School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]


Type of agency & ownership:  Builder of client in-house agencies, owned by Inside Ideas Group
Nielsen billings 2017: n/s
Declared income: £71m
Total accounts at year end: 33
Accounts won: 7 (biggest: Pernod Ricard)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: Jones Homes)
Number of staff: 484 (-4%)
Key personnel: Simon Martin, chairman; Sharon Whale, chief executive; Rachel Hatton, chief strategy officer; Duncan Trigg, managing director media; Rob Kavanagh, executive creative director
Star player: Darren Forsyth, design team leader

Year in review

The winds of change kept blowing strongly Oliver’s way last year. The agency, which specialises in putting dedicated teams inside client organisations, not only continued rattling the cage of a complacent adland still clinging to traditional silos, but even found its success envied and its model emulated.

Oliver’s business model wasn’t lost on rival Engine, which, in April, launched NuFu, a global agency providing bespoke teams to work inside client companies, and hired former Oliver executive Sam Broster as its managing director.

So has Oliver begun a flow with which others will go? It’s not inconceivable in the light of an ISBA study (albeit in association with Oliver) published in March. It found that almost half of advertisers now have, or are considering establishing, an on-site or in-house capability. Faster turnaround and closer collaboration were among explanations put forward to explain the trend, although Simon Martin’s claim that on-site agencies could save clients up to 30% has doubtless been taken on board.

With former Proximity London creative chief Rob Kavanagh having assumed creative command after Brian Hooper’s departure for Aesop, Oliver continued evolving its offering to a diverse range of clients. Not least among these was Unilever, which asked Oliver to introduce an on-site agency pilot scheme in 2016 and is now one of its biggest clients.

Agency's Year In A Tweet

"The year Oliver took "inside" global, launching operations in 16 capital cities, and integrating services including media, medical and data."


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

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: £29.4m (Oliver Marketing Ltd year to 30 June 2016)
Previous: £22.1m
Change: 33.10%

Operating profit

Latest: -£261,000 (Oliver Marketing Ltd year to 30 June 2016)
Previous: £2.3m
Change: -111.60%

List of total accounts Retained clients include:

3M Company




Avant Homes




City & Guilds

Clyde & Co



Franklin Templeton

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines


Hogan Lovell

Just Retirement

Kayak Europe


Northern Rail


Pernod Ricard

Pinsent Masons

Royal Mail



Slaughter & May


The AA

The Guardian


Virgin Media

Visit Britain

Top three spending accounts:

Adidas (n/s)

Unilever (n/s)

Barclaycard (n/s)

Number of retained accounts: 33
Number of accounts that are projects: 0
Biggest win: Pernod Ricard (n/s)
Biggest loss: Jones Homes (n/s)



Haymarket award wins