School Reports 2015: Elvis


Score: 5  Last year: 3

Following the mass exodus of staff in 2013, the doors at Elvis kept on revolving in 2014.

The agency reported that it had shed 23 per cent of its staff in 2014. These losses included the creative technology director, Stuart O’Neill, who defected to Razorfish as a creative director at the beginning of the year.  However, in 2013 Elvis claimed to have 62 staff, so in fact 2014 saw a staffing rise at the agency.

Staff figures weren’t the only numbers the agency had trouble with. In 2013, Elvis claimed to have 20 accounts but, in 2014, could only account for 14, while stating it won eight pieces of new business and lost only three clients.

What the agency did hopefully calculate correctly was its declared income, which reached £5.1 million, making 2014 the most successful year at Elvis since 2008.

This was due to its relationship expanding with Mondelez International; Elvis picked up the digital and social media business across Cadbury UK and Tassimo. Work for the brand was successful throughout the year – this was evident at the Marketing Agencies Association Best Awards, where the agency picked up two gongs.

It also won multiple awards for Compassion in World Farming’s "the world’s first really live feed", an interactive billboard outside Westfield London that enabled shoppers to support the farming community by using their phones to feed pigs on a farm and watch it live on the billboard screen.

The Elvis founder, Martin Semmens, has been drafted back to oversee the agency as its chief executive after David Bainbridge’s departure in 2013. However, the rest of the management team have remained low-profile. While work has improved, Elvis still has a long way to recapture any of its creative spark of yesteryear.

How the agency scores itself: 7

How the agency rates itself: Elvis returned to its core values of creative and cultural innovation in 2014, led by a new management team. Our most successful year since 2008 saw new business arrive including Budweiser, Wagamama and RateSetter. Awards came across the full customer journey: mobile technology at Cannes, advertising experiential at The One Show Interactive and several DMAs. A return to The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Small Companies To Work For  in 2015 shows Elvis is flying.

Type of agency Integrated
Company ownership EDC
Declared income £5.1m
Total accounts at year end 14
Accounts won 8 (biggest: Cadbury)
Accounts lost 13 (biggest: Virgin Trains)
Number of staff 64 (+3%)
Key personnel Martin Semmens chief executive
Tanya Brookfield managing director
David Yates planning director
Neale Horrigan creative director
Chris Hills financial 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.