School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]
Proximity London

Proximity London

Type of agency & ownership:  Customer engagement agency, owned by Omnicom
Nielsen billings 2017: £18m (-34%)
Declared income: n/s
Total accounts at year end: 25
Accounts won: 3 (biggest: Ikea)
Accounts lost: 13 (biggest: Parcelforce)
Number of staff: 248 (-12%)
Key personnel: Gabrielle Ludzker, chief executive; Joe Braithwaite, managing director; John Treacy, executive creative director; Sarah Blackman, chief innovation officer; Andrew Waddell, chief operating officer
Star player: Zoe Jones, operations director

Year in review

Right up until its dying stages, 2017 could have gone two ways for Proximity – making it a tense first year for new managing director Joe Braithwaite, who arrived in April from BBDO Singapore.

Having started working with Virgin Holidays the previous year, it added sister brand Virgin Atlantic in May, taking the account from Naked Communications – a turn of events that proved fatal for poor Naked.

But three months earlier, Proximity had lost out on the combined BT and EE account to Wunderman, later named as Campaign’s Customer Engagement Agency of the Year. This meant that by the end of the year, there was a lot riding on two big pitches.

Fortunately for Proximity, both came good. In December it won Ikea, beating seven-year incumbent Lida and defeating Digitas in a head-to-head. The following month, it held on to its biggest account, TV Licensing, once again disappointing Lida. While that decision came in 2018, the review process had been trundling on since the previous May.

Elsewhere, Proximity said cheerio to a significant number of clients; in several cases it chose to stop actively seeking projects, but Parcelforce consolidated its business into Oliver, while Royal Mail, the Post Office and all took their business in-house.

On the other hand, the decision to discard low-priority clients meant the agency grew its business with Volkswagen, Disney and Lloyds. It also turned out effective, creatively strong work for The Economist, RNLI and Guide Dogs, and bagged an impressive 18 DMAs, including seven golds.

Agency's Year In A Tweet

"We used data better, took 18 DMAs, grabbed headlines, boosted profits, won Virgin & IKEA, wooed Joe Braithwaite and behaved ethically #proud"


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

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: £26.3m
Previous: n/s
Change: 0.40%

Operating profit

Latest: £5.5m
Previous: n/s
Change: 33%

List of total accounts Retained:

Volkswagen Group - Volkswagen , Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles , Seat , Skoda , Volkswagen Financial Services



TV Licensing


Virgin Atlantic

Lloyds Banking Group


John Lewis

Guide Dogs

Procter & Gamble



Project: The Economist

Great Ormond Street Hospital

Virgin Holidays



Franklin Templeton

Hewlett Packard


Top three spending accounts:

TV Licensing (n/s)

Lloyds Banking Group (n/s)

Procter & Gamble (n/s)

Number of retained accounts: 17
Number of accounts that are projects: 8
Biggest win: Ikea (n/s)
Biggest loss: Parcel force (n/s)



Haymarket award wins