School Reports 2016: Maxus

BT Sport
BT Sport

The smallest of the big four Group M shops got a lot right in Nick Baughan's first full year in charge.

The largest client, BT, spent heavily to promote its Champions League coverage, while the second- and third-biggest, Barclays and L’Oréal, both handed Maxus extra account work in 2015. Added to that was £25 million of wins, including DMG Media and KLM. Another less edifying victory was Ubisoft, which the agency lost to Havas and won back four months later.

Maxus concedes that its only regret was not securing a £50 million-plus account. Even though its new-business record was acceptable, none of its wins really moved the dial. But SC Johnson was the only notable loss, leaving for PHD in an international consolidation.

Moving to a new office in the City allowed Baughan’s team to restart with a blank canvas and put data, content and insight at the centre of the business. Content revenues and consulting rose 35 per cent and more than 40 per cent respectively.

Maxus was founded in 2008 and the young network is beginning to build an image for itself with its internal "Never Stand Still" programme. That includes an equal parental leave policy, a community scheme to recruit school-leavers from the local area, life coaching and other well-being classes. It seems to be working: staff churn was low at 17 per cent.

Baughan made a persuasive call in Campaign for agencies to have a point of view and not to fall into the trap of being agnostic when advising clients. Let’s see Maxus do more to lead by example.

How the agency rates itself: 7

"It has been a year of never standing still. An incredible new home, a new managing director in Anna Hickey, losing Ubisoft, winning it back, better work, more awards, 20 more people, a brand-spanking new approach to planning and culture. £25 million of net new wonderful business across seven new clients. Pride in all our people in everything we do. Lots done, lots to do."

Type of agency Media
Company ownership WPP
Nielsen billings 2015 £373m
Nielsen billings 2014 £371m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 62
Accounts won 7 (biggest: DMG Media)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: SC Johnson)
Traditional media 59%
Digital media 41%
Number of staff 269 (+8%)
Women in senior management 43%
BAME staff in senior management n/s
Key personnel Nick Baughan, chief executive
Tim Irwin, chief operating officer
Anna Hickey, managing director
Adrian Carpenter, commercial director
Stephanie Marks, deputy managing 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.