Billings escalate for top agencies

By Jon Rees

The latest advertising agency league table, compiled exclusively for Marketing Week by Register-MEAL, shows that spending among the top five agencies increased to 1.35bn, up from 1.04bn in the previous year – a rise of nearly 28 per cent.

Of the top five, J Walter Thompson has shown the most dramatic change, moving from fifth to second, with a 48 per cent rise in billings from new accounts including Boots The Chemist and The Daily Telegraph.

But since these figures were compiled Saatchi & Saatchi’s position at the top of the table has come under threat.

The table covers UK spend for the year to April and so misses the biggest account change of the year – Saatchi’s loss of the 88m British Airways/Qantas worldwide account (MW May 5). This was worth about 13m in the UK, taking Saatchi down to 315.8m.

Saatchi did gain the 2.5m Welsh Tourist Board account in May after retained incumbent agency Laing Henry had been folded into the main agency,

as well as the 4m Oasis soft drink account from Coca-Cola Schweppes Beverages.

The 7m BT Global account moved from Saatchi to Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO but this is an international account so it does not appear in the figures.

One agency not represented in the table is M&C Saatchi which would rank 19th after picking up the BA/Qantas account to sit alongside the Mirror Group, Gallaher and Dixons business it already handles.

This gives it estimated UK billings of 64.76m which would put it above Young & Rubicam.

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