School Reports 2017: Atomic London

  • Cancer Research UK

    Cancer Research UK

  • eToro



Score: 5
Last year: 6

How the agency rates itself: 7

Atomic finished 2016 by adding Dave Henderson to what is steadily becoming a Who’s Who of former DDB staff. Henderson, who was most recently chief creative officer at MullenLowe London, can bring his big brand experience to the table and it will be intriguing to see how his relationship with fellow creative partner Guy Bradbury develops.

The Henderson hire bookended a year of senior management changes: Atomic started the year by announcing the appointment of its first managing director in the form of Mr President business director Polly Dedman.

That added layer of expertise could help Atomic move on from what was an uneventful year on the new-business front: it picked up Signet’s Ernest Jones and H Samuel brands but split with jewellery designer Hatton by Design. The agency successfully repitched for i’s ad account after the newspaper was sold to Johnston Press but no longer works on ESI Media’s London Evening Standard business.

Atomic Live, the new programmatic offering, promised much when launched in 2015 but has yet to translate into game-changing new-business wins. Nevertheless, the agency has carefully thought through its positioning and claims that Atomic Live has already led to organic growth. One to watch in 2017, as is Atomic’s unique relationship with Blackwood Seven via founding partner Nick Fox, who is a non-executive director of the artificial intelligence media agency’s UK office.

Not too many pieces of work caught the eye in 2016, although Atomic’s virtual flower garden, created for Cancer Research UK at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, was quite outstanding. This enthusiastic and clever agency is certainly making the right noises, but one wonders if it is creating enough high-profile work on a regular basis to pave the way for a transformative 2017.

How the agency describes its performance this year, in 75 words or less

Solid year. Won Johnston Press, adding The Scotsman to i newspaper. Snatched Signet’s Ernest Jones and H.Samuel. Launched eToro across Europe. Landed Gold at the DMAs and a digital award at the IABs for CRUK. Atomic Live grew, adding Viking Cruises programmatic media. Forged an exclusive alliance with the revolutionary AI wizards, Blackwood Seven. More creative firepower arrived with Dave Henderson on board as new partner. Chapter one was great. Can’t wait for chapter two.

How the agency describes its year in a tweet

More wins, more hires, more launches, more awards, more capabilities, more creative firepower. Atomic’s growing. And it’s a very hungry dog.

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