Top 100 Agencies: School Reports. (2 of 4)

Type of agency: DM, digital and data
Company ownership: Havas subsidiary
Key personnel: Terry Hunt chairman
Matt Atkinson chief executive
Patrick Baglee executive creative director
Anne Davis deputy managing director
Kate Wheaton executive planning director
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £12m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £17m
Total accounts year end: 150 (including all projects)
Accounts won: 23 (biggest: Barclays PLC)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: Peugeot)
Number of staff: 308 (+13%)

Like all network agencies, EHS Brann has been busy building an integrated offering across its digital and direct agencies, including the creation of the EHS Brann Group.

The reorganisation is being led by the chief executive, Matt Atkinson, and the chairman, Terry Hunt, and followed the merger of EHS Brann Digital and Euro RSCG 4D Digital last year. Atkinson is being supported by Anne Davis, the managing director of Euro RSCG 4D, who was promoted at the end of last year to group deputy managing director.

As a matter of course, the group is pitching its integrated offering across digital, data and direct. Among its client wins in 2006 were Maison de la France, Dixons Store Group and Concern Worldwide. The agency retained lead agency status on Barclays, which reviewed, as well as adding Barclaycard. And it faced another big review, when British Gas put its direct account, shared with WWAV Rapp Collins, up for pitch. A decision on that is not expected until the second quarter.

Creatively, the agency promoted Patrick Baglee to executive creative director across its offline and online agencies, although the work was low profile - apart from EHS Brann Cirencester's Volvo campaigns - while Baglee settled in. However, a late campaign for Jaguar, which promoted the marque's "new-fashioned luxury" strategy, showed the type of beautifully produced execution the agency is capable of.

In 2006, the agency appeared to be getting stronger after several years of recovering from a number of mergers at the turn of the century. It has a talented and stable management team, which has the ability to rebuild it to a strong network player.

Score last year: 5

Score this year: 6

How EHS Brann rates itself: 7

"A fantastic 20th year: winning PM Grand Prix of the Decade for Tesco Clubcard, hiring some of the best talent in the business, strengthening our management team, delivering cut-through creativity, consolidating our direct, digital and data offering, winning a huge amount of new business across all offices, most notably becoming the lead DM agency on Barclays. We set ourselves high standards for 2006 and worked hard to keep our promises to our clients and people."

Type of agency: Communications
Company ownership: Havas subsidiary
Key personnel: Mark Cadman chief executive
Gerry Moira executive creative director
Russ Lidstone chief strategy officer
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £164m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £212m
Total accounts year end: 24
Accounts won: 7 (biggest: Reckitt Benckiser)
Accounts lost: 0
Number of staff: 156 (+8%)

The Euro RSCG Worldwide chief executive, David Jones, has made a habit of pulling off unexpected coups since he took control of the network.

Most tend to focus on unlikely account wins, more of which later. But the twin signing in January last year of Mark Cadman and Russ Lidstone to the positions of chief executive and chief strategy officer, respectively, was also impressive. Cadman had been widely expected to join Sir Frank Lowe's The Red Brick Road start-up and rekindle the close relationship with Tesco he enjoyed during his tenure at Lowe.

While Cadman and Lidstone can't take credit for the large network wins of Orange business-to-business and Reckitt Benckiser, their arrival has undoubtedly steadied what was a stricken ship and has stemmed the account haemorrhages that led to the agency's poor score in last year's report. No accounts left Euro RSCG London in 2006; indeed, the duo were instrumental in adding new business - including the £7 million Weight Watchers brief and smaller Staples account. Cadman and Lidstone must prove their ability to add to this list in the coming 12 months. They must also work hard to erase the longstanding divisions between the Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper and BDDH factions following the merger in 2003.

Euro RSCG has also begun the slow process of repositioning itself in the UK market. Mike Smith's appointment as its marketing chief will help the agency to maintain a robust presence on 2007's pitches, and the signing of Adam Roberts as digital creative director - working across all the agency's accounts - updates Gerry Moira's creative department and better prepares it for the challenges facing "traditional" agencies as marketers shift spend online. Nevertheless, the agency's recovery will ultimately require a significantly improved creative product.

Score last year: 3

Score this year: 5

How Euro RSCG London rates itself: 6

"2006 was a year of transformation marked by the arrival of new management. Bolstered by a new sense of purpose, an enhanced digital creative offering and the influx of new talent across the agency, we enjoyed considerable new-business success both locally and internationally. This was achieved while maintaining high levels of client satisfaction, evidenced by no account losses. Creative highlights included Citroen 'skatebot', 'football ammunition' for The Sun and E-gov print."

Type of agency: Advertising
Company ownership: Publicis Groupe subsidiary
Key personnel: Robert Senior managing partner
Laurence Green managing partner
Richard Flintham managing partner/creative director
Michael Wall president, international
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £61m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £52m
Total accounts year end: 15
Accounts won: 10 (biggest: Orange)
Accounts lost: 0
Number of staff: 120 (+25%)

The choice for Agency of the Year of both hearts and minds. Creatively, Fallon is one of the strongest shops in the world, let alone London. Its work for Sony is jealously viewed by many a rival, envious of the relationship Fallon enjoys with that client. But Sony isn't singled out for special treatment at Fallon - there's parity across the board, with the creative bar set at a nosebleeding altitude.

Thanks mainly to the Orange victory - which Fallon won alongside the Parisian Publicis shop Marcel in March - Fallon enjoyed morethan 40 weeks at the summit of the Campaign new-business league. Other wins included a place on the Cadbury roster to relaunch Bournville and the £10 million launch task for Emap's Project Jackie. Then there was the second successful defence of its place on the BBC account, the only roster agency retained by the broadcaster.

Should anyone have been left in doubt about Fallon's ability to bring in new business, its stunning victory on the Asda pitch - called just before Christmas - only served to emphasise the agency's pulling power.

Fallon's success is all about the talent at the agency, although the founding five of Richard Flintham, Laurence Green, Andy McLeod, Robert Senior and Michael Wall is now reduced to four: last autumn, McLeod announced he was quitting to pursue a directing career.

Ever mindful of the need to nurture talent, the agency unveiled a new management team. Karina Wilsher took the position of managing director, Rachel Barrie was named planning director and Mark Sinnock was promoted to director of strategy following Nikki Crumpton's defection to McCann Erickson. Additionally, the creatives Juan Cabral and Micah Walker were promoted to creative directors.

And if Fallon felt robbed at Cannes in 2006, where "balls" was pipped to the Grand Prix by Guinness "noitulove", then the agency had the last laugh: the Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO creative team behind that ad are now Fallon employees. Touche.

Score last year: 7

Score this year: 9

How Fallon rates itself: 8

"A year to bask in momentarily before doing it all again. We retained all our clients, grew existing relationships and embarked on some exciting new ones. The work was outstanding, across every client, in advertising and well beyond. Best of all, the talent pool widened and deepened. Having said all that, we do need a new building and someone stole our server. That wasn't great."

Type of agency: Multi-discipline creative
Company ownership: Cello Group subsidiary
Key personnel: Jeremy Pyne managing partner
Robert Smith managing partner
Alison Ashworth planning partner
Paul Jeffrey planning partner
Gary Robinson creative partner
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £27m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £21m Farm/£35m Leith
Total accounts year end: 28
Accounts won: 11 pre- and post-merger (biggest: DoH)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: Quorn)
Number of staff: 40 (+38%)

The merger of Farm and Leith London had a massive impact on both agencies and was responsible for a slowdown in activity in the second half of 2006.

Before the merger, Farm was having the better time, picking up business from Enjoy England, National Book Tokens and Polycell. For its part, Leith London was still reeling from the loss of Carling, its flagship account. The latter agency did pick up some business from the retailer Evans, but this was nowhere near enough to replace lost billings, or scale back redundancies, following the beer brand's departure.

Cello - the agencies' parent company - saw a merger of the two as a way of adding firepower to Farm, while keeping Leith London alive.

Since the merger, Farm has been relatively quiet, with only two wins of note - a voter brief from COI and the Skinny Cow ice-cream account. Instead, both management teams have been working hard internally to ensure the coming together is a symbiotic one. Things were falling into place by the end of the year: the newly merged agency moved into its own premises, following a short period where Leith's staff were filling any empty space in Farm's offices.

Meanwhile, north of the border, there are big clients to service - such as the soft drinks brand Irn-Bru - but the management team at Leith in Edinburgh are aware the pool of good new businesses in Scotland is limited. Consequently, 2006 saw Leith expand its offering in a bid to open fresh revenue streams and attract clients from all over the UK. As well as launching Blonde Digital, Stripe Communications, a brand consultancy, was born. The agency didn't turn its back on new business amid this expansion, winning Seat, Golden Wonder, Strathmore Mineral Water and Sol.

This year, Leith will be hoping to pull in clients from further afield than Scotland. Back in London, Farm needs to put the merger behind it and get on the new-business trail, as well as coming up with some memorable creative work.

Score last year: n/a

Score this year: -

How Farm/Leith rates itself: 6

"Farm and Leith London got together in early summer thinking we both could and should do better. Six months later, at a gathering in our soon-to-be-very- pretty new offices, we announced as our eighth consecutive new-business win. Not a lot of people are aware of that record. Only a few can better it. Consequently, we'd like to award ourselves a 7. More people should be aware though. So we'll say 6."

Mini Cooper S
Agency type: Digital advertising
Company ownership: Isobar, Aegis subsidiary
Key personnel: Mark Cridge chief executive
James Sanderson joint managing director
Jo Hagger joint managing director
Seb Royce creative director
Miranda Ross head of planning
Declared income: £6.1m (up from £4.5m in 2005)
Accounts won: 8 (biggest: Coke)
Accounts lost: 1 (T-Mobile)
Total accounts year end: 17
Advertising: 45%
E-mail/viral: 25%
Strategy: 20%
Web design: 10%
Biggest-spending clients: Sky, Virgin Trains, COI
Number of staff: 107 (+34%)

Glue London burst back on to the scene last year after a fairly quiet 2005, when it closed its doors to new business and got its house in order following its purchase for £14.7 million by Aegis' Isobar unit.

In 2006, new business boomed. The agency brought in eight significant new wins, including Adidas, Mars, Coke, RAC and Nokia as well as more work for COI. Right at year-end, glue London also won the online advertising, web design and build briefs for the RAC and Norwich Union brands.

Staff levels grew by more than one-third to cope with new business coming into the agency and its expansion following acquisition.

Creatively, the agency had a robust year. Although it walked away empty-handed from the Campaign Digital Awards, its work for the Mini Cooper S won the Internet Advertising Bureau's Creative Showcase with its "have a word" campaign in June, and glue netted four Cyber Lions at Cannes, outstripping all of its UK rivals.

Less positive, however, was the loss of the T-Mobile account - which had been with the agency for five years - following a review of the business.

Perhaps one of the most significant developments last year, though, was the launch of Anorak, a separate sister agency intended to focus on digital design and production, which will also be able to function as a conflict-shop. The expansion shows the group is looking beyond online advertising, a reflection of the continuing convergence of the media marketplace.

If glue's track record is anything to go by, Anorak will be one to watch during the coming year.

Score last year: 8

Score this year: 8

How glue London rates itself: 8

"Creatively, we had another fantastic year, and 2006 was also about a focus on new business that saw us pick up a string of quality clients. Our income grew 30 per cent, our staff to 107. We set up Anorak and grew Superglue (interactive video content unit) - glue is buzzing."

Type of agency: Integrated advertising
Company ownership: Private company
Key personnel: Chris Lovell group chief executive
Ken Copson advertising chairman
Mike Leeson advertising managing director
Phil Hickes joint creative head
Martin Bush joint creative head
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £34m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £41m
Total accounts year end: 91
Accounts won: 34 (biggest: COI anti-smoking)
Accounts lost: 4 (biggest: Barratt South Wales)
TV: 12%
Press: 68%
Outdoor: 10%
Radio: 8%
Other: 2%
Number of staff: 90 (-9%)

Golley Slater's regional network is fast carving out a position as the dominant multi-service player outside London. The agency now has 11 offices, and offers integrated marketing solutions to clients including Mitsubishi Motors Europe, Euronics and COI.

Key to its growth is an aggressive acquisition strategy. Last year, it added a Yorkshire office with the purchase of McCann Erickson Leeds, and it launched a digital service with the purchase of the London-based Push Digital in February. That offering was expanded in November with the addition of a number of digital teams in other Golley Slater offices around the country.

Account wins last year were relatively small, but numerous nonetheless. The agency picked up a direct and customer relationship marketing brief from the discount retailer TK Maxx, won the above-the-line duties for the online launch of the second-hand goods retailer Cash Converters, and picked up the UK launch task for the Californian raisin brand Sun Maid.

Its highest-profile activity last year was the COI and Welsh Assembly-backed anti-smoking work that broke in August; Golley Slater won the brief after a three-way pitch with other roster shops.

Chief executive Chris Lovell's challenge for the coming 12 months is to continue to convince clients that his network is a master, not a Jack, of all the trades it practises. With a growing number of agencies looking to build an integrated offering, Golley Slater has a head start and now needs a greater presence to capitalise on its expertise. To this end, its plan to move its headquarters from Cardiff to London underlines both its need and its ambition.

Score last year: n/a

Score this year: 6

How Golley Slater rates itself: 7

"Golley Slater is in the ascendancy. Celebrating 50 years in 2007, the agency spent the last 18 months strengthening both its national presence and multi-disciplinary offering. This vigorous re-positioning was reflected in a series of new-business wins. Golleys triumphed in its first COI pitch since returning to the roster, as well as securing high-profile successes with clients including Sun Maid Raisins, TK Maxx, Canon and Euronics. The group also developed its relationship with key client Mitsubishi."

Virgin Mobile
Type of agency: Communications planning
Company ownership: Minority owned by Omnicom
Key personnel: Andrew Stephens founding partner
Ben Hayes founding partner
Nick Manning Omnicom board member
Simon Wilden planning director
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: n/a
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: n/a
Total accounts year end: 30
Accounts won: 12 (biggest: Virgin Media comms planning)
Accounts lost: 1 (Merlin Entertainment)
Number of staff: 10 (+100%)

Goodstuff started the year with a big question mark over the future of its founding (and largest) client, Virgin Mobile. The agency answered emphatically when it pulled off a considerable coup, winning the communications planning for the enlarged group following Virgin's merger with ntl: Telewest.

This was the highlight of Goodstuff's year and allowed the business to double its headcount to ten, with the hiring of senior talent including Simon Wilden, the former strategy director at Naked Communications, and Paul Gayfer, one of the partners of Naked Australia.

Goodstuff's founding partners, Ben Hayes and Andrew Stephens, remained at the helm and added other clients. Wins included the global communications planning for Dr Martens, planning work on the Conservative Party's "tosser" campaign, Filofax and Getty Images.

It also won the planning task for the ill-fated Chariot Lottery venture, which was forced to scale back its media spend following a disastrous launch period. Chariot aside, the agency's only loss was the £500,000 Merlin Entertainment business. Another disappointment was Goodstuff's failure to make the COI planning roster.

Creative highlights during the year included the work on ntl:Telewest's repositioning ("If you can, you should"), as well as positioning Old Jamaican Ginger Beer as the "unofficial" beer of the World Cup and creating the Dr Martens FREEDM activity.

Overall, Goodstuff delivered on the challenges it faced during 2006 and, although it remains a small business, it has done well in converting the majority of its accounts into retained business. Greater levels of growth and work that creates an industry buzz - along the lines of its 2005 live TV ad activity for Virgin Mobile - must now be targets for 2007.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 6

How Goodstuff rates itself: 7

"The Goodstuff family doubled in size during 2006 (30 clients, ten staff) and we've created a new home in Marylebone. Our biggest win this year was the £50 million ntl/Virgin Media account, alongside appointments by the Conservatives, Dr Martens, Getty Images, Podshow, London Clubs International, Virgin Active and Fentimans. We've also maintained and grown our network of creative agency partners. The only thing not to have gone well this year was our Ping-Pong performances."

Type of agency: Digital advertising
Company ownership: Private company
Key personnel: Matt Nicholls partner
Rob Forshaw partner
Rich Coggin creative director
Declared income: £5m (up from £4m in 2005)
Total accounts year end: 14
Accounts won: 7 (biggest: Energy Saving Trust)
Accounts lost: 1 (Cahoot)
Web design and development: 40%
Online advertising: 35%
Digital strategy: 15%
E-mail: 4%
Mobile: 4%
iTV: 2%
Biggest-spending clients: Abbey, Energy Saving Trust, COI
Number of staff: 60 (+30%)

Grand Union's blip has grown considerably stronger on the industry radar over the past two years. But 2006 proved a bit more of a bumpy ride when compared with the previous 12 months' activity.

The agency debuted in our school reports in 2005 following its £7 million Abbey account win, after which the client promptly moved the £5 million online banking brand Cahoot into the agency ... Happy days.

But Cahoot walked within six months (April 2006) due to a renewed focus on direct marketing. Perhaps the heaviest blow for Grand Union, though, was the managing director Lee Wright's departure to rival Dare. Rather than replacing her, Grand Union ultimately opted to announce an interesting restructure instead. In November, it divided the company into three mini-agencies: an attempt to hold on to the boutique feel that currently characterises its staff and culture.

Despite these people and business reshuffles, it is to the agency's credit that 2006 was still a strong year for winning new work. Grand Union added, among others, Boots, Digital UK, nPower, the British Army and the Energy Saving Trust to its books, as well as a number of tasks from COI, including a sexual health campaign and work from the Department for Education and Skills. Its branded content start-up Hubbub also thrived, winning new business from PlayStation, Hugo Boss and Lacoste.

Grand Union has plenty to be getting on with for the next year as, creatively, it still lags behind most of its rivals. Given that the agency is also planning to top its staff numbers up to the 100 mark over the next 12 months, it will be interesting to see how well it manages to hold on to the boutique ethos. The importance of maintaining a consistent essence, positioning and culture is well recognised, whatever the agency discipline.

Score last year: 7

Score this year: 6

How Grand Union rates itself: 8.5

"The biggest win of the year was Energy Saving Trust in January and the biggest loss was Lee Wright. Our year seemed to get better regardless, with more new-business wins including Boots, Digital UK, nPower, Student Finance, the British Army and sexual health campaign. Hubbub, our branded content start-up, went from strength to strength. Roll on 2007!"

Type of agency: Advertising
Company ownership: WPP subsidiary
Key personnel: Chris Hirst managing director
David Alberts chairman and executive creative director
John Lowery head of planning
Nicola Mendelsohn deputy chairman
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £160m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £191m
Total accounts year end: 54
Accounts won: 9 (biggest: Morgan Stanley)
Accounts lost: 3 (biggest: AOL)
Number of staff: 204 (+7.8%)

It only takes a couple of months to make or break an agency's fortunes for the entire calendar year. Grey London had a hectic end to 2006, but with an unenviable outcome.

Up until November, the agency had been safely treading water - it hadn't done anything particularly outstanding, but was not looking to be in any sort of trouble that a nice win and a good creative campaign couldn't sort out.

It had picked up a few wins - Morgan Stanley, a Hugo Boss fragrance launch and a Christmas campaign for Toys 'R' Us - and had not lost any business.

Then in November, in one of the strangest pitches of the year, Grey was offered a chance of ending 2006 on a real high as the Sky business came up for grabs.

The agency jeopardised its hold on its remaining AOL business (that which was not bought by the Carphone Warehouse) in order to have a run at the £75 million Sky prize. Many in the industry thought the Sky brief was a shoe-in for Sir Martin Sorrell's outfit.

However, things didn't quite turn out that way. Grey was beaten by WCRS and finished the year bewildered and beleaguered. No Sky, and minus AOL - a client for which it had produced probably its best creative work of last year.

The results are already playing out. The agency is seeking a new chief executive, acknowledging that the outgoing Tamara Ingram's key relationship with Procter & Gamble was too much of a distraction and required her full attention.

Score last year: 4

Score this year: 4

How Grey rates itself: 6

"Some say it's what's on the inside that counts ... If so, our best-ever year for creative awards (four gongs at Cannes), our best-ever year for effectiveness (third most shortlisted at the IPA), and our best-ever year for profit (that would be telling) suggest a 6. Others believe it's what's on the outside that counts ... If you believe everything you read, we'd get a 3. Inside or outside, what do you think?"

Type of agency: Brand response
Company ownership: WPP subsidiary
Key personnel: Steve Harrison chairman and creative director
John Butler chief executive
David Reed planning director
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £8m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £8m
Total accounts year end: 17
Accounts won: 6 (biggest: Kraft)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: Star Alliance)
Number of staff: 175 (+66% including Wunderman Interactive merger)

2006 was a year of transition for Harrison Troughton Wunderman. It sought to re-establish itself in the UK market, while simultaneously cementing its position in the Wunderman network. Several changes took place, each of them significant.

First came the promotion of the chairman and creative director, Steve Harrison, to worldwide creative director of Wunderman. Harrison will fly round the world, imparting his creative genius to network agencies. He will need to relinquish some control of London, which has been handed to Nigel Webb and Jamie Bell. Under them, the work has continued to shine, with five Campaign Direct silvers and a new campaign for Microsoft.

The next upheaval was the integration of its interactive arm with the DM agency - a sign that HTW was moving into the digital age.

But the biggest change came in the middle of that merger, with the arrival of John Butler as the chief executive. Determined to return the agency to its former glory, his first move was to eliminate the joint managing directors and restructure the agency into three client-focused groups.

Change rarely comes without some setbacks and two of the agency's award-winning clients - M&G Investments and Star Alliance - reviewed within weeks of each other. However, this was by no means disastrous, although HTW's new-business wins didn't make up for the losses.

Victories included Foster's, the US haulage company YRC and Encams, the environmental charity behind the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. It also benefited from network wins such as and Kraft.

Like all agencies of a certain age, HTW has had to reposition to stay relevant. It's too early to tell if this will have the desired effect. The departure of the HTW Interactive joint managing directors - Jon Williams and Nick Stewart - to Bartle Bogle Hegarty will only slow down that process.

Score last year: 7

Score this year: 6

How Harrison Troughton Wunderman rates itself: 7

"Another year of strong progress. We lost M&G and Star Alliance but added Foster's, Monster, Kraft and three others. We parted company with joint managing directors but welcomed a new CEO and a new head of data strategy. We also merged Wunderman Interactive into HTW and added iMpact, our fast-response studio. As ever, our creative was industry-leading with a record five Campaign Directs alongside good showings at Cannes and the DMAs."

The Royal Marines
Type of agency: Digital media
Company ownership: Privately owned
Key personnel: David Pattison incoming group chief executive
Faith Carthy group managing director
Ed Ling strategy development director
Andrew Walmsley co-founder and deputy chairman
Charlie Dobres co-founder and non-executive director
Declared income: n/s
Total accounts year end: 24
Accounts won: 16 including projects (biggest: n/s)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: n/s)
Media planning and strategy: 80%
Consultancy: 20%
Biggest-spending clients: n/s
Number of staff: 120 (+44%)

I-level, one of the industry's oldest timers and few independents, had a robust 2006.

The surge in online investment was, naturally, of huge benefit to the agency during the year, with billings rising from £50 million to around £80 million. The media planning and buying specialist also made some significant appointments as it continued to mature. I-level's head count grew more than 40 per cent, and it appointed its first managing director for i-level Ltd, Mark Creighton, a new group marketing director, Peter Suchet, and a managing director for the standalone consultancy Generator, Martin Sutton.

Oh, and David Pattison - the "P" from PHD - joined early in 2007 as well, making a swift and welcome return to the industry as i-level Group's chief executive.

New-business wins for 2006 ballooned from the modest six accounts the agency won in 2005. This was mostly thanks to Generator, which helped to land the i-level Group 16 new briefs last year.

True to form, the agency also remained at the front line of new-media developments. I-level ran one of the first major in-game advertising campaigns - for Orange - in a downloadable PC snowboarding game which ran during the Orange British Snowboarding Championships in March. The agency was also the first to secure a podcast sponsorship, striking a deal for the online banking client Smile with Capital Radio.

Significantly, i-level showed its ability to think through the line in 2006 as well. The company came up with the idea of producing TV films distributed online for the clients Energy Saving Trust and The Royal Marines. Pushing the boundaries of media thinking, while staffing up at a senior level and winning a rash of new business along the way, all equated to a year the agency can be proud of.

Score last year: 9

Score this year: 8

How i-level Group rates itself: 7.25

"Substantial new assignments from existing clients joined important new wins, boosting growth to more than 50 per cent for the fourth year running. Now with over 120 people, the agency is racing ahead: deploying web 2.0 technology that helps planners share information as they work. In 2006, the agency was, for the third time, one of The Sunday Times Best Small Companies To Work For, and a 'Hot 100' company - the fastest-growing companies in the UK in 2006."

20th Century Fox
Type of agency: Brand comms and innovation consultancy
Company ownership: Private company
Key personnel: Chris Ingram founding partner
Andy Tilley partner
Leslie Butterfield managing partner
Alastair Rhymer finance partner
Simon Toaldo managing director
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: n/a
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: n/a
Total accounts year end: n/a (all project work)
Accounts won: 43 projects (biggest: 20th Century Fox)
Accounts lost: n/a
Number of staff: 31 (UK only, no change on 2005)

Ingram, now well into its fourth year of trading, continues to be a quietly successful business that is beginning to make waves outside of the UK.

Positioned as a brand consultancy-come-management consultancy, Ingram launched into Asia in April with the acquisition of the Hong Kong-based the Brand Company, its third office after London and New York. Its partners, Peter Wilken and James Stuart, will spearhead a move into China over the next couple of years.

In the UK, there were signs that the business - founded by Chris Ingram in 2003 - is maturing. Ingram hired the company's first managing director, the former Euro RSCG managing director Simon Toaldo, with a brief to grow the critical mass of the London operation.

During 2006, Ingram made small steps in that direction by expanding its relationship with 20th Century Fox and retaining its position on the COI planning roster. Ingram lost senior staff in the shape of the founding partner Glynn Britton, who joined Albion, and Elizabeth Kesses, who joined 20th Century Fox as the UK marketing director. However, it enjoyed the welcome return of partner Andy Tilley after illness.

Other senior hirings at the UK office included Lisa Aitken from the Engine-owned company Element as an associate partner and Starcom's Duncan James as a strategist.

Ingram's ambitions for 2007 are to grow its three small businesses into larger operations. Client demand for planning work across multiple international markets may help it to achieve this, but Ingram faces increased competition in the media sector from the traditional management consultancies.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 6

How Ingram rates itself: 7

"A solid year for Ingram in the UK with strong growth internationally following the acquisition of HK office in April. Forty-three projects won: largest was greatly expanded global role with Fox including handling $1 billion global media agency review. Ingram made three partner-level appointments in January, including Simon Toaldo, MD of Euro RSCG, whose prime task is to help scale the business. Chris Ingram will now concentrate on developing the embryonic network."

Type of agency: Media
Company ownership: Interpublic subsidiary
Key personnel: Jerry Hill UK chief executive, joint COO, EMEA
Gary Birtles managing director
Danny Donovan deputy managing director
Tony Manwaring communications planning director
Hannah Chiswick marketing director
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £372m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £470m
Total accounts year end: 66
Accounts won: 13 (biggest: Burger King)
Accounts lost: 3 (biggest: General Motors)
TV: 51%
Press: 29%
Outdoor: 8%
Radio: 4%
Below the line: 1%
Other (including online): 7%
Number of staff: 163 (no change)

It was another grim year for Initiative. The main pain came in September, when it suffered the body blow of losing its £85 million UK General Motors brief as part of the car giant's pan-European move out of Interpublic's media agencies.

Being kind, you might say this has more to do with the state of IPG's global media operations than Initiative's local team. But whatever way you slice it, the loss questions the agency's position in the UK market.

And there was more bad news on the client front, with the loss of the Del Monte and National Magazine Company accounts.

Indecision at senior IPG levels over the group's media offering doesn't seem to have helped Initiative, as the holding company eventually decided to scrap its IPG Media offering and instead create an "alignment" with its sister creative agency Draft/FCB. It's yet to emerge what this will mean in the UK, or the rest of the world for that matter.

However, in the first few months of the year, there had been signs of hope for Initiative. It captured the Burger King, Bang & Olufsen and Fujitsu Siemens accounts as part of international new-business wins, and it also created a more tightly defined European structure under the UK chief executive, Jerry Hill, and his co- European chief operating officer, Dirk Wiedenmann.

But despite Initiative's capture late in the year of the Pfizer Consumer Healthcare business, it still has many questions to answer. First, it must steady the ship by averting any more reviews - Tesco especially - and then convince new clients that it has something to offer in the UK. No easy task.

Score last year: 4

Score this year: 3

How Initiative rates itself: 6

"Our digital capability is now firmly integrated into communication planning, supported by agency-wide training and development. This has led to some ground-breaking work, including the award-winning RoC interactive AFP campaign. The regrettable loss of GM was outside our, or the local client's, control. We have achieved 13 new-business wins, the most significant being Burger King in six markets from a pitch led by the UK."

M&G Investments
Type of agency: Integrated/multidiscipline
Company ownership: WPP subsidiary
Key personnel: Peter Thompson chief executive
Nick Spindler managing director
Christian Clark executive creative director
Rod Clausen executive creative director
Dick Bloomfield business development director
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £9m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £3m
Total accounts year end: 25
Accounts won: 9 (biggest: M&G Investments)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: NatWest Loans)
Number of staff: 221 (+5%)

It was another solid year for the agency, with wins comfortably outstripping losses, and personnel issues kept to a minimum. The biggest single talking point - a restructuring exercise undertaken by its parent company, WPP, at Joshua's global corporate level - had little immediate impact on the day-to-day running of Joshua G2.

In 2005, we noted continuing disquiet in the upper echelons of WPP at the fact Joshua G2 was often finding itself in head-to-head pitches with its stablemate, Grey. Back in June, the parent outfit moved to resolve this issue once and for all. It created the worldwide G2 network, an umbrella brand for WPP's below-the-line operations, including Grey Direct, Grey Interactive MDS and a number of local operations, such as Joshua in London, hence the rebrand to Joshua G2; it will now be interesting to see what impact there will be, if any, on Joshua G2's new-business activities over the longer term.

During 2006, Joshua G2 was the net beneficiary of account juggling within the family, when Sara Lee moved its £6.5 million Ambi Pur air freshener account out of Grey London and into Joshua G2 as part of a renewed focus on integration. The central question posed is the extent to which Joshua G2 will continue (or be allowed to continue) to punch above its weight where international tasks and global brands are concerned.

Other notable account successes included its retention of a share of the £35 million Post Office account following a protracted review. It also won £15 million of strategic customer relationship work across Nestle's beverage brands; and emerged victorious in the £3 million M&G Investments pitch. Losses of note came in the form of NatWest Loans and Norwich and Peterborough Building Society.

But these are tough times for direct marketing agencies, and Joshua G2 was not immune. In August, it made three creative teams redundant as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 6

How Joshua G2 rates itself: 7

"Our wins for Post Office, Tussauds Group, Sara Lee, Bijoux Jewellery, M&G, Nokia, Privilege, Canderel and News International more than outweighed our losses of NatWest (roster review) and AOL (client sale).

"These wins were across the board for advertising, direct, CRM, promotional marketing and interactive, which now involves everything we do. Indeed, our commitment to treating digital as a medium and not as a separate discipline has put us in the forefront of the new-media debate."

Type of agency: Full service
Company ownership: WPP subsidiary
Key personnel: Toby Hoare chief executive Europe
Alison Burns chief executive London
Hugh Duthie head of planning
Sally Spensley UK group chief financial officer
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £350m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £337m
Total accounts year end: 27
Accounts won: 7 (biggest: Kimberly-Clark)
Accounts lost: 4 (biggest: Reckitt Benckiser)
Number of staff: 278 (-9%)

After the agency's abysmal end to 2005 - with the business losing clients hand over fist and many senior management leaving - it looked as if JWT had slumped as far as it could. Unfortunately for the embattled agency, by the end of 2006 its position had not only failed to improve, but had tangibly deteriorated even further.

Its wins - Smirnoff Ice, the A1 Grand Prix and Blossom Hill being the three of note - do not come anywhere close to recuperating the staggering amount of billings (around £110 million) that left the agency in 2006. These departures included Vodafone's UK business, the massive Reckitt Benckiser account, Merrill Lynch and Kingsmill, as well as the resignation of WeightWatchers.

In early 2006, with the appointment of Alison Burns - a battling ex-England women's rugby player who had been working in the US - to the position of chief executive, it looked as if the agency may be making some progress. That looked true when, early on, she forced JWT on to the McCain pitch, albeit unsuccessfully.

This view was reinforced further when Burns reached over the pond to pluck Hugh Duthie from TBWA\Chiat\Day to replace Russ Lidstone as JWT's executive planning director.

However, the new blood has simply failed to give the agency the shot in the arm it so desperately needed, leading to constant rumours surrounding the safety of Burns' job and the future of JWT's remaining accounts, such as HSBC.

This fear led WPP to strengthen the network by making a few personnel changes. Michael Maedel moved to Asia, Toby Hoare took his place running Europe and Guy Murphy was drafted in from Bartle Bogle Hegarty as the global planning director.

However, the network must now rethink the strategy of the London agency before it implodes. The exit of the executive creative director, Nick Bell, early this year shows the network is putting on the pressure.

Score last year: 4

Score this year: 3

How JWT rates itself: 5

"2006 has been a year of transformation for JWT London. February saw the arrival of Alison Burns as the chief executive, and by October she had put an entirely new management team in place.

"A tough year was balanced by a strong creative performance, resulting in a highly respectable number seven in the 2006 Gunn Report Agency League.

"In 2007, JWT London looks set to evolve further."

The Conservative Party
Type of agency: Communications (advertising specialist)
Company ownership: Private company
Key personnel: Dave Buonaguidi creative partner
Ben Bilboul managing partner
Sid McGrath planning partner
Dan Worrell head of account management
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £8m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £9m
Total accounts year end: 17
Accounts won: 14 (biggest: Pipex)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: UKTV)
Number of staff: 25 (+50%)

Karmarama went into 2006 on a low. The shock departure of the founding partner, Naresh Ramchandani, at the end of 2005 left the sole creative partner, Dave Buonaguidi, and the managing partners, Ben Bilboul and Paddy Barnes, to pick up the pieces.

But the agency did just that. Fortunes improved in both new-business and creative terms. The tone for pitch successes was set in December 2005, when Karmarama picked up the Amstel account following a two-way shoot-out against Clemmow Hornby Inge. This turnaround continued into 2006, with the agency successfully bagging 14 new-business wins (projects included) for the likes of Kickers, Imedeen, Costa and the Conservative Party. In addition, it captured the £10 million creative account for the telecoms and the internet services company Pipex.

The year also saw the introduction of a restructured management team. Following the departure of the planning partner, Nick Barham, last July and Paddy Barnes' exit in April, the agency added fresh clout to its line-up in May with the appointment of Sid McGrath. The ex-United London managing director is well regarded in the industry; he joined Karmarama as the planning partner, forming the missing link in the agency's depleted senior team.

Creatively, the agency's controversial viral for the Conservative Party - a key client win - paid off. The "tosser inside" campaign attracted lots of media attention and was certainly memorable. However, Karmarama shouldn't get carried away with all the chatter - the year wasn't without its failures. UKTV, one of the agency's flagship accounts, moved its £6 million creative brief - previously shared with Mother - in-house. The loss of the Opodo account in June also dented the agency's new-found confidence.

It has been a solid year for Karmarama, but question marks still linger over whether or not this small shop can continue its run of new-business success without compromising its creative output and losing its grip on other key clients.

Score last year: 4

Score this year: 5

How Karmarama rates itself: 7

"Karmarama's best year ever. Picking up 14 new accounts and taking on some of the best agencies in town along the way; reviving "The Hoff's" (David Hasselhoff) career with Pipex; introducing the world to "the Tosser" courtesy of the Conservatives; going multimedia, with digital projects for ten of our clients; and hiring the extremely tall and talented Sid McGrath as our planning partner. All this, without becoming tossers along the way. We're not called Karmarama for nothing."

Type of agency: Integrated
Company ownership: Private company
Key personnel: Paul Kitcatt creative partner
Marc Nohr managing partner
Vonnie Alexander client partner
Jeremy Shaw chairman
Lazar Dzamic planning director
Nielsen Media Research billing 2006: £5m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £6m
Total accounts year end: 18
Accounts won: 5 (biggest: Norwich Union)
Accounts lost: 0
Number of staff: 50 (+19%)

Nobody can dispute that Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw had a cracking 2006. At just four years old, it was the youngest agency to appear on Campaign's Agency of the Year shortlist, and it put in a powerful performance that any agency would be proud of.

After Campaign challenged it to win more consumer brands, Kitcatt Nohr scooped Waitrose and Citroen - trouncing many of its more established rivals. It beat Partners Andrews Aldridge to the Norwich Union Healthcare business and, as a result of that win, was handed the £20 million DM account for Norwich Union Direct without a pitch. It also won the anti-smoking pitch for the Department of Health, proving that it is still a favourite in the not-for-profit sector and, along with Waitrose, that helped its new-business billings reach more than £35 million.

This financial success enabled the founders to buy the 40 per cent of its shares owned by Mentor Marketing Investment, which had backed its launch. Paul Kitcatt, Marc Nohr, Vonnie Alexander and Jeremy Shaw are now in possession of 90 per cent of the agency.

Creatively, its Virgin Holidays work was the most high profile. The agency is known for delivering well-written work based on strong ideas, which is sometimes let down by art direction. Now that it has a raft of strong consumer brands on its books, being dominated by not-for-profit accounts (whose budgets don't stretch to quality paper) will no longer be an excuse for executions that are less than dazzling.

Score last year: 7

Score this year: 8

How Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw rates itself: 8

"In last year's school reports, Campaign challenged us to win some car and financial accounts. So, not wanting to disappoint, we did, in the form of Citroen and Norwich Union. Our luck continued with Waitrose and the DoH's anti-smoking campaign. We've had an incredible run, and with 17 major creative awards for existing clients, we have a happy team. Are we banging our own drum? Yes. But given the year that we've had, we'd be daft not to."

Type of agency: Communications
Company ownership: Private company
Key personnel: Barry Cook founding partner
Nick Hastings founding partner
John Quarrey founding partner
Malcolm White founding partner
Mark Coldham head of project management
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006:: £16m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £9,310
Total accounts year end: 6
Accounts won: 5 (biggest: Fiat)
Accounts lost: 0
Number of staff: 25 (+80%)

It was a credible first full year for the agency, which opened its doors in September 2005. True, its founders have genuine pedigree - Nick Hastings is a former creative director of Euro RSCG and D'Arcy; Barry Cook was previously the managing director of both Leo Burnett and D'Arcy; Malcolm White was formerly the Euro RSCG planning director, and John Quarry was the chief executive of Arc for Europe.

Still, even when you allow for all the benefits that this quartet brings, Krow didn't half come quickly out of the traps. The agency won a place on the coveted Unilever roster, was appearing in the top ten of the Campaign new-business league table by July, and doubled its staff numbers - from 15 to 30 - during the year.

Krow is "work" backwards. And the philosophy of the agency is to do just that: find out exactly what the client wants as an outcome, and then produce work precisely tailored to that end. So far, Krow looks to have captured imaginations with this approach.

Account win highlights included being appointed for the Alfa Romeo Brera launch campaign, and then wresting Fiat's £3.5 million UK account from Leo Burnett. In October, it won a £3.5 million integrated brief on the Unilever brand Elmlea and went into the Christmas period in high spirits after scooping the £10 million Thomson Holidays brief. But let's not get carried away just yet. Krow still has a bit to prove - it needs to establish a broader client base and great creative work for a start. That said, if it can build on the progressive 12 months of 2006, then it can face 2007 with some confidence.

Score last year: n/a

Score this year: 7

How Krow rates itself: 7

"In our first full year, we have gained more than £40 million billings, won five out of six pitches; added blue-chip clients such as Unilever, Fiat and Thomson Holidays to our client list. Our first film for Fiat ran in the UK and six other European markets, and 2007 will see our first work for Thomson and Unilever. We have also doubled in size. We think this bodes well for 2007."

Agency type: Digital
Company ownership: 100% owned by LBi International AB
Key personnel: Luke Taylor chief executive
Ewen Sturgeon managing director
Mike Mulligan managing partner
Thomas Elken Boisen financial director
Declared income: £36m of fee income
Total accounts year end: 222 (including media)
Accounts won: 31 (biggest: BT Global Services)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: Blacks Leisure Group)
Website design and build: 55%
Online marketing, viral email, etc: 10%
Consultancy: 10%
Search marketing: 7.5%
Other online media planning and buying: 7.5%
Strategy and Planning: 5%
Interactive TV projects: 2.5%
Mobile: 2.5%
Biggest-spending clients: BT, M&S, British Gas
Number of staff: 420 (+12%)

LBi stands out from many of the other digital shops in our school reports as a much larger-scale operation. The group is a truly global operator, with offices in 26 countries and more in the pipeline. Although AKQA and boast micro-networks, LBi is only really rivalled in terms of scale by Isobar.

And this digital behemoth is a newcomer to both the school reports and the industry itself - having only been created in the first quarter of 2006, after the combination of Wheel and the Scandinavian agency Framfab.

But the newly formed entity certainly didn't hang about on the new-business front, despite the upheaval. LBi scooped a staggering 32 accounts last year, the biggest being BT Global Services, which is worth around £15 million. BT specifically wanted an agency that could help progress its international profile, and consequently was impressed by LBi's global reach.

Its services are also a lot more diverse than many of its rivals, focusing on website design and build as well as consultancy, search and interactive TV.

LBi is still a largely unknown player. So the next 12 months will be crucial in establishing creative credibility, as LBi currently lacks the kudos in that department enjoyed by some of the UK's smaller shops. It also needs to overcome negative perceptions of it as a lumpen corporate operation, due to its size and scale.

Score last year: n/a

Score this year: -

How LBi rates itself: 9

"As the industry continues to grow in size to maturity, our prospects are excellent. Our full-service approach, which by definition is the fusion of strategy, creative, media and technology across all digital touch points, allows us to deliver high-impact, high-profile executions that are well targeted, extremely effective and highly measurable. We continue to think broadly about the digital channels, using them to create buzz, generate preference, and build loyal customer relationships."

Agency type: Advertising with design and digital unit
Company ownership: Private company
Key personnel: Tim Delaney chairman
Margaret Johnson group managing director
Elliot Moss managing director
Rob Burleigh creative director
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £19m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £28m
Total accounts year end: 19
Accounts won: 6 (biggest: Skoda across Europe)
Accounts lost: 1 (BlackBerry)
Number of staff: 60 (+10%)

Leagas Delaney's appointment last year as the main international agency on Skoda's £25 million European account may turn out to be a defining moment.

The agency agrees it has not been hitting the headlines in the way it used to. It suggests this may be because it has not been consistent enough in articulating what it is and what it stands for.

True or not, one thing is certain - Leagas Delaney needs to win more new business. What's more, it needs more eye-catching household names on its client list. BlackBerry might have been one, but what was expected to be a £4 million pan-European account proved illusory, and the relationship between client and agency ended in June after just six months.

As a result, its best creative work has been confined to a handful of clients. Most notably, Goodyear tyres and Reebok, whose campaign starring the Arsenal striker Thierry Henry exemplifies the integration of above-the-line activity with online.

Unlikely as it may sound, one account that could prove a creative catalyst is Stannah Stairlifts. The very name provokes mirth, but the agency took on its £2 million business in September with the promise of advertising that would talk about old-age honestly and in a non-patronising way.

It is the type of assignment that, a few years ago, would have seemed totally at odds with the young hotshop Leagas Delaney used to be. In fact, the agency is now 27 years old. While it cannot match the cool credentials of some of its rivals, it can often beat them on experience.

Score last year: 5

Score this year: 4

How Leagas Delaney rates itself: 7

"Highlights: Creating an integrated campaign for Reebok with a series of web-based films, striking press and outdoor; winning Skoda internationally; setting up a new office in Prague; further developing the highly effective and award-winning Nationwide campaign; ten million hits in six months for our Goodyear virals; hosting the first Advertising World Cup; creating which has brought to life Emirates' sponsorship of Arsenal, and developing a programme for the anti-human-trafficking charity Stop the Traffik."

Virgin Games
Agency type: Digital advertising
Company ownership: Private company
Key personnel: Sam Ball creative partner
Dave Bedwood creative partner
David Cox technical partner
Tom Bazeley managing partner
Declared income: £700,000 (up from £400,000 in 2005)
Total accounts year end: 9
Accounts won: 6 (biggest: Emirates)
Accounts lost: 1 (biggest: GLA)
Creative: 100%
Biggest-spending clients: COI, Virgin, Emirates
Number of staff: 10 (+80%)

One of the smallest agencies in this year's report, Lean Mean Fighting Machine punched well above its weight in 2006. The agency grew from six to ten people during the year, and pulled in six big pieces of new business from some heavyweight clients including Emirates, Virgin Games, COI, First Choice and Mitsubishi Cars. It did lose one account - the Greater London Authority.

Amid this otherwise-impressive winning streak, it also continued to flex its creative muscle. LMFM won a silver and a bronze at the Cannes Cyber Lions for its work for Wild Animus, the fantasy book by Rich Shapiro. A banner ad drags the user into a strange, dark world of horned monsters and spooky sounds, Blair Witch-esque in style and thoroughly intriguing. LMFM also won a One Show award for the film the agency made about itself, set in 2054, with each partner and director played by an old man.

Improving on 2005, when the agency had no retained clients, it now has two - Virgin Games and the International Herald Tribune. The high-profile client wins of 2006, combined with that retained business and the appointment of a new technical director, Adam Johnson (formerly doing the same job at Agency Republic), suggest that the agency has finally got its head around some key client and business issues.

The new-business wins help assure LMFM's future much more firmly than the project work of the past two years. The question for this year is: can it keep up the creative momentum and business wins with such a small team?

Score last year: 5

Score this year: 6

How LMFM rated itself: 6

"There is a natural tension between the pursuit of creativity, selling our clients' products and paying the bills. We seem to have juggled these well in 2006. The exciting part of all this is the fact that we've only scratched the surface of what digital can do both creatively and commercially."

Type of agency: Full-service creative
Company ownership: Publicis Groupe subsidiary
Key personnel: Bruce Haines group chief executive
Paul Lawson managing director
Jim Thornton executive creative director
Ali Bucknall executive planning director
Kate Harrison head of account management
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £181m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £186m
Total accounts year end: 23
Accounts won: 12 including repitches (biggest: Department for Transport
Climate Change)
Accounts lost: 4 (biggest: Fiat)
Number of staff: 212 (-3%)

In 2005, Leo Burnett found a sense of purpose and dynamism previously lacking. The agency began 2006 in similar fashion: swaggering through January and February with account wins for Coca-Cola's corporate business, Ladbrokes' £3.5 million account and Del Monte's £5 million pan-European business.

Its creative credentials were also boosted when HHCL's respected duo Jonathan Burley and Jim Bolton took up their seats in the agency at the right hand of the creative director, Jim Thornton. For good measure, the agency's work for Samsung during the World Cup was Campaign Pick of the Week.

Further good news came when the Department for Transport - with which, thanks to the outstanding road-safety work, Burnett has a close relationship - awarded it two further bits of business. However, mid-way through the year, the swagger seemed to turn into more of a stagger, as two of the agency's biggest UK accounts - Fiat and Heinz - walked out the door.

There was also trouble on the agency's flagship McDonald's business when TBWA, the other roster agency, picked up an important product innovation brief from the retailer. This led to speculation over Burnett's grip on the business.

The agency then narrowly missed out on the Morrisons pitch, as well as falling on shaky times with client Beck's, after the network's Chicago office lost the global account. However, the UK arm managed to cling on to the InBev business in the UK.

The agency also lost one of its wiser heads and steadier hands with the departure of Richard Pinder, the president of Leo Burnett EMEA, who left the network to join Publicis as its chief operating officer.

The year certainly had its downs. But there were more positives, a fact underlined when Burnett ended 2006 by picking up the Barclays iShares business and the Orville Popcorn account.

Score last year: 6

Score this year: 5

How Leo Burnett rates itself: 7

"Thirteen new clients in very different sectors - Barclay's iShares to DfT's Climate Change. Success at IPA Effectiveness Awards, winning gold, silver and the Special Prize. Our Teen Road Safety campaign triumphed at all major creative awards, winning 13 golds overall. We continued to look beyond the conventional - brokering a deal between the charity Shelter and Douglas & Gordon Estate Agents to showcase the plight of the homeless. We also launched in Second Life - the first agency to do so."

Innocent Smoothies
Type of agency: Advertising /total communications
Company ownership: Interpublic subsidiary
Key personnel: Amanda Walsh chief executive
Ed Morris executive creative director
Rebecca Morgan chief strategy officer
Judy Mitchem chief marketing officer
Nielsen Media Research billings 2006: £99m
Nielsen Media Research billings 2005: £172m
Total accounts year end: 12
Accounts won: 2 (biggest: John Lewis)
Accounts lost: 1 (Hellmann's)
Number of staff: 135 (-18.7%)

Lowe London must undoubtedly have planned to keep its head down and weather a tough, Tesco-less start to 2006. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans ...

Following Tesco's decision to back The Red Brick Road, Lowe's parent company, IPG, was forced to mount an expensive rearguard action to keep the talismanic executive creative director, Ed Morris, at its London office. It then suspended the chief executive, Garry Lace, pending investigations into claims that he, too, had sounded out Tesco on its feelings towards start-ups.

Lace's eventual resignation in late spring may have drawn a line under one of the most dramatic account departures in recent memory, but it still left a question mark over who should take over the agency.

That question was eventually answered in the form of Amanda Walsh, who took on the chief executive role in early September. Until then, Lace's shoes had been filled by the management team of Morris, the managing director, Chris Hunton, the newly arrived strategic director, Rebecca Morgan and the marketing director, Judy Mitchem. The four performed well under the circumstances, winning the John Lewis account. But the lack of a chief executive was said to be instrumental in the agency failing to score a place on the Morrisons pitch.

While Walsh's arrival was unable to prevent the departure of the agency's Hellmann's account - following Unilever's decision to align it into Ogilvy & Mather across Europe - and precipitated Hunton's departure, the Lowe ship appears steadier a year after the seismic Tesco events. It still has clients - such as Innocent, Stella Artois and Sprite - for which it should get the opportunity to flex its creative muscles in 2007. And the recent NHS Recruitment win points to an agency that has dusted itself off and is ready to come out fighting.

Score last year: 2

Score this year: 3

How Lowe rates itself: 5

"A year in which we proved our resilience. A bumpy start. Despite this, great work, great hirings and some nice new-business wins."