School Reports 2014: Vizeum


Score: 6  Last year: 7

Vizeum is going through a period of transition under a new leadership team led by the respected Richard Morris. Last year must go down as a solid rather than outstanding 12 months.

It started strongly enough by being appointed by Burberry. The fashion brand proved to be the first of seven new accounts in 2013, which also include the high-profile clients More Th>n and Sonos. They joined a diverse portfolio of 40 accounts, often defined by the big spenders 20th Century Fox, Anheuser-Busch InBev and BMW. Two notable absentees from that list are Coca-Cola and Pernod Ricard, two of Vizeum’s most attractive clients, which were lost last year.

The agency is rightly proud of its creative recognition, with prizes in 2013 including a Cannes Lion for Kerry Foods, Best TV Innovation at the Thinkbox TV Planning Awards for 20th Century Fox, Print Campaign of the Year at the PPA Awards for Panasonic and the Chairman’s Award at the Creative Out of Home Awards for Mini.

Vizeum also deserves credit for its involvement in the first ad-tech incubator, The Bakery, and for connecting little-known tech start-ups such as LBM, InVibe and PlayCaptcha with some of its biggest clients, including Panasonic and Heinz. But for an agency that considers itself among the new generation of digitally led operations, it is perhaps surprising that  three-quarters of the media spend is tied up in traditional channels.

Perhaps Vizeum has suffered from being the smaller part of the Dentsu Aegis Network. It is hard to shine when sitting alongside digital trailblazers such as iProspect and Isobar, and the traditional powerhouse Carat.

Vizeum, which made its name for a planning-led offering, needs to reassert itself in 2014, and remind prospective clients and rival agencies alike of its USP.

How Vizeum rates itself: 7

Vizeum's year in a Tweet: Won Burberry and More Th>n. Cannes Lions, TV Innovation-Fox, Creative OOH-MINI. Connected our clients with tech startups through The Bakery

Type of agency Media planning and buying
Company ownership Dentsu Aegis Network
Key personnel Richard Morris managing director
Jo Sutherland chief operations officer
Ian Edwards managing partner, head of strategy
Ben Sutherland managing partner, head of performance
Simon Bevan managing partner, investment and buying
Nielsen billings 2013 £245m
Nielsen billings 2012 £228m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 40
Accounts won 7 (biggest: More Th>n)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Coca-Cola)
Traditional 74%
Digital 10%
Other 16%
Number of staff 125 (+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

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.