Feature

Strategic Planner of the Year 2020: Andy Nairn

He has made invaluable contributions on subjects such as brand purpose and AI, while creating a formidable effectiveness culture at Lucky Generals.

Strategic Planner of the Year 2020: Andy Nairn

Co-founder, Lucky Generals

Nairn has been outspoken on the big issues of the day, making invaluable contributions on subjects as diverse as brand purpose, AI and the sharing economy. He’s also created a formidable effectiveness culture at Lucky Generals that has helped to deliver stellar results for clients such as Amazon, Yorkshire Tea and AB InBev. For these reasons he was chosen as Campaign’s Strategic Planner of 2019.

In 2019 Nairn was instrumental in bedding down the £50m Co-op account (Lucky Generals’ biggest-ever win) and then – as the agency has turned its attention to domestic new business again – in the final quarter, winning Zoopla. This £10m pitch was particularly rewarding as it touched on profound cultural issues about how we view our homes.

His work on Co-op increased year-on-year sales in a market where almost all direct competitors are in decline. Tracking data also shows sentiment towards the brand is at an all-time high and ROI is up by 12%. 

Away from commercial effectiveness, Nairn was the strategic force behind the industry’s campaign against sexual harassment: TimeTo. His breakthrough was to realise that harassment comes in many forms and behaviours can be appropriate or inappropriate, depending on context (such as time, place, seniority). His proposition, "Where do you draw the line?", became the direct inspiration for a very provocative campaign, which has now been endorsed by 230 organisations, and was used in Cannes and for the Christmas agency party season.

His contribution helped the agency grow by 63% in 2019: about 16 times that of the industry average (the latest Kingston Smith figures, from 2018, show average agency growth of 4%). Profits tell a similar story, with growth of 59% on last year. This is perhaps even more impressive, given that Lucky Generals’ big move this year was to open an office in New York.

One judge said: "It is clear that Andy’s influence on the industry is far-reaching, and strategic leadership undeniable."

Runners-up

Bridget Angear and Craig Mawdsley

Joint chief strategy officers, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO 

Angear and Mawdsley are the longest serving chief strategy officers at any major London agency, and 2019 was yet another stellar year. Their creative influence helped Libresse/Bodyform’s "Viva La vulva" campaign of 2018 win a staggering 139 creative awards, becoming the most-awarded idea in the world. Their strategic output sealed the Grand Prix at the APG Creative Strategy Awards, making AMV the only agency in APG history to win the Grand Prix more than once. They helped deliver a bumper year of new business, with wins including Rexona, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Macmillan Cancer Support, in addition to almost £1m of direct income from strategy projects. One judge said: "Yet again a great year for this partnership, with particular highlights being the brilliantly controversial work in ‘Viva la vulva’."

Martin Beverley

Chief strategy officer, Adam & Eve/DDB

Beverley leads strategy at the Cannes Lions Agency of the Year 2014 and 2018, not to mention the most-awarded agency in the history of The Gunn Report and Campaign’s Agency of the Decade. His accolades include a Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix and three Creative Effectiveness Cannes Lions, all won over the past three years for Adam & Eve/DDB’s John Lewis Christmas campaigns. He oversees creative strategy across John Lewis & Partners, Waitrose & Partners, PlayStation, Virgin Media, Booking.com and Lucozade. He has been personally awarded for his strategies at every major award show, including several gold Effies and APG Awards and an IPA Effectiveness Award. One judge said: "Very hard to deny the incredible range and scope of work, the fundamental impact on the agency success whilst also seeking to evolve the agency to be fit for future, the commitment to people development and the thought leadership in the industry."

Becca Dyson

Brand consultant, Engine

At the age of just 27, Dyson represents the best of the new generation of outstanding strategists. From developing a communications strategy that helped to save lives to overhauling internal processes at one of the UK’s largest banks, Santander, she has delivered outstanding results for clients. She not only sets the strategic vision but also inspires senior clients and internal teams with the confidence to make it happen. "Clearly an inciteful strategic thinker who is wise beyond her years. Her achievement is impressive and the future looks bright,"one judge said.

Matt Holt

UK chief strategy officer, Digitas

Holt was brought into Digitas at the beginning of 2019 to usher in a new era at the agency. Since his arrival, his strategic plan for the agency and its clients, has made a real impact. His strategy has focused on four "p"s: proposition, platforms, people and profile. In addition, he has helped clients join up the disparate parts of their business through Digitas’ Experience Consulting offering, which enables brands to transform the experience they provide to customers. As part of this, Holt helped launch a proprietary audit tool, which allows brands to identify and address the gaps in their customer experience. One judge said: "Has demonstrated good leadership, reshaping Digitas so they are fit for the future."