TOP 300 AGENCIES: Top media agency profiles

2003's tough market conditions sparked some innovations and many agencies struggled to find new business. But there were notable exceptions including MediaCom, MG OMD and Naked.


9 Outstanding

8 Excellent

7 Good

6 Satisfactory

5 Adequate

4 Below average

3 Poor

2 A year to forget

1 Survival in question


Declared billings 2002 £240m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £186m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 61%

Press billings 19%

Outdoor billings 11%

Radio billings 4%

New media 2%

Other 3%

Staff 2002 80

Total accounts held 56

Accounts gained 0

Accounts lost 0

Company ownership Aegis subsidiary

Following the numerous ups and downs of 2001, last year was a quiet one for BBJ. There were no significant wins or losses and no change in billings or staff numbers.

Of course, "a stable year" can often be shorthand for impending disaster, but this doesn't seem to be the case for BBJ. The directors Tim Elton and Chris Boothby kept a steady grip on the tiller as the managing director, Trista Grant, took maternity leave. The agency invested in DataPlanning, a new resource which it anticipates will become a fast growing revenue stream, and it moved offices.

With no new accounts to distract it, the agency spent the year bedding down the HBOS and BMW accounts it won at the end of 2001.

Increasingly, BBJ's role within the Aegis London operation seems to need redefining if it is to justify its old reputation as more than a conflict shop for the big sister agency, Carat. 2002 will go down as a solid year for BBJ, but one that was a far cry from the heroics that saw it win Campaign's Media Agency of the Year in 2000. The agency must now find a new momentum and rationale in order to do justice to its parentage.

- Score This Year 5; Score Last Year 6


Declared billings 2002 £70m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £60m

Declared income 2002 £3m

TV billings 20%

Press billings 56%

Outdoor billings 10%

Radio billings 4%

New media n/s

Other 9%

Staff 2002 26

Total accounts held n/s

Accounts gained 4

Accounts lost 0

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

It's very easy to dismiss the gradual progress of a small operation such as BJK&E. The agency managed to land four smallish wins last year to follow on from the seven it won the year before. This might seem like chicken feed to the MediaComs of this world, but the fact is that, like MediaCom, BJK&E hasn't lost a client in more than two years. Viewed in that context, its new-business performance is more than adequate.

The agency began the year with a win, picking up the media planning and buying account for Oakley sunglasses in January. This was followed by the Computer Cab and Mira Showers accounts and the planning and buying business for the wine brand Black Tower. Crucially, the agency also managed to fend off a challenge from Zenith and Carat to retain its Fujitsu-Siemens account.

The creative highlight of the year came in the form of the "lucky star" campaign for Mercedes. BJK&E planned the campaign so that the spoof film trailer would mingle with other trailers, rather than sit among the cinema ads.

The agency also expanded its offering with the July launch of Cortex, its full-service marketing product, which provides clients with solutions in anything from event sponsorship to direct marketing. All in all a solid performance proving that size is clearly not everything.

- Score This Year 5; Score Last Year 4


Declared billings 2002 £86m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £34m

Declared income 2002 £6m

TV billings 45%

Press billings 38%

Outdoor billings 5%

Radio billings 6%

New media 6%

Other 0%

Staff 2002 75

Total accounts held 78

Accounts gained 16

Accounts lost 1

Company ownership Private company

BLM, one of the few remaining media companies in private hands, continued to innovate in business terms but found market conditions tough.

Its year started badly with the loss of the Blockbuster account. However, it worked throughout the rest of the year to recover the lost billings and just about got there. Wins included Suzuki, Freeserve, First Quench, VSO, Warner Vision and the National Bingo Association.

In a difficult market, BLM did what could be expected of it. In that context,its financial performance was sound: billings remained the same, while income increased slightly.

BLM pulled victory from the jaws of defeat with its Quantum new-media division. The previously loss-making unit moved into profit during 2002 following a change in focus. And the agency continued to leverage the flexibility of the smaller independent shop by expanding into new areas of opportunity, launching Azure Media specialising in children, youth and direct response media.

This sort of opportunistic "give it a go" attitude means BLM is constantly innovating and experimenting, and even if - as with Quantum - things don't always go to plan, the agency is nimble enough to respond quickly.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 6


Declared billings 2002 £103m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £81m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 41%

Press billings 44%

Outdoor billings 6%

Radio billings 4%

New media 1%

Other 4%

Staff 2002 48

Total accounts held 51

Accounts gained 2

Accounts lost 0

Company ownership Interpublic subsidiary

It was a tumultuous year for the old MBS Media and included a rebrand, financial irregularities and major management changes. Back in March, it was announced that MBS would form part of a third Interpublic media network called Brand Connection.

The decision to establish a medium-sized UK agency offering seemed sensible for IPG, though the quality of the network needs a lot of attention. Glenn Burton, Brand Connection's UK chairman, took on the role of building the new network across Europe, while Sarah Jennings took over the UK agency as managing director.

However, a serious problem emerged for the London office when a hole in its accounts was discovered. In a memorable choice of words Burton admitted that the agency was investigating a possible case of "defalcation" by a former employee. The alleged embezzlement was even more of an embarrassment given Interpublic's own financial difficulties.

The agency fought back, holding on to its Bendicks account after a pitch.

Late in the year, Jennings took more of a back-seat role and Richard Britton became the managing director. Andy Bolden, the former CIA director, also joined the agency.

As well as avoiding further scandal, Brand Connection must now find a positioning to justify its existence and a stronger line-up of senior talent to give the company some personality. Much will depend on how much support and investment IPG is willing to give.

- Score This Year 4; Score Last Year n/a


Declared billings 2002 £599m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £563m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 55%

Press billings 26%

Outdoor billings 8%

Radio billings 5%

New media 3%

Other (cinema) 3%

Staff 2002 256

Total accounts held 260

Accounts gained 15

Accounts lost 4

Company ownership Aegis subsidiary

Carat had a particularly successful spring. Between March and May of last year, it managed to land seven accounts, no mean feat for the UK's largest media agency. Anchor Foods and Madam Tussauds were followed by EMI's NOW brand, Cellus, Leerdammer cheese and the £15 million planning and buying account for the Department of Transport. However the best was to come in May, when the agency saw off challenges from OMD and Zenith to land the £40 million British Gas media account.

Other wins in 2002 included William Hill, Arm & Hammer, Autoglass and Post Office Counters, and the agency will be extremely gratified that it managed to hold on to the Royal Mail account.

However, there were losses too. The Britannia, General Mills and Franklin Mint accounts were joined by the £13 million Courts business on their way out of Parker Tower.

Nevertheless, the chief executive, Mark Craze, and the managing director, Colin Mills, ran a steady ship in 2002. Carat has taken on more than 20 staff in a difficult year for the sector and its declared billings figures have remained high. The agency was also recognised by the Investors in People scheme as being one of the five best SMEs to work for in the country. In a climate of cuts and freezes, this is an amazing achievement.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 6


Declared billings 2002 £337m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £366m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 60.2%

Press billings 22.9%

Outdoor billings 8.5%

Radio billings 4.5%

New media 1.4%

Other 2.5%

Staff 2002 185

Total accounts held 49

Accounts gained 13

Accounts lost 2

Company ownership Interpublic subsidiary

Initiative went into 2002 facing the chilling prospect of a review of its £140 million Unilever business, which accounted for close to half of its billings. However, it held on to the account and managed to bring in more than £40 million from new business.

Following the boost from Unilever, Initiative also won the Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, Air Miles, Daewoo, Lee Cooper, Ricoh, Slimfast and Air Canada accounts. However, it suffered around £6 million in billings losses with the departure of Sun Microsystems and Compaq.

Although Initiative found growth hard to come by, it did win three IPA Effectiveness Awards for Tesco and Unilever work.

Management was stable under the chief executive, Jerry Hill. Initiative created its first head of radio with the appointment of Jonathan Barrowman.

Robert Ditcham returned after seven years at Rapture TV to take the post of commercial director. Initiative also innovated with the launch of its planning and research tool The Matrix. The planning director, Tim Allnutt, has built a good resource, belying the agency's reputation as no more than a solid buying shop.

After an edgy start, Initiative will look back on 2002 with quiet satisfaction.

Now the Unilever issue is resolved it needs to be more dynamic in the marketplace and shed the "Unilever's media shop" tag.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 5


Declared billings 2002 £248m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £199m

Declared income 2002 £10m

TV billings 60%

Press billings 23%

Outdoor billings 10%

Radio billings 5%

New media 2%

Other n/a

Staff 2002 96

Total accounts held 62

Accounts gained 14

Accounts lost 5

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

By its own high standards, Manning Gottlieb OMD had an indifferent 2001. But in 2002 it bounced back in style.

The agency needed to hit the new-business trail in 2002 and it did so with gusto. It won £74 million in new billings from clients including the AA, Sony, Safeway, Yahoo! and Cunard. It also held on to its Nissan account as part of an OMD network retention of the business. On the downside, it lost Virgin One and The Independent.

Early in the year, Manning Gottlieb and OMD UK came closer together as part of the continued reshaping of OMD Europe into a coherent network.

Manning Gottlieb's role in the network is now more clearly defined and it shares some buying and backroom resources with its sister agency.

MG OMD lost its managing director, Matt James, who left to launch his own company. However, with the deputy managing director, Alison Wright, stepping into his shoes and Nick Manning remaining as the chief executive, continuity has proved valuable.

The agency added 20 staff to its headcount. Quality of work was high with a creative launch of the new iMac through outdoor media, a fanzine for PlayStation and interactive TV for Nissan.

More of the same in 2003 should be the agency's target.

- Score This Year 8; Score Last Year 6


Declared billings 2002 £577m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £550m

Declared income 2002 £24m

TV billings 45%

Press billings 35%

Outdoor billings 5%

Radio billings 4%

New media 1%

Other 10%

Staff 2002 324

Total accounts held 170

Accounts gained 21

Accounts lost 0

Company ownership Grey subsidiary

2002 was another spectacular year for MediaCom as it continued to pile on new business, improve its income and demonstrate its strength in diversified areas such as direct, new media and sponsorship.

MediaCom's new-business record was once again exemplary. It did not lose a major client in 2002 and added £72 million in buying billings with wins including Clairol, Wrigley's, AMP, Courts, Virgin One, Cisco and Axa Sun Life Direct as well as the Shell global account.

A major triumph came when it captured the £120 million Masterfoods planning account. Perhaps the only new-business disappointment was its failure to win the BT press buying account, which moved out of Zenith into Starcom MediaVest Group.

MediaCom's long-serving management team has much to do with its success.

The chief executive, Steve Allan, and the joint managing directors, Nick Lawson and Jane Ratcliffe, remain at the helm, while all of its key directors stayed in place with the exception of the head of radio, Mike Hope-Milne, who departed for Capital Radio.

The agency's direct and new-media divisions continues to perform well.

MediaCom also launched a regional and local media division Accent, which promptly snapped up the Courts account.

Overall, it is difficult to see how MediaCom can improve on 2002. As a network, however, it probably faces more issues as it attempts to compete with the larger global players.

- Score This Year 9; Score Last Year 9


Declared billings 2002 £458m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £200m

Declared income 2002 £26m

TV billings 50%

Press billings 31%

Outdoor billings 10%

Radio billings 3%

New media 5%

Other 1%

Staff 2002 123

Total accounts held 80

Accounts gained 21

Accounts lost 4

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

Mediaedge:cia's first year of existence was a pretty trying one.

While fallout following a merger is inevitable, the agency seems to have suffered particularly badly, especially in the first half of the year.

A number of accounts opted to review - Wrigleys, Gap, DHL, Saga and AG Barr to name some of them. The agency held on to Saga after a pitch, but the loss of the others was a blow. The management also had to work hard to hang on to Cussons, but found a neat solution by moving it into its Manchester offshoot. Despite winning JML and Bo Concept, the merger continued to exact a high price.

Things began to look up in the latter half of the year, however, when Mediaedge:cia picked up Reebok and United Airlines courtesy of its network.

Also in 2002, some of the agency's better-known and respected staff saw fit to leave, including Andy Bolden, Tim Neligan, Edward Lloyd Barnes and Andrew Napier.

Now the merger has been bedded down and the outflow of business stemmed, Mediaedge:cia needs to take a long hard look at its position and reputation in the UK marketplace. It should prioritise the creation of a stronger front line of senior executives, along with finding a better definition of the agency's place within the WPP portfolio. Mediaedge:cia needs to find new business, and keep finding new business, but without a higher profile and a real sense of personality and purpose, this will not be possible.

- Score This Year 2; Score Last Year n/a


Declared billings 2002 £252m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £118m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 47%

Press billings 34%

Outdoor billings 8%

Radio billings 6%

New media 3%

Other 2%

Staff 2002 90

Total accounts held 59

Accounts gained 8

Accounts lost 2

Company ownership Havas subsidiary

After a weak 2001, Media Planning Group's performance improved in 2002. The agency kept its head down and was generally quiet, but managed to add some reasonable new clients and hold on to all of its staff.

On the new-business front, MPG picked up the UK launch of the directory enquiries operator Conduit. It also won the £15 million ING Barings account, £5 million worth of Greater London Authority business and the £5 million strategic planning account for Buzz. Other wins included The Independent, Inter-Continental Hotels and Coppertone. The agency's only losses were Procter & Gamble's Bounty tissue account and Bourjois Cosmetics.

The most contentious thing about MPG last year was that it elected to pre-pay for media, rather than bow to pressure from the TV companies to increase the levels of its bank guarantees. It's an issue more agencies are likely to face this year.

MPG remains strong in Europe, but, as ever, the big issue for the UK-based operation is whether its parent Havas will use its financial clout to increase the agency's size, (although there is no obvious target for acquisition). Earlier last year, Havas' chairman, Alain de Pouzilhac, gave MPG 18 months to break into the top five global media networks. If this ambition is to be achieved, MPG must take enormous strides in the UK this year. And that will require a new surge of confidence from an agency that lingered too long in the shadows in 2002.

- Score This Year 5; Score Last Year 3


Declared billings 2002 £301m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £272m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 64%

Press billings 19%

Outdoor billings 8%

Radio billings 6%

New media 2%

Other 1%

Staff 2002 111

Total accounts held 73

Accounts gained 24

Accounts lost 5

Company ownership Publicis subsidiary

On the surface, 2002 was a relatively quiet year for MediaVest, but behind the scenes it was probably a very trying one.

The loss of the Walkers and Quaker business in a global realignment was unfortunate but the MediaVest management was not to blame. Equally, the loss of the Mars planning business as part of a centralisation into MediaCom was annoying, but somewhat predictable.

Things were a little too peaceful on the new-business front for MediaVest. Wins tended to be at the smaller end of the scale, although Bounty and Chrysalis bumped up the figures. The real success in 2002 was converting the joint pitch with Starcom Motive for the BT business.

Overall, MediaVest's billings dropped by £25 million on 2001 and staff numbers dropped by ten.

MediaVest has the ability and the clout to turn around its lacklustre fortunes and must do so with some urgency if it is to continue to be seen as a player. It must also communicate its future plans to clients so they are certain of its direction.

Everything will depend on its relationship with Starcom Motive. The two sister media shops have been discussing a possible merger for too long now and the procrastination is undermining MediaVest's position.

Last year's decision to close MediaVest's sister creative agency, D'Arcy, underlined the media company's isolation within the Publicis Groupe, even though MediaVest is the only media agency Publicis currently owns outright.

MediaVest needs a plan and a new set of foundations, and it needs them soon.

- Score This Year 5; Score Last Year 4


Declared billings 2002 £58m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 -

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 35%

Press billings 10%

Outdoor billings 24%

Radio billings 6%

New media 6%

Other 19%

Staff 2002 20

Total accounts held 14

Accounts gained 7

Accounts lost 0

Company ownership Private company

Despite having once been named Campaign's Media Agency of the Year, Michaelides & Bednash prefers not to be called a media agency, maintaining that its offering is as creatively led as it is media-led.

As such, the agency will be particularly pleased that it went up against the likes of Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest, M&C Saatchi, CDD and The Leith Agency in various pitches last year.

For the rest of us, the highlight of M&B's year was the standard of its work. Getting the Butterkist comic strip-style ad into the TV listings page of the Daily Mirror was a coup, and the multi-discipline work it produced for Channel 4's Indian Summer cricket coverage won the Grand Prix at Campaign's Media Awards.

M&B also had an encouraging new-business year, pulling in briefs from the likes of Time Out, Xfm, J+B Scotch, Music Choice and Oxygen as well as Butterkist. Its New York office also landed the Elle magazine account.

M&B may not be growing at the rate of Clemmow Hornby Inge or Naked, but it is steadily adding some respectable brands to its client list. The agency could do with landing a big name account, but with billings up and some interesting work under its belt, M&B can certainly regard 2002 as a satisfactory year.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 5


Declared billings 2002 £572m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £481m

Declared income 2002 £31m

TV billings 61%

Press billings 22%

Outdoor billings 6%

Radio billings 4%

New media 2%

Other 5%

Staff 2002 210

Total accounts held 50

Accounts gained 6

Accounts lost 2

Company ownership WPP subsidiary

MindShare had a relatively slow year on the new-business side - the interesting news came out of the management suite. It was all change at the senior level as the chief executive, Simon Rees, left, making way for Kelly Clark to arrive from Asia.

Not far behind Clark, Optimedia's Sandra Collins joined MindShare as managing partner responsible for new business and marketing, a position that was long overdue at an agency this size.

In the domestic arena, MindShare won accounts including Hutchison 3G, Heineken and Weight Watchers. It also benefited from the network's massive Gillette coup. Despite an otherwise excellent client-retention record, MindShare lost Halfords to OMD and Direct Car Finance also walked. All the same, profitability improved across the year.

Clark's challenge for 2003 is to re-emphasise the agency's "full service" media proposition. Another priority is to get MindShare UK's new-business operation firing on all cylinders.

Victory in this year's UK Vodafone pitch would be a step in the right direction. Fortunately, Clark is blessed with a strong network, a good management team and the support of his global chief operating officer, Dominic Proctor. Other challenges Clark is likely to face will probably come from MindShare's parent WPP as it enforces ways of making the agency work with its sister network Mediaedge:cia.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 7


Declared billings 2002 £200m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 -

Declared income 2002 £2m

TV billings n/a

Press billings n/a

Outdoor billings n/a

Radio billings n/a

New media n/a

Other n/a

Staff 2002 30

Total accounts held 32

Accounts gained 20

Accounts lost 0

Company ownership Private company

There was no let up in the hype surrounding Naked during 2002. However, given its success in landing serious accounts, this seemed entirely justified.

Campaign's Media Agency of the Year began 2002 in rare style by winning briefs from Sony PlayStation and Hutchison 3G. It continued to win big accounts throughout the year, including Egg, COI Communications, Honda, Pedigree, Reebok and Campbell's.

Naked created an impressive range of work. Equally at home with media strategy (Honda, COI Communications, Campbell's), new-product development (PlayStation, Pedigree) or ambient media (Reebok, COI Communications), it also triumphed in the Media Lions at Cannes for its digital "Warholiser" work for Tate Modern.

Naked's founders, John Harlow, Jon Wilkins and Will Collin, increased the agency's income by 92 per cent during 2002. They also moved to more impressive offices in Clerkenwell.

The key management remained stable but Naked doubled its staff numbers with hirings including Jon Forsyth from MindShare and Tracey Darwen from Starcom Motive.

The agency's creation of the "agency within an agency" Naked Inside concept bore fruit through a joint venture with Clemmow Hornby Inge. This offered a clear sign that it is able to work closely with the leading creative agencies at the forefront of the planning process.

Naked's challenge in 2003 will be to preserve the quality and dynamism it possesses as it grows in size, and continue to give substance to its "most talked-about" strategy.

- Score This Year 9; Score Last Year 8


Declared billings 2002 £417m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £400m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 63%

Press billings 18%

Outdoor billings 6.5%

Radio billings 10%

New media 0.8%

Other 1.7%

Staff 2002 135

Total accounts held 68

Accounts gained 8

Accounts lost 5

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

It must have been a year of mixed emotions for OMD as it was forced to defend many of its high-profile accounts.

At one point it seemed that there was an almost constant stream of reviews, with Gillette, British Gas and Sony all electing to reassess their media options. In the end, Gillette and British Gas joined American Airlines and Autoglass by deciding that their fortunes would be better served outside of OMD.

However, the agency also has much to be proud of. After a protracted pitch, OMD retained Sony, and went on to secure some prized accounts.

Walkers and Quaker completed their global realignment into OMD and Halfords moved out of MindShare and into OMD's welcoming arms.

Other wins included Siemens and The Number, and OMD ended 2002 claiming that its billings were up by more than £45 million on the previous year.

With a stable, though low-key, management team, it seems that OMD is back on something of a roll. Certainly, as Sony proved, the benefits of its belatedly instigated global network are becoming obvious.

The real new-business test for OMD now is to ensure victory in the UK Vodafone pitch, which should be resolved earlier rather than later in 2003. A higher industry profile for the management team should also be an ambition for the year ahead if the agency is to maintain its long-standing reputation as a grown-up, deep-thinking media operation.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 7


Declared billings 2002 £321m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £276m

Declared income 2002 £18m

TV billings 49.8%

Press billings 23.8%

Outdoor billings 15.7%

Radio billings 8.8%

New media 1.1%

Other 0.8%

Staff 2002 171

Total accounts held 95

Accounts gained 6

Accounts lost 2

Company ownership Omnicom subsidiary

Like other shops, PHD was forced to defend much of its existing business in 2002. But the agency can be pleased with itself for holding off the marauders.

Many millions of pounds of PHD business went into review but the agency managed to retain all of it except the prestigious Masterfoods account, which was centralised into MediaCom.

Despite these distractions, PHD also managed to win new accounts, most notably from COI Communications.

PHD continued to innovate. It set up a sports marketing specialist - Drum APM - and a direct marketing venture, PHD Confidential. This decision was vindicated when Eagle Star, a big-spending DM client, moved its account into the agency. Other notable account wins included the planning for Adidas and Hyundai.

While the agency's income remained stable, it parted company with 40 people. One of the higher profile departures was the broadcast expert Paul Parashar, who moved on after a decade at the agency. David Pattison also finally left the London headquarters to set up PHD's North American network, leaving Jonathan Durden as the sole original founder still in harness.

This year, PHD should concentrate on getting itself out in front of new prospects. In an era when rivals have stolen some of its planning credentials, 2003 could be the time for PHD to remind the industry of its heritage.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 7


Declared billings 2002 £435m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £372m

Declared income 2002 £16m

TV billings 71%

Press billings 14%

Outdoor billings 8%

Radio billings 3%

New media 1%

Other 3%

Staff 2002 141

Total accounts held n/s

Accounts gained 22

Accounts lost 3

Company ownership Publicis/BBH subsidiary

Sustained success in the fiercely competitive agency business is never easy. It is a tribute to Starcom Motive that, after a 2001 in which it was voted Campaign's Media Agency of the Year, 2002 was almost as good.

Among the highlights was a collaboration with its stepsister agency MediaVest to win the prized £23 million BT press implementational planning and buying account from Zenith. This marked the first time that the two had worked together and promises much for the future once its relationship with MediaVest has been established.

Other wins of note include the Woolwich, Loyalty Management, Dolland & Aitchison and £60 million of Honda business. The joy experienced through winning Honda's buying account was tempered slightly by Naked snatching the strategic communications brief.

Starcom Motive's chief executive, Mark Carnmer, reacted by employing Graham Hall to head the agency's research and intelligence unit in an effort to prevent this happening again.

Nonetheless, the Honda experience suggests a fresh focus is needed on the agency's high-level communications planning offering. Clients are also likely to require some hand-holding as the Starcom Motive/MediaVest saga reaches some sort of resolution.

- Score This Year 8; Score Last Year 9


Declared billings 2002 £267m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £287m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 63%

Press billings 21%

Outdoor billings 9%

Radio billings 4%

New media 1%

Other n/s

Staff 2002 105

Total accounts held 53

Accounts gained 11

Accounts lost 6

Company ownership Interpublic subsidiary

It might have an implausibly low profile for an agency of its size, but behind closed doors Universal McCann had an eventful year.

The new-business highlight came in March when the agency landed the £20 million T-mobile account. It also pulled in £12 million worth of General Mills work and snaffled extra Nestle business from its fellow roster agency, MindShare. Creative media credentials were also on show, including the work for the launch of Microsoft's X-box.

By the end of the year, Universal had pulled in 11 new accounts. However, some of the wins are international with little domestic impact. Its six losses included the two Glaxo SmithKline brands, Zovirax and Beconase, Cobra, Pringles, Friskies, P&O Portsmouth and Yoplait, which the agency was forced to resign when it won Nestle.

Despite this, the agency ended 2002 looking structurally solid and refreshed by new arrivals such as Russell Place as the communications planning director and Glen Parker as the head of research. As part of an internal restructure, key Universal accounts are now headed by two members of staff, one to focus on improving and maintaining client relations, the other to concentrate on strategic planning.

The new structure appears to be working well, and with Magna - the buying partnership with Initiative Media - still giving Universal buying clout rivalled only by Carat, the agency is well placed to have a good 2003.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 5


Declared billings 2002 £186m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £143m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 36%

Press billings 52%

Outdoor billings 5%

Radio billings 5%

New media n/a

Other 2%

Staff 2002 45

Total accounts held 44

Accounts gained 10

Accounts lost 0

Company ownership Private company

Walker Media will look back on 2002 as one in which it regained the new-business momentum absent the year before.

Although billings remained stable, the number of accounts which came through the door was notable. The seizure of BLM Media's long-standing Blockbuster client was a particular highlight, as was winning the pan-European General Electric account. Despite this new-business drive, Walker managed to keep all of its existing clients, bar the planning account for British Airways, well serviced and consequently none of them walked.

On the personnel front, Ron Mudge, who joined in 2001 to look after Walker's flagship Dixons business, departed and Charlie Varley replaced him. Walker also said goodbye to Peta Corsan, the international account director, who was replaced by Nathan Brown.

The Walker joint venture with Brann - Walker Brann Direct Media - was closed following the latter's merger with EHS. Yet the Walker management has not lost any of the fire in its belly and the agency can celebrate its fifth birthday with a sense of pride.

Looking to the future, now that Walker has reached maturity, the agency should focus its efforts on poaching more business from the mainstream London agencies, thereby reducing its reliance on the regions.

- Score This Year 6; Score Last Year 5


Declared billings 2002 £440m

Nielsen Media Research billings 2002 £538m

Declared income 2002 n/s

TV billings 45%

Press billings 30%

Outdoor billings 8%

Radio billings 7%

New media 4%

Other 6%

Staff 2002 300

Total accounts held 140

Accounts gained 26

Accounts lost 8

Company ownership Publicis/Cordiant subsidiary

The merger of Zenith and Optimedia has been a drawn-out process. After months of debate the two decided to merge some operations but not others.

Buying will unite under one unit and discussions on merging direct and digital operations under one brand are also well advanced. Simon Marquis, previously Zenith's UK chief executive, was appointed the group chief executive of Zenith Optimedia towards the end of last year, though 2003 has already seen the arrival of a new chief executive, Antony Young, with Marquis moving to a chairman role.

It is too early to score the merged operation but the experiences of Zenith and Optimedia were turbulent throughout 2002. Zenith suffered some crippling account losses. Within two weeks it lost the £34 million AA account and £23 million BT press buying business. Safeway, Pharmacia and Campbell's planning also departed. It did win a £20 million account from the high-street banks to support a campaign on credit card fraud, COI Communications business for the Department for Work and Pensions, Kenwoodand planning for Woolworths, Superdrug and MVC.

Optimedia, which saw the managing director, Simon Mathews, leave to be replaced by Greg Turzynski, had a solid enough new-business year. It won Inland Revenue Self-Assessment, Malibu, Compaq and Gap. On the minus side it lost Woolwich, Yahoo! and Siemens.

In 2003, Zenith Optimedia needs a smooth merger and to instil some confidence through new-business success, while Young will have to work quickly to establish himself in the UK marketplace.

- Score This Year -; Score Last Year n/a.