School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]
Grey London

Grey London

Type of agency & ownership:  Creative agency, owned by WPP
Nielsen billings 2017: £236m (-14%)
Declared income: n/s
Total accounts at year end: 41
Accounts won: 7 (biggest: Which?)
Accounts lost: 4 (biggest: Vodafone UK)
Number of staff: 351 (-16%)
Key personnel: Leo Rayman, chief executive; Vicki Maguire, joint chief creative officer; Caroline Pay, joint chief creative officer; Matt Tanter, chief strategy officer; Olivia Browne, managing director
Star player: Frank Amponsah-Antwi, new-business account manager

Year in review

What would Grey’s founders Larry Valenstein and Arthur Fatt have made of their London office in 2017, Grey’s centenary year? Here was Grey London pushing an agenda that they would have thought truly remarkable and probably rather scary. Not least in the agency’s symbolic renaming of itself as Valenstein & Fatt for 100 days, something the Jewish founders recoiled from doing in WASP-ish turn-of-the-century New York. And how would they have coped with the potty-mouthed and feisty pair of Vicki Maguire and Caroline Pay, brought together last year to form one of the few all-female creative leadership teams at a major agency?

Last year showed how far the agency has progressed. The "Spend it well" campaign, its first for Marks & Spencer since winning the account and culminating in "Paddington and the Christmas visitor" – named the public’s favourite festive ad of 2017 by Campaign, based on an Adwatch "Christmas Likeability" poll – helped confirm an evolving creative potency.

There were some setbacks, though. Vodafone, having seen its UK market share slip, moved its £50m business to Grey’s WPP sister agency Ogilvy & Mather; Procter & Gamble switched its Lenor account – held by Grey for more than 50 years – to CHI & Partners, although Grey still works on the Lenor portfolio.

However, the agency did manage to bolster its roster with some well-known names. It won the global account for Tuborg lager, while Which? handed Grey the task of making it a stronger campaigning force for consumers. It seemed an apposite appointment for an agency that’s become something of a campaigning force of its own.

Agency's Year In A Tweet

"A centenary year for an agency that refuses to grow old; still hungry, still passionate, still challenging the industry we love."


Score this year: 6
Score last year: 7
How the agency scores itself: 7
Management strength: 7
Creativity: 7
Innovation: 7
New business: 3
Diversity: 8

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: £51.8m
Previous: £51.5m
Change: 0.60%

Operating profit

Latest: £7.4m
Previous: £8.0m
Change: -7.30%

List of total accounts Retained:






Greene King

GSK Sensodyne

GSK Denturecare

GSK Paradontax

GSK Corporate


Helly Hansen



P&G Gillette

P&G Pantene

P&G Braun

P&G Febreze

P&G Herbal Essence

P&G Lenor Bold


United Biscuits

Vodafone Ireland

Volvo UK



GSK Cold & Flu Panadol





Dairy Crest

General Mills

De Longhi


Marriott Intl

Let There Be Beer





Beam Suntory Courvoisier

Jacobs Douwe Egberts

Top three spending accounts:

Marks & Spencer (n/s)

GSK – Sensodyne (n/s)

P&G – Braun (n/s)

Number of retained accounts: 24
Number of accounts that are projects: 18
Biggest win: Which? (n/s)
Biggest lost: Vodafone (n/s)



Haymarket award wins

Campaign Big Awards: 5

Marketing New Thinking Awards: 1