School Reports 2015: McCann London


Score: 6  Last year: 5

McCann’s biggest upheaval came in July, when the Interpublic-owned agency announced it had plucked Mark Lund from Now to serve as McCann Worldgroup UK’s chief executive.

Lund comes with high expectations and is tasked with turning McCann’s disparate group of UK agencies into an integrated, client-pleasing machine but, having only started in October, any critique of his arrival on the agency is premature.

For McCann London, 2014 was about continuing its transformation from uninspiring network outpost to dynamic creative shop. It’s a daunting task but McCann’s body of work in 2014 shows it is on the right path. The highlight was Homepride. McCann reimagined Fred as an oversized houseguest with amorous intentions. The agency also picked up a silver Lion in Cannes for its Friend Compass mobile app for Momondo.

However, 2014 was not uninterrupted progress. The agency lost the £50 million Sony Entertainment brief to Adam & Eve/DDB, which was a shame because its 2013 "sound, vision, colour, detail" spot was the best thing the brand has done (that wasn’t a remake of "balls") in a long time.

There were a few wins, including Qatar Financial Centre and First Great Western but, importantly, it now gets to play with Microsoft since Interpublic scooped its global creative account in April.

Zaid Al-Zaidy hired more senior planners, filling the gap created when he was promoted to chief executive. He hired Naked Communications’ Nathaniel Hill and Theo Izzard-Brown, a planning director at Wieden & Kennedy but, on the flipside, Nikki Crumpton left to join Mother as its chief strategy officer.

A few UK wins from some sexy brands and more creative highlights should see McCann’s stock rise higher in 2015.

How the agency scores itself: 7

How the agency rates itself: 2014 was a great year. We’ve been busy drawing on the network’s capabilities to make all sorts of wonderful things. We impressed our mums and won awards: Homepride, Bisto Together Project, Xbox’s Destiny and Momondo’s Friend Compass app. New talent has strengthened our leadership and a year of epic wins has pushed us to the top of the new-business league. Could life be better? Of course it could, but we’re on a roll.

McCann London
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Interpublic
Nielsen billings 2014 £278m
Nielsen billings 2013 £263m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 38
Accounts won 5 (biggest: Microsoft)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: n/s)
Number of staff n/s
Key personnel Laurence Thomson co-president and co-chief creative officer
Rob Doubal co-president and co-chief creative officer
Zaid Al-Zaidy chief executive
Saj Manzoor chief finance 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.