second half of 2012 by bringing in big clients such as Kingfisher, Johnson & Johnson and Beiersdorf. It was always going to be difficult to keep up the momentum in 2013, and there were fewer big headlines. Indeed, the largest new client was Mecca Bingo. Its £5 million in billings is hardly going to touch the sides amid MEC’s massive collective haul from other clients.

Yet MEC came close to winning the utility company SSE’s media, losing out to OMD UK in the final round. The agency held on to its Danone account as part of Group M’s capture of the European business, and MEC should be commended for the lack of a media pitch from Morrisons. Moreover, the agency’s work for the supermarket landed a number of awards. MEC also brought back the lauded "Stoptober" for Public Health England.

On a personnel level, Steve Hatch, MEC’s astute chief executive, is moving on. In April 2014, he will join Facebook as its first regional director for the UK and Ireland.

In early 2014, his role was shared between Stuart Bowden and Jason Dormieux, while other promotions were handed out to the senior team.

This strength in depth is undoubtedly one of the qualities of MEC and, while it continues to produce good work, 2013 was not, by its own standards, its best-ever year. Yet it could have done a lot worse and is still one of the best media agencies in the UK. With the full force of Hatch’s departure yet to be fully felt, it will be fascinating to see how 2014 plays out, given how central he was to success. A couple of headline-grabbing wins, and some more innovative work, and 2014 could see MEC on the up again.

How MEC UK rates itself: 7

MEC UK's year in a Tweet: @MECideas @MECaccess @MECmanchester @MEC_Grads @MECsocial @MEC_Performance Thank you. Bring on 2014. #dontjustlivethrive

Type of agency Media
Company ownership WPP
Key personnel Tom George chairman
Stuart Sullivan-Martin chief strategy officer
Jason Dormieux chief operating officer
Stuart Bowden managing director
Sarah Hennessy deputy managing director
Nielsen billings 2013 £705m
Nielsen billings 2012 £656m
Declared income £46.4m (2012)
Total accounts at year end 218
Accounts won 10 (biggest: Mecca Bingo)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Ferrero)
Traditional 71%
Digital 25%
Other 4%
Number of staff 480 (+4%)

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.