School Reports 2017: Lucky Generals


Score: 8
Last year: 8

How the agency rates itself: 8

Lucky Generals continued its winning streak in 2016, proving it was more than luck driving the agency’s success. The shop quadrupled its billings to £48m and increased its workforce by 30%, while maintaining the creative heft to back up those rosy numbers.

The agency’s biggest win of the year was the consolidated Paddy Power Betfair account. In its first campaign for the Betfair brand, Lucky Generals took a markedly different approach to gambling advertising, trading irreverent humour for a more serious tone.

Lucky Generals also won C&C Group’s Bulmers and Tennent’s brands, scooped Yorkshire Tea in a pitch against Wieden & Kennedy and WCRS, and beat Grey and VCCP in the Premier Inn contest. For Premier Inn, the agency has created a series of ads that, while not to everyone’s taste, playfully imitate popular cinema classics such as the 1980s Working Girl and Wes Anderson films.

A standout piece of creative work was an MTV Cribs spoof for Hostelworld starring 50 Cent, in which the rapper gives a tour of a Barcelona hostel. Other highlights included an Amazon campaign starring Jeremy Clarkson and more cheeky Paddy Power spots. Lucky Generals also demonstrated its strategic girth at Campaign’s New Thinking Awards, where it won in three individual categories and was named Agency of the Year.

Relationships that came to an end were Popchips, which the agency resigned after a year, and Diageo, after a new product development project was wrapped up.

It is testament to Lucky Generals’ strength that acquisition rumours began swirling just three years after opening for business. Last month, it sold a majority stake to TBWA and will become part of the Omnicom network while maintaining its name.

Co-founders Helen Calcraft, Andy Nairn and Danny Brooke-Taylor want to grow the brand long term, so expect this hot shop to stick around.

How the agency describes its year in a tweet

Lucky, generally.

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