Wunderman has struggled to recover its form of two years ago, when the agency scored an eight in its school report. The departure of its chief executive, Chris Perry, in January – less than a year after he joined – was not the best start to 2016.
There was also some upheaval within the agency’s creative department as Matt Batten, the chief creative officer, was ousted as part of an apparent management shuffle. Ian Haworth, Rapp’s chairman and global chief creative officer, replaced him in October.
Wunderman was one of the agencies hit by Jaguar’s decision to move its business to Spark44, an agency partially owned by the car-maker’s parent company, Tata. To compound its automotive losses, Wunderman also resigned the Volvo business. It also finished work on a confidential client that moved to another office.
However, the WPP-owned shop did win seven new clients, including Legal & General, Ikea, Truphone (a telecom start-up), GlaxoSmithKline and three others it is obliged to keep confidential.
On the work side, Wunderman created a clever campaign for News UK that aimed to convert trial subscribers to The Times and The Sunday Times to paid-up readers with a direct marketing package containing stories from the papers’ combined 230-year history.
For Shell, the agency played on the desire of car owners to finish on a round number when using a petrol pump. The "pump challenge" encouraged people to land on a pound figure, and the agency created an online game to help people practise.
At the start of 2016, Pip Hulbert and Chris Daplyn became Wunderman’s chief operating officer and managing director respectively, reporting to Mel Edwards. Perhaps a bit more continuity at the top will help the agency recover its pomp.
How the agency rates itself: 6
"2015 saw the fruits of our 2014 labours come to fruition. We bedded down a lot of new business and added seven new accounts, the biggest being Legal & General. We brought on board heaps of top talent. Creatively, we had a blast, launching Shell’s first fuel-pump challenge and 'Dream Team' for The Sun. And our Childhood Eye Cancer Trust campaign has brought home gongs from Cannes Lions, Eurobest and the Direct Marketing Awards."
|Type of agency||Direct and digital|
|Total accounts at year end||26|
|Accounts won||7 (biggest: Legal & General)|
|Accounts lost||3 (biggest: Jaguar)|
|Number of staff||349 (nominal change)|
|Key personnel||Mel Edwards, UK chairman
Ian Haworth, executive creative director
Richard Dunn, chief strategy officer
Pip Hulbert, chief operating officer
Chris Daplyn, 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.