School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]
AKQA



AKQA



Type of agency & ownership:  Digital innovation agency, owned by WPP
Nielsen billings 2017: n/s
Declared income: £38m (2016)
Total accounts at year end: 38
Accounts won: 14 (biggest: n/s)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: n/s)
Number of staff: 290 (-36%)
Key personnel: Sam Kelly, managing director; Jo Hickson, head of technology; Masaya Nakade, executive creative director; Aivory Gaw, business development director
Star player: Aivory Gaw, business development director

Year in review

AKQA has had a rough year, which included the departure of two of its senior creative leads. Wayne Deakin, its London executive creative director, left in October after less than two years in the role. This was followed by the resignation of the agency’s international creative director, Duan Evans, following an internal investigation triggered by parent company WPP’s independent whistleblower hotline.

On a happier note, the agency recently hired TUI’s head of innovation, Jo Hickson, as its head of technology – a newly created role.

Notable work in the year includes the LED interactive goal for Nike Strike Night and Arsenal FC’s Alexa skill.

The agency has also been restructuring ahead of Brexit, opting to grow its European studios to serve continental clients locally, rather than from London. The agency’s Eurostar account, for example, has moved to its Paris studio. And when the agency launched in Gothenburg, it transferred several of its London team over. Client requests also led to some of its London employees transferring to the US, and for some technical and development roles there were moves to Eastern Europe and India. This restructure and client shift could account for a year-on-year drop in gross income (according to Kingston Smith) from £37.28m to £32.89m.

The agency did, however, pick up 14 accounts including social and communications work for Bulgari and Fendi. It also won project work for Visa, Vodafone and Bacardi. But it lost two clients: Dyson, on completion of a project, and a mutual resignation from AR company Daqri.

Agency's Year In A Tweet


"2,000 people contributing across 23 major cities to inspire the future + make a positive impact."

Scores


Score this year: 4
Score last year: 6
How the agency scores itself: 8
Management strength: 5
Creativity: 8
Innovation: 8
New business: 7
Diversity: 6

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: £32.9m
Previous: £37.3m
Change: -11.80%

Operating profit

Latest: £1.1m
Previous: £350,000
Change: 230%

List of total accounts Barclays

BP

Coutts

Rolls-Royce

Virgin Atlantic

Volvo

H&M

Nike

Activision

Rocket

Tag Heuer

Zegna

Foster & Partners

Apple

Fendi

IBM

Riot Games

Ford

Beats

Bulgari

VISA

Arsenal

Beiersdorf

Virgin Holidays

Virgin Sport

Starbucks

BBC

Roli

AirBnB

Superbosses

BAFTA

Westbank

Bacardi

Mercari

HP

FPF

Vodafone

Ericsson

Top three spending accounts:

n/s

BT (n/s)

Unilever (n/s)

Number of retained accounts: 21
Number of accounts that are projects: 17
Biggest win: n/s
Biggest lost: n/s

Diversity


Awards

Haymarket award wins


Campaign Tech Awards: 2