VCCP brought in 43 pieces of new business in 2020, according to AAR – more than twice as much as nearest competitor Uncommon Creative Studio and 10 more than it achieved in 2019.
Uncommon repeated its feat of second place from last year, albeit with four fewer wins. It did not have to share the perch this time, with M&C Saatchi dropping down to joint seventh place after suffering the fallout of 2019’s corporate accounting scandal.
The bronze position was taken by Adam & Eve/DDB, just ahead of joint fourth-placed Creature and Mother.
AAR managing partner Martin Jones said that the Covid pandemic had had “a great impact on the new business market, in terms of both volume and value".
He added: "Not only were there less new business opportunities in 2020, but where they existed, they were of a lower value than would normally be expected. In 2019, there were 13 UK brand owners with media spends in excess of £20m who reviewed, compared to six in 2020, a decrease of over 50%.”
Adam & Eve/DDB was the only shop to win everything it pitched for this year (among agencies that have undertaken a minimum of five competitive pitches). The next most successful agency through this lens was Atomic, with an 87.5% hit rate.
Jones added that the agencies that did well in last year’s climate tended to:
- Already have a new business culture and pipeline in place, rather than trying to start or invent one when lockdown hit
- Quickly realise they had to adapt their approach to pitching in the virtual world, rather than acting in the same way they had previously
- Realise that it was almost impossible to pitch for more than one account at the same time, and consequently declined opportunities in order to concentrate on fewer pitches
- Have capabilities beyond advertising that allowed them to have more conversations with their existing clients
- Be already involved with international/global opportunities, as clients operating in this way were used to working remotely, meaning it wasn’t a major issue to either the brand owner or the agency.
The agency with the most open opportunities, in other words where a client had a choice of inviting any agency to pitch, was VCCP, again ahead of Uncommon.