School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]


Type of agency & ownership:  Marketing and technology agency, owned by Publicis Groupe
Nielsen billings 2017: £18m (-29%)
Declared income: n/s
Total accounts at year end: 55
Accounts won: 14 (biggest: Formula One)
Accounts lost: 1 (TJX Europe)
Number of staff: 650 (-19%)
Key personnel: Michael Islip, chief executive, UK; Fern Miller, chief strategy officer; Chris Clarke, chief creative officer; Matt Steward, managing director; Hattie Whiting, managing partner
Star player: Rafe Blandford, senior mobile strategist

Year in review

Digitas, which rebranded from DigitasLBi in March this year, has been an agency in flux ever since its parent Publicis Groupe acquired SapientNitro. Now, with some restructuring completed, the agency’s future seems clearer.

In October, the group realigned the agency out of Publicis.Sapient and into Publicis Media, and named Michael Kahn as global president of Digitas. He takes over from Nigel Vaz, who will focus full-time on his position as chief executive of Publicis.Sapient EMEA and APAC.

As part of this realignment, Digitas’ legacy technology companies (including Spindrift) migrated into Publicis.Sapient, while the marketing services arm of Publicis.Sapient has been moved into Digitas. This has resulted in the agency gaining clients, including Sky. It followed the merger of direct agencies Kitcatt Nohr and Chemistry into Digitas in March.

Alongside this restructure, Digitas embarked on a strategy to be more targeted in its new-business ventures. The agency claims the 14 clients won in 2017 are worth more than double that of the 25 it brought home in 2016. Its latest wins include Formula One, Procter & Gamble and Visa.

Personnel-wise, Digitas has remained largely stable, with the most senior change being the move of Scott Ross, chief technology officer, international, to a role focused exclusively on its Renault-Nissan account.

Workwise the agency turned a dry brief for HPE, aimed at IT managers, into a mobile game in the style of arcade classic Pong. Digitas also created a chatbot for Pringles that crafted music videos for its users.

Agency's Year In A Tweet

"We thrived in times of change: strengthened our biggest client relations; picked up iconic new ones and launched #dogsatwork "


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

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: £69.3m
Previous: £76.5m
Change: -9.40%

Operating profit

Latest: -£10.3m
Previous: n/s
Change: -131.70%

List of total accounts n/s
Top three spending accounts:

HPE (n/s)

Kellogg (n/s)

Samsung (n/s)

Number of retained accounts: 44
Number of accounts that are projects: 11
Biggest win: Formula One (n/s)
Biggest lost: TJX Europe (n/s)



Haymarket award wins