School Reports 2016: McCann London

Microsoft Xbox
Microsoft Xbox

It took Mark Lund 15 months to have an impact on McCann's management line-up.

Zaid Al-Zaidy, the London agency’s chief executive of two years, left in October 2015 talking about seeking new creative opportunities. However, there is no doubt that his departure opened up a fresh opportunity for McCann to move forward.

The choice of Alex Lubar as Al-Zaidy’s replacement suggested that McCann had no desire for another cerebral strategist at the helm and was keen to install a more corporate animal. Lubar is a Brit who was McCann’s global chief marketing officer. His reputation is of a new-business wunderkind, helping the New York agency land the US Postal Service, Lockheed Martin and Zurich.

Meanwhile, Rob Doubal and Laurence Thomson continue to slowly turn around the creative product.

Among McCann’s many conservative clients, the highlight was probably the "live from the heart" campaign for Shredded Wheat, but it’s on Microsoft Xbox that the creative team really gets to let loose.

There were some clever digital campaigns for the release of Halo, but the best was a survival billboard promoting the new Tomb Raider game.

Perhaps McCann’s greatest triumph was the hotly contested All England Lawn Tennis Club pitch. In early 2016, the agency found out that it had seen off competition from WPP, Droga5 and Bartle Bogle Hegarty to land the brief.

The Wimbledon win was a nice way to cap an OK year, but it is clear that Interpublic and Lund want more from the shop.

How the agency rates itself: 6

"2015 was good: we turned a billboard into an entertainment channel for Xbox, connected people with Bisto’s Together Project, inspired and changed flight search with Momondo, encouraged CEOs to send employees to Cannes, plus Wimbledon, Godiva, Statoil and Picturehouse joined us as new clients. We won awards and continued to strengthen our team, with the additions of Chad Warner, David Frymann, Chris Hamilton and a brand new CEO in Alex Lubar."

McCann London
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Interpublic
Nielsen billings 2015 £333m**
Nielsen billings 2014 £287m**
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 39
Accounts won 3 (biggest: Godiva)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff n/s
Women in senior management 30%
BAME staff in senior management 36%
Key personnel Alex Lubar, chief executive
Rob Doubal, president and chief creative officer
Laurence Thomson, president and chief creative officer
Mark Lund, UK group 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.