School Reports 2015: Carat


Score: 8  Last year: 8

Carat had another strong year in 2014, continuing to nurture an impressive new-business portfolio while making time to develop its internal culture.

The depth of the agency’s portfolio ranges from big spenders such as Asda, British Gas and Adidas to more specialist fare for household names including Manchester United, Trinity Mirror and Twitter.

Since becoming part of Dentsu Aegis Network in 2013, Carat has benefitted from specialisms within the group, working and pitching alongside iProspect, Isobar and Data2Decisions. In 2015, this will be boosted by the acquisition of the mobile hotshop Fetch and the social media specialist Tempero.

Carat’s media buying arm, Amplifi, showed its mettle when it beat Group M to secure the £140 million government media buying business. But the agency didn’t have it all its own way – it lost five accounts, including Disney and Birds Eye.

Internally, the focus has been on nurturing talent with a series of initiatives. In the summer, Carat’s Phone Hotel, which encouraged staff to leave their mobiles in the office as part of a digital detox, struck a chord well beyond the industry and is likely to be much imitated in 2015.

Carat also took a lead role in the talent debate, with the newly promoted managing director, Matthew Hook, presenting at Media360. Among the topics discussed was Discover Media, a scheme that tries to bridge the skills gap in the business by introducing GCSE students to life in a modern media agency and the range of jobs available.

All of this helped Carat feature in The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies To Work For for a third year and achieve an Investors in People silver accreditation.

A great year for a top-drawer agency.

How the agency scores itself: 8

How the agency rates itself: 2014 was about focusing on people, value and growth. Making sure our people were happy, that we drove business value for clients, and growth for our clients and ourselves. This vision saw us included in The Sunday Times top 100 for a third year and lead the industry talent debate. We also put in the groundwork for a new agency model for 2015.

Type of agency Media
Company ownership Dentsu
Nielsen billings 2014 £814m
Nielsen billings 2013 £840m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 216
Accounts won 39 (biggest: Crown Commercial Service)
Accounts lost 5 (biggest: Disney)
Traditional media 73%
Digital media 27%
Number of staff 590 (-1%)
Key personnel Matthew Hook managing director
Dan Hagen chief strategy officer
Rachel McDonald managing director, Carat Manchester
Stuart Newman head of new business and marketing
Matt Landeman executive client officer

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.