School Reports 2015: BETC London


Score: 3  Last year: 4

BETC London staggered into 2014 with a new management team tasked with steadying an agency seriously unsettled by overinflated egos, personality clashes and shock departures.

What had begun so well when BETC London launched in 2011 as the first stage in BETC Paris’ move to become a credible global player began to struggle as a result of a big-time fallout between Matthew Charlton and Neil Dawson, the chief executive and executive creative director respectively.  In January came the announcement that the pair were leaving with immediate effect.

Despite having led the agency to wins including the global Bacardi business and Diet Coke in Europe, a string of unsuccessful pitches was causing concerns in Paris that the London office was no longer cutting the mustard, and that the acrimony between Charlton and Dawson was exacerbating the situation. "It became worse and worse," Rémi Babinet, BETC’s founder and chairman, later told Campaign. "I had to make a fast and clear decision."

Today, it is down to Andrew Stirk, the agency’s former planning chief turned chief executive, and Rosie Bardales, once of Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam and now its executive creative director, to get BETC London’s mojo back.

The pair’s priorities are to consolidate and grow existing business, raise creative standards (such as with Ibis) by investing in creative talent and develop its integrated offering. Hirings include the senior creative team of Ash Ghazali and Jon Kallus from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, as well as AKQA’s Nat Cantor and Neil Gurr. They are joined by the experienced Kate Blumer as the director of creative services.

Having spent a year regrouping, BETC London must now show it can get back to winning ways. Growing relationships with existing clients is fine, but nothing builds morale and reputation like chalking up some high-profile wins.

How the agency scores itself: 7

How the agency rates itself: 2014 was an important year for BETC London. We started with three priorities: 1) consolidate and grow existing business; 2) reinvest in creative talent to extend the range of services we offer and raise the creative bar; 3) develop first-class integrated work for our clients. In addition, we have invested in new creative and strategic services including our own millennial consumer panel, RAW, and BETC Pop, specialising in content and events.

BETC London
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership Havas
Nielsen billings 2014 £30m
Nielsen billings 2013 £26m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 7
Accounts won 0
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 35 (+20%)
Key personnel Andrew Stirk chief executive
Rosie Bardales executive creative director

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.