School Reports 2017: St Luke's


Score: 6 
Last year: 7

How the agency rates itself: 7

St Luke’s quietly got on with business in 2016 but still managed to increase its client roster, add more staff and widen its offering with the launch of a production arm. Silence is clearly golden for this agency, which appears to have achieved three steady years of growth. Remember, it was absent from the Campaign School Reports from 2011 to 2014 after achieving a worrisome score of three.

Nevertheless, losing Strongbow’s £3.5m ad account was a kick in the teeth, not just financially but symbolically. St Luke’s had held the Heineken-owned business for 11 years and it had helped the agency win several more brands – including Heineken itself. And the shop considers two Strongbow ads to be among the best work of its 21-year history.

In the only significant change to St Luke’s stable senior management team, Ed Palmer rejoined the agency in March from M&C Saatchi, replacing Dan Hulse as managing director as the latter took on the newly created role of chief strategy officer.

Then, in June, St Luke’s officially launched Apostle, an in-house production company headed by director Sye Allen. This was the formalisation of an operation that had been growing behind the scenes for years, reflecting many creative agencies’ desire to pull as much production in-house as possible as margins get tighter. Apostle’s clients include Littlewoods, Very and Mooncup.

In terms of creative output, St Luke’s didn’t set the world on fire last year but Christmas spots for Littlewoods ("The walk") and Very ("A big-hearted tale") were relatively pleasing to the eye. Perhaps more agenda-setting work in 2017 will send steady St Luke’s into hyperdrive.

How the agency describes its year in a tweet

#RAR Grand Prix winner, won 8 clients, increased billings by £25m, @kingstonsmith Hall of Fame @StLukescomms @Campaignmag #plancomestogether

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