School Reports 2018: Ogilvy & Mather London

Type of agency & ownership:  Integrated creative agency, owned by WPP
Nielsen billings 2017: £229m (+35%)
Declared income: n/s
Total accounts at year end: 39
Accounts won: 10 (biggest: Boots)
Accounts lost: 1 (Pizza Hut Delivery)
Number of staff: 384 (+32%)
Key personnel: Charlie Rudd, chief executive; Mick Mahoney, chief creative officer; Clare Donald, chief production officer; Kevin Chesters, chief strategy officer
Star player: Dani Matthews, head of design

No more making excuses for Ogilvy & Mather London. For years, its giant, globally aligned clients were blamed for its inability to crack the UK ad market. Last year it got its hands on three brands that any UK agency would kill for, with British Airways returning to the Ogilvy fold, as well as Vodafone and Boots. Could the agency step up to the plate? After all, its creative work hasn’t exactly been lighting fires in the recent past.

Even now, O&M’s creative output can best be described as mixed. Its seesawing product may be reflected in the fact that its first Martin Freeman TV spot for Vodafone was a Campaign "Turkey", while another in the "Time to change" campaign, highlighting mental-health issues for young people, was a "Pick of the week".

Yet, when then the agency hits its creative stride, it can be good. Its 2017 Christmas ad for Boots, highlighting the bond between sisters, was described by entertainment website LADbible as "everything John Lewis’ 2017 effort wished it could have been".

Boots, Vodafone and BA, which arrived from Mother, Grey and Bartle Bogle Hegarty respectively, will take a lot of bedding down and careful servicing; the departure of feisty group chief executive Annette King to Publicis won’t help. This is no doubt why chief creative officer Mick Mahoney drafted in the experienced Martha Riley and Joao Linneu as creative directors. Their brief is to oversee the agency’s art direction and provide mentoring to a creative department having to get to grips not only with the three major arrivals, but also new briefs for Halls and Trebor mints, resulting from the agency’s burgeoning relationship with Mondelez.




7 7 7

Agency's year in a tweet


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