School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]


Type of agency & ownership:  Independent creative agency
Nielsen billings 2017: n/s
Declared income: £6m
Total accounts at year end: 17
Accounts won: 6 (biggest: Papa John’s)
Accounts lost: 0
Number of staff: 59 (+31%)
Key personnel: Gareth Mercer, founder; Ben Kay, founder; Tim Snape, founder and executive creative director; Mark Sng, partner and head of planning; Peter Moulton, client services partner
Star player: Ben Mascari, head of production

Year in review

Last year Campaign acknowledged co-founder Ben Kay’s rugby-playing background by remarking that Pablo had "entered the scrum". In 2017, it was hard to argue with the agency borrowing another bit of rugger jargon to declare it had made a real break in the line.

The year offered compelling evidence that Pablo was moving up a gear. A slew of decent wins propelled it to sixth in Campaign’s new-business chart, as the highest-ranking independent. The end-of-year capture of the Hovis business – precursor to the brand’s return to above-the-line advertising – and its appointment as lead global integrated agency for Grant’s whisky held out the promise of a happy 2018.

Having laid down its marker in 2016, in 2017 Pablo began making its presence felt –not least with a celebrity-packed campaign for charity MQ, aimed at raising funds to tackle mental-health issues in the young. The year had begun in upbeat fashion when the agency was added to the government’s roster for tactical campaigns. In March more good news came when Tim Hortons, the Canadian restaurant chain, hired it to handle its entry to the UK. Modest fare, but by the summer, Pablo had captured Papa John’s £15m UK ad account, seeing off Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Pablo proved it could hold its own when it came to talent, too. Kirstin Ross-Macleod arrived from Fallon as joint head of account management. David Day and Dayoung Yun, creative directors at Wieden & Kennedy and Mother respectively, also joined.

Based on Pablo’s healthy prognosis, reports of the death of the independent are greatly exaggerated.

Agency's Year In A Tweet

"Humbled. Grateful. Excited"


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

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: n/s
Previous: n/s
Change: n/s

Operating profit

Latest: n/s
Previous: n/s
Change: n/s

List of total accounts Retained clients:



Mecca Bingo

Mitchells & Butlers

Papa John's

Tim Hortons



Pproject-based clients:


Craig & Rose

Graham's the Family Dairy


Watches of Switzerland



UK Government


Top three spending accounts:

Carlsberg (n/s)

Ferrero (n/s)

Papa John’s (n/s)

Number of retained accounts: 8
Number of accounts that are projects: 9
Biggest win: Papa John’s (£15m)
Biggest loss: No losses



Haymarket award wins