VCCP reclaims top spot on AAR new-business league

The agency won 33 pieces of new business from any source in 2019.

Maynards Bassetts: 2016 TV ad by Wieden & Kennedy
Maynards Bassetts: 2016 TV ad by Wieden & Kennedy

VCCP has snatched back its crown as the most successful agency for new business in 2019, AAR’s annual survey has revealed.

The agency, which was knocked off the top spot for the first time in seven years by Adam & Eve/DDB in 2018, won 33 pieces of new business from any source in 2019.

They included gaining Maynards Bassetts without a pitch and retaining the GoDaddy business.

M&C Saatchi and Uncommon Creative Studio are in joint second place after winning 21 accounts each, rising up from fifth and seventh place respectively.

Martin Jones, managing partner at AAR, referred to VCCP as a "new-business machine" and noted that the agency has a large and experienced team compared with those of its competitors.

He added: "It also has an unusual ability to feel 'big' to clients looking for resource and small to clients looking for intimacy. This is a rare and helpful combination when it come to new business."

Krow, Portas and Quiet Storm had the best competitive-pitch conversion rates, each successfully converting five out of five pitches. MullenLowe London rose to fourth place from 17th last year with a conversion rate of 90.9% for the 11 contests in which it took part. Adam & Eve/DDB took fifth place, up from 11th last year, converting 90% of the 10 accounts for which it pitched.

However, VCCP dropped to 17th (from sixth in 2018) with a conversion rate of 72.1%, having pitched for 43 accounts.

Once again VCCP had the most open opportunities, where a client had a choice of inviting any agency to pitch. The Chime-owned shop had 25 opportunities. Creature held on to second place for another year with 17 and Uncommon rose two places to third.

Jones added that the average number of pitches that any agency took part in was almost identical to the figure for 2018, standing at 9.8.

He added: "However, there is definitely a case that agencies are being more selective in what they pitch for, invariably driven by their own capacity. We are finding that most agencies will not pitch for more than one opportunity at the same time."

AAR also noted that a lot of the volume in the market was driven by start-ups or businesses that had not previously worked with an agency.

"Creature has built a reputation for working with start-up brands while And Rising’s positioning around specialising in ‘scale up’ brands is clearly resonating," Jones explained. "There is also interest in the fact that it was the first B Corp agency.

"Uncommon is benefiting from being talked about as a start-up, with clients seeing the attraction of working with someone they see is in a similar position to themselves."

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