School Reports 2016: Ogilvy & Mather

28 Too Many
28 Too Many

If running a successful advertising agency was just a matter of winning awards, Ogilvy & Mather would have nailed it over the past couple of years. Unfortunately for the newest residents of London’s South Bank, it’s more complicated than that.

In terms of silverware, the WPP agency had a decent year, although not its best. O&M picked up four gold Lions for images of European flags brutally stitched together for 28 Too Many, a charity working to end female genital mutilation.

O&M won six new bits of business in 2016 but failed to gain a game-changing client. Social media projects for Converse and being the standby agency for the Cabinet Office are hardly going to transform the shop, which is dominated by big international conglomerates. As well as a brief to launch Huawei’s new handset and one to promote the National Living Wage, there are two secret wins but neither is anything to get excited about.

O&M was plodding along with another so-so year when the chief executive, Cheryl Giovannoni, departed in August. To replace her, the group chief executive, Annette King, hired Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s Charlie Rudd and started a potentially interesting new chapter.

Rudd hired Kevin Chesters from Mcgarrybowen as his chief strategy officer in January 2016 after Rebecca Moody left to join Mother. In February, the chief creative officer, Gerry Human, was moved to a global role and replaced by Mick Mahoney to complete the top team.

With new management and a new home, there is an air of optimism. Could 2016 finally be the year that the narrative changes and the London agency loosens the grip of the network?

How the agency rates itself: 7

"Another stellar awards year. Standout work for 28 Too Many netted multiple Cannes Lions, including four golds. A Grand Clio secured our place as top-performing UK agency at the Clios. Kronenbourg made number one in The Grocer’s top 50 social FMCG brands on the back of our "le big swim" campaign. Wins included Cabinet Office, Huawei and Converse. We announced the arrival of Charlie Rudd, coinciding with our move to Sea Containers in January."

Ogilvy & Mather
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership WPP
Nielsen billings 2015 £130m
Nielsen billings 2014 £129m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 29
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Cabinet Office)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 290 (no change)
Women in senior management 46%
BAME staff in senior management n/s
Key personnel Charlie Rudd, chief executive
Mick Mahoney, chief creative officer
Kevin Chesters, incoming chief strategy officer
Mark Lainas, chief innovation officer
Jane Douglas, managing partner, marketing and new business

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.