School Reports 2018: George & Dragon

Pork Marketing Board
Pork Marketing Board
Type of agency & ownership:  Independent creative agency
Nielsen billings 2017: £10m (-28%)
Declared income: n/s
Total accounts at year end: 12
Accounts won: 4 (biggest: NFU Mutual)
Accounts lost: 0
Number of staff: 30 (no change)
Key personnel: Nick Hurrell, managing partner; Rooney Carruthers, creative partner; Justin Gibbons, planning partner
Star player: Mark Meehan, art director

It was a year in which George & Dragon provided further evidence of its ability to slay some decent opposition in the battle for new business.

Its fellow government roster agencies Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Kindred were put to the sword in the fight for the Highways England brief to make motorways safer, while 101 (now part of MullenLowe) was seen off in the pitch for NFU Mutual, the rural insurer.

The wins came during a period when the agency began defining its offering and how it might operate effectively as an independent within a consolidating communications market. Most significant was its decision to become a founding member of Harbour. This is a collective of independent agencies established by Paul Hammersley, Cheil’s former chief executive, whose declared aim is to "level the playing field" between independents and the holding companies. It remains a work in progress.

Meanwhile, Shield Films, the agency’s in-house production company, reported a busy first full year. A further dimension was added to its activities with a key role in the launch of Craft. Headed by Sally Weavers, Initiative’s former UK managing director, the venture pledges to return "media craft" to the heart of communication plans.

Creatively, the agency acquitted itself well with a couple of nice TV spots. One was its debut work for the Pork Marketing Board featuring a man in a chicken suit crushed to find a couple eating pork for dinner. The other was for Highways England, asking people who don’t check their vehicles before a long journey whether they’d be prepared to fly on a plane if the pilot hadn’t made the pre-take-off checks.




6 5 6

Agency's year in a tweet

Craft Media launched. A berth in the Harbour. New clients. Lovely work. All in all a happy, independent 2017. 2018, we’re ready for you.

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question


*indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation