School Reports 2015: Rapp

Virgin Media
Virgin Media

Score: 6  Last year: 5

In a year in which big data became marketing’s buzz phrase, Rapp was itself abuzz with activity as it looked to harness its data expertise with creative and strategic potency. Indeed, the agency made clear its intent in June when it merged its data, creative and media strategy teams and named Rob Reason and Shiona McDougall as joint executive planning directors tasked with solving problems across the board for clients.

At the same time, Jason Andrews, who was handed control of Rapp’s UK creative output in February after Rik Haslam’s departure for the US, was given even greater influence and joined the executive board. There was a promotion too for Mike Wells, who filled the new position of digital director with a brief to drive digital integration across its clients.

Meanwhile, Rapp moved to bulk up its offering, acquiring the shopper-marketing specialist Haygarth and assimilating its Omnicom sibling TBCH – though this was really a rescue act after what was once Claydon Heeley parted company with Three, its biggest client.

All the activity seems to be having the desired effect, with a 30 per cent revenue increase and a haul of creative gongs, particularly at the DMAs, where Rapp took four golds, two silvers and a bronze. Alas, its gold-winning Barclays work failed to lock in the bank’s £11 million direct marketing business, which the agency was told in October it was to lose.

Nevertheless, there were several reasons to be cheerful. Virgin Media’s spend continues to match its ambition and new clients arrived in the shape of Scottish Power, Cigna insurance and the Guide Dogs charity, as well as an international brief from the pharmaceutical company Allergan.

If Rapp can continue to successfully marry magic and logic, more rewards will surely come.

How the agency scores itself: 8

How the agency rates itself: This year saw Rapp’s fusion of data, creative, media and innovation strike multiple golds in the awards shows and drive a 30 per cent increase in revenue. And, as data topped every marketing agenda, Rapp’s heritage and depth in this discipline were key to new-business growth. Eighteen account wins – including Scottish Power, Open University and Hastings – plus ten golds in major shows were testament to the power of logic blended with creative magic.

Type of agency Digital and direct full-service
Company ownership Omnicom
Nielsen billings 2014 £15m
Nielsen billings 2013 £24m
Declared income £45m
Total accounts at year end 58
Accounts won 18 (biggest: SAP)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: n/s)
Number of staff 344 (no change)
Key personnel Marco Scognamiglio chief executive, UK
Jason Andrews executive creative director
Samantha Nolan chief client officer
Ian Haworth global chief creative officer and UK chairman

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.