Top creative agencies 2012

The increasing drift to digital and a "soft" economy contributed to an overall decline in billings for the top 100 creative agencies and top 50 media agencies during 2012.

Sainsbury’s: contributed to AMV’s pole position in billings table
Sainsbury’s: contributed to AMV’s pole position in billings table

Total billings of the top 100 creative agencies were £5.8 billion in 2012, a 1.72 per cent fall year on year, according to figures supplied exclusively to Campaign by Nielsen.

Lorna Tilbian, the executive director and head of media at Numis Securities, said she believed the decline could be attributed to "digital migration, but also some economic softness".

Tilbian added she suspected much of the "growth had come from boutique players with digital offerings and decline from mature traditional players hit by the macroeconomic background".

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, whose clients include BT and Sainsbury’s, remained the largest creative agency with total billings of £457.9 million, a rise of 22.7 per cent.

Ian Pearman, the chief executive of AMV BBDO, said: "Being number one by any metric is never a disappointment, but as ever, it is more important to focus on the quality of the work rather than the quantity."

Bartle Bogle Hegarty posted an 18.8 per cent rise in billings, while Wieden & Kennedy’s Tesco win catapulted it into the top 20 with a 101.3 per cent increase. Leo Burnett (-17.6 per cent) and Ogilvy & Mather (-24 per cent) were among those to suffer the greatest declines.

Rank 2012 Rank 2011 Agency Billings 2012 (£m) Year-on-year % change
Top five creative agencies
1 1 Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO 457.87 22.7
2 2 McCann Erickson 276.18 -11.2
3 7 Bartle Bogle Hegarty 249.56 18.8
4 3 Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R 246.89 -11.2
5 4 Adam & Eve/DDB 219.39 -16.9
Top five media agencies
1 1 MediaCom 1,141.99 -9.2
2 2 Carat 870.39 3.5
3 3 OMD Group 813.63 5.9
4 4 Mindshare 703.45 -2.2
5 5 ZenithOptimedia 697.94 -2.2
Source: Nielsen

The top 50 media agencies had combined billings of £7.8 billion in 2012, a decrease of 0.97 per cent. The WPP-owned MediaCom remained the biggest media agency with billings of £1.1 billion, although this was a decline of 9.2 per cent from 2011.

Maxus reported the steepest rise in billings among the top ten, but Carat, OMD Group and PHD posted single-digit increases.

School Reports on UK agencies published next week.


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