Power Summit

JWT’s reign as the best agency has come to an end with Marketing Week’s 12th annual Agency Reputations Survey. BMP has ousted the agency from the top of the table in a year which has been marked by clients’ radical reassessment of the service

<b>Best Agency Overall Criteria (Top 25)</b> <b>Rank</b> <b>Agency</b> <b>Actual no.</b> <b>As % of Max*</b> <b>Change 98-99</b> 00 99 98 1 2 7 BMP DDB 176 14.3% -0.7 2 1 1 J Walter Thompson 174 14.1% -2.5 3 4 2 AMV.BBDO 144 11.7% -0.5 4 5 5 Ogilvy & Mather 122 9.9% -1.1 5 3 3 McCann-Erickson 99 8.1% -5 6 6 4 Saatchi & Saatchi 95 7.7% -2.9 7 8= 8 M&C Saatchi 87 7.1% +0.5 8 Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R 84 6.8% -0.3 9 20 15= HHCL & Partners 77 6.2% +2.1 10 18= 22 Publicis 76 6.2% +1.4 11 18= 15= Lowe Lintas*** 75 6.0% +1.2 12 7 6 Bartle Bogle Hegarty 53 4.3% -3.4 13 25 38= MediaCom TMB 52 4.2% +1.2 14 14 10 TBWA GGT Simons Palmer (now TBWA London) 48 3.9% -1.5 15 55 35= Manning Gottlieb Media 44 3.5% -0.5 16= 8= ** WWAV Rapp Collins 41 3.3% -3.3 16= 16 14 Carat 41 3.3% -1.7 16= 15 11 Zenith Media 41 3.3% -1.9 17 44 32= MindShare 40 3.3% -4.7 18 26 35= New PHD 39 3.2% +0.9 19 23 19 St Luke’s 35 2.9% -0.6 20 24 26 MediaVest UK 31 2.5% -0.6 21 12 9 WCRS 30 2.5% -2.4 22 42 ** Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy 29 2.3% +1.4 23= 29 22= CIA 24 1.9% -0.1 23= 22 23= OMD UK 24 1.9% +1.6 25= 13 17 Grey Advertising***** 22 1.8% -4.2 25= 11 23= EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper 22 1.8% -4.6 25= 40 25= The Leith Agency 22 1.8% +0.8

Best Agency Overall Criteria (Top 25)

As agency bosses digest the statistics of their greatest financial performance for over a decade, their clients have been making a radical reassessment of the service and creativity they receive from the ad industry.

The unprecedented boom in advertising revenues for 1999/2000 may never be repeated. A confluence of factors – the dotcom boom, major sporting events like Euro 2000 and the Olympics, coupled with a strong economy has made this an exceptional year for advertising.

At the same time, marketing directors have revealed shifting perceptions in their views of top agencies. Marketing Week’s 12th annual Agency Reputations Survey has shaken some old certainties and uncovered a new assessment of Britain’s top advertising and media companies.

J Walter Thompson, which has dominated the number one spot as best agency for most of a decade, has been knocked off its perch by BMP DDB.

BMP has been voted the best overall ad agency in the UK by the people that really count – 150 marketing directors from the 450 top spending marketing companies. It has taken the top spot for the first time, and has squeezed JWT into second place.

All other measures of an agency’s performance – the amount its clients spend on advertising or the number of awards it wins – pale into insignificance alongside Marketing Week’s annual Agency Reputations Survey. By common consent it is the ultimate barometer of how agencies are perceived by their most important customers, their clients. Agencies find it hard to quantify their services – it is difficult to pin down exactly why one agency wins a pitch instead of another. But ad bosses know that in the absence of hard proof of advertising effectiveness, perception is crucial. That is why they will be frantically eyeing these tables to see how clients view them.

In reality, the telephone interviews which were carried out between October 2 and 20 this year provide only a snapshot of those perceptions. But these have altered markedly over the year.

The results have boosted Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO from fourth to third place, in the first year of Andrew Robertson’s reign as their chief executive.

Ogilvy & Mather has progressed from fifth to fourth 18 months into the three-year recovery programme which was hatched by chief executive Paul Simons.

On the downside the biggest victim in the top five line-up is McCann-Erickson, which has fallen from number three, occupied for the last two years, to number five this year.

JWT’s fall from the number one spot came after it had experienced a bruising summer. Chief executive Stephen Carter abandoned the agency he had headed for five years, but only after weeks of intense media speculation about his future. He was tipped to take the top job at ITV Network Centre, itself in the middle of a messy merger between its constituent companies.

Nevertheless, in financial stability and strong agency management, JWT took first place, as it has done consistently over the years.

Carter’s steadfast refusal to clarify the situation added to the confusion. He cryptically told Marketing Week shortly before quitting: “I have committed myself to the JWT network for many years and continue to do so on a daily basis.” In the end, Carter took the job of chief operating officer at JWT’s biggest client, the communications giant NTL, leaving a still unfilled vacuum at the top of the WPP-owned agency.

Meanwhile, BMP snatched the position of number one agency for the all-important criterion of creativity from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which topped this category for the whole of the last decade.

BBH has slipped to fourth place on creativity this year, one reason it has exited from the top ten best agencies overall – drifting from seventh place last year to 12th this year.

Marketers, in all their wisdom, consistently put creativity as the single most important of nine criteria when assessing an agency’s reputation. Even so, JWT is tenth on creativity but still managed to attain second place overall. However, its top performance has been in categories rated less important by marketers – the quality of account managers, marketing strategy and analysis, strong management and overseas coverage.

By comparison, BMP has had stable senior management, with chairman Chris Powell leading the agency in some capacity for thirty years. BMP has topped the poll in the four categories marketers rate most important – creativity, value for money, acting in the clients’ longer term interests and attentiveness and adaptability to clients.

BMP’s top performance has been confirmed by its strong standing in the IPA Effectiveness Awards, with its Scoot work taking the top internet prize, and winning the effectiveness agency of the year award. In new business terms, though, it has not been a sparkling year for the agency – it has won Tussauds, and retained the National Dairy Council. Existing clients such as ONdigital have boosted spending, but it has lost the Nicorette account and failed to win a number of key accounts such as the pan-European Vodafone work and Marks & Spencer.

The ups and downs of BMP and JWT are echoed in other parts of the research, which reveal huge volatility in reputations, partly on account of the remarkable amount of consolidation going on in the industry.

Publicis has had the strongest performance of any ad agency, climbing from 18th last year into the top ten, and it entered the top ten on four criteria – value for money (its work for WalMart/Asda should enhance this image), acting in clients’ long term interests, attentiveness and adaptability, financial stability and strong agency management.

HHCL & Partners rejoined the top ten after a two-year absence, and Manning Gottlieb Media and Universal McCann both entered the top ten for media planning, buying and placement.

Meanwhile, WCRS slipped from 12th place last year to 21st this year, losing its top ten status on creativity, among others. In fact, it no longer appears in the top ten on any of the nine criteria. A string of high-profile account losses – including Orange and Sega – appear to have taken their toll on the agency’s reputation.

Grey Advertising dropped from 13th place to 25th equal, sharing the spot with Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, which fell from 11th place.

These agencies may reflect on this line penned by American novelist Margaret Mitchell in the epic Gone with the Wind: “Until you have lost your reputation, you do not know what a burden it was.”

The tussle between Saatchi & Saatchi (the last agency to knock JWT off the top spot – back in 1994, just before it lurched into crisis and brothers Maurice and Charles set up the breakaway) and M&C Saatchi now looks likely to have ended in a draw. They have come in at six and seven respectively.

Merging agencies appears to have had a positive impact on their positions within the table. As report author Sarah Horack, strategic development director at Consensus Research, says: “This year’s survey provides two more examples of mergers that have boosted the reputations of the agencies involved. Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R has continued to move up the ranks, from tenth place last year to eighth place this year, a significant improvement on the pre-merger standing of both constituent agencies. On the last set of independent measures in 1998, Y&R was in 13th place and the newer Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, in 27th place, had yet to make it into the Top 25 overall.

“The more recently merged Lowe Lintas, now in 11th place, has risen from the 18th-equal place that Lowe Howard-Spink occupied last year.”

In the same way, TBWA GGT Simons Palmer (now simply TBWA London), saw its biggest gains in the years it announced its mergers, first of TBWA and Simons Palmer and then with GGT. But this year, in the absence of any merger activity, it has remained in place at number 14.

One interesting revelation of the survey has been the strong performance of media agencies across all the nine criteria. Second generation specialists such as MediaCom and Manning Gottlieb Media have taken first and second place overall, outranking the performance of the category founders such as Zenith and Carat in mentions for excellence over all nine criteria.

Zenith has been ranked first for media planning, buying and placement since 1993. This year, it is followed by MediaVest in second place, up from fifth last year, and then by New PHD moving up to third from fourth. MindShare comes fourth in this category, though overall it has leapt to 17th place this year.

Marketers’ visions of “the ideal shortlist” are a crucial measure of how agencies perform, and indicate their chances of success at getting to the pitch stage over the coming year. BMP maintains its position at number one, while AMV and JWT have switched second and third positions over the year. Over 24 per cent of those interviewed mentioned BMP as an ideal shortlist candidate, but only 14.8 per cent named JWT, indicating a ten per cent difference.

Saatchi & Saatchi has powered up to fourth place from number 11 and St Luke’s has entered the top ten for the first time.

In another important category, agencies gaining in esteem over the past 12 months, BMP is again at the top of the list. Rainey Kelly’s Y&R merger appears to have done it no end of good in marketers’ attitudes – it has come second in this category while AMV, HHCL and St Luke’s have all made it into the top five on this criterion.

Marketers have piled the pressure on agencies to improve their performances, but just how they will achieve this in the months that follow is not easy to predict.

Being toppled from the number one spot for only the second time in 12 years will set the alarm bells ringing at JWT. The agency should soon announce the successor to Stephen Carter, who will be under a great deal of pressure to restore the agency to its former glory.

<b>Best Agency Overall Criteria (Top 25) </b> <b>Rank</b> <b>Agency</b> <b>Actual no.</b> <b>As % of Max*</b> <b>Change 98-99</b> 00 99 98 1 2 7 BMP DDB 176 14.3% -0.7 2 1 1 J Walter Thompson 174 14.1% -2.5 3 4 2 AMV.BBDO 144 11.7% -0.5 4 5 5 Ogilvy & Mather 122 9.9% -1.1 5 3 3 McCann-Erickson 99 8.1% -5 6 6 4 Saatchi & Saatchi 95 7.7% -2.9 7 8= 8 M&C Saatchi 87 7.1% +0.5 8 Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R 84 6.8% -0.3 9 20 15= HHCL & Partners 77 6.2% +2.1 10 18= 22 Publicis 76 6.2% +1.4 11 18= 15= Lowe Lintas*** 75 6.0% +1.2 12 7 6 Bartle Bogle Hegarty 53 4.3% -3.4 13 25 38= MediaCom TMB 52 4.2% +1.2 14 14 10 TBWA GGT Simons Palmer (now TBWA London) 48 3.9% -1.5 15 55 35= Manning Gottlieb Media 44 3.5% -0.5 16= 8= ** WWAV Rapp Collins 41 3.3% -3.3 16= 16 14 Carat 41 3.3% -1.7 16= 15 11 Zenith Media 41 3.3% -1.9 17 44 32= MindShare 40 3.3% -4.7 18 26 35= New PHD 39 3.2% +0.9 19 23 19 St Luke’s 35 2.9% -0.6 20 24 26 MediaVest UK 31 2.5% -0.6 21 12 9 WCRS 30 2.5% -2.4 22 42 ** Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy 29 2.3% +1.4 23= 29 22= CIA 24 1.9% -0.1 23= 22 23= OMD UK 24 1.9% +1.6 25= 13 17 Grey Advertising***** 22 1.8% -4.2 25= 11 23= EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper 22 1.8% -4.6 25= 40 25= The Leith Agency 22 1.8% +0.8

Best Agency Overall Criteria (Top 25)

* = Maximum possible response : 150 respondents x 9 criteria = 1,350 (the max if every respondent nominated an agency as best on all criteria) minus the sum of those abstaining on each criterion (109) = 1,241

** Not ranked in Top 50

*** Figures for 1990 -99 are for Lowe Howard-Spink only

Figures for 1997 are for TBWA Simons Palmer, post-merger; 1989-96 figures are for TBWA only

****Figures for 1990-99 are for Grey London only

<b>Importance of Nine Criteria </b> Rank Criteria Importance rating Change 99 – 00 Av. rating out of 10 00 99 98 1 1 1 Creativity 64.7% +4.7 8.78 2 2 2 Value for money in results achieved 51.9% -7.4 8.53 3= 3 3 Ability to act in clients’ longer-term best interests based on understanding their business and their markets 45.3% -2.7 8.41 3= 5 4 Media planning, buying and replacement 45.3% +9.9 7.46 5 4 5 Quality of account managers 39.5% -3.8 8.21 6 6 6 Marketing strategy and analysis 33.2% -0.1 7.79 7 7 7 Attentiveness and adaptability to client companies 32.0% +5.3 7.88 8 8 8 Financial stability and strong agency manAgement 22.6% +1.3 7.31 9 9 9 Coverage of major markets outside the UK 7.9% +3.2 4.12 * The criteria are ranked by the percent rating them as nine or ten on a ten-point scale of importance

Importance of Nine Criteria

<b>Top 10 for agency </b> Rank Criteria % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 2 3 BMP DDB 21.9% +3.9 2 3 1= AMV.BBDO 18.1% +1.4 3 6 9= M&C Saatchi 15.4% +4.7 4 1 1 Bartle Bogle Hegarty 14.8% -7.9 5 4 7= HHCL & Partners 13.4% -0.6 6 9= 4 Saatchi & Saatchi 10.1% +1.4 7 7= 11 St Luke’s 8.8% -0.5 8 Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R 7.9% -0.1 9 5 6 TBWA GGT Simons Palmer 7.5% -4.0 10 9= 5 J Walter Thompson 6.8% -1.9 [Unable to say which are best at providing creativity: 3.7% * = Percents, based on all responding, total more than 100% because up to three nominations were accepted **= Not ranked in Top 50

Top 10 for agency

<b>Top 10 for value for money </b> Rank Agency % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 1 5 BMP DDB 13.1% -1.8 2 2 4 J Walter Thompson 9.1% -3.6 3 4= 2 AMV.BBDO 8.5% -0.5 4 3 3 McCann-Erickson 7.9% 0.0 5 10= 11 M&C Saatchi 7.6% +1.6 6 20= 24= Publicis 7.4% +3.7 7 10= 12 HHCL & Partners 7.0% +1.0 8 4= 6= Ogilvy & Mather 6.3% -2.7 9 6= ** WWAV Rapp Collins 5.6% -1.9 10 10= 20= Lowe Lintas 5.4% -0.6 Unable to say which are best: 3.7% * = Percents, based on all responding, total more than 100% because up to three nominations were accepted. ** = Not ranked in Top 50

Top 10 for value for money

<b>Top 10 for ability to act in Client’s longer term interests based on understanding their business and their markets </b> Rank Criteria % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 2 4 BMP DDB 16.3% -0.2 2 1 1 J Walter Thompson 14.8% -2.5 3 3= 2 AMV.BBDO 13.2% -0.5 4 3= 5 Ogilvy & Mather 9.4% -4.3 5 3= 3 McCann-Erickson 9.2% -4.5 6 18= 17= Publicis 8.2% +4.6 7 11=, 11= 20=, 13= Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R 7.4% -2.0 8 16= 14= HHCL & Partners 7.2% +3.6 9 15 8 M&C Saatchi 6.5% +1.5 10 11 14= Lowe Lintas 6.4% -0.1 Unable to say which are best at providing creativity: 3.7% * = Percents, based on all responding, total more than 100% because up to three nominations were accepted. ** = Not ranked in Top 50

Top 10 for ability to act in Client’s longer term interests based on understanding their business and their markets

<b>Top 10 for media planning, buying and placement </b> Rank Agency % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 1 1 Zenith Media 15.3% -14.6 2 5= 6 MediaVest UK 15.0% +3.9 3 4 10 New PHD 13.3% +1.5 4 8= 7= MindShare 13.0% +6.1 5 5= 18 MediaCom TMB 11.9% -0.8 6 2 2 Carat 11.5% -12.4 7 26= 18 Manning Gottlieb Media 7.5% +5.4 8 ** ** OMD UK 7.0% 9 7 11= Optimedia 6.6% -1.7 10 11= 11= Universal McCann 6.1% -0.5 Unable to say which are best at providing creativity: 3.7% * = Percents, based on all responding, total more than 100% because up to three nominations were accepted ** = Not ranked in Top 50

Top 10 for media planning, buying and placement

<b>Top 10 for quality of account managers </b> Rank Agency % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 1 1= J Walter Thompson 15.9% -1.1 2 2 7 BMP DDB 14.9% -0.7 3 3= 1= AMV.BBDO 11.6% -3.5 4 6 6 Ogilvy & Mather 10.5% -1.7 5 3= 3= Saatchi & Saatchi 8.4% -6.6 6 9= 8 M&C Saatchi 8.0% -0.5 7 11 33=, 12 Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R 7.3% -1.2 8 5 3= McCann-Erickson 6.9% -6.0 9 14 15 HHCL & Partners 5.2% +1.1 10 17 10= Lowe Lintas 5.2% +1.8 Unable to say which are best at providing creativity: 3.7% * = Percents, based on all responding, total more than 100% because up to three nominations were accepted ** = Not ranked in Top 50

Top 10 for quality of account managers

<b>Top 10 for marketing strategy and analysis </b> Rank Agency % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 2 1 J Walter Thompson 19.2% -1.5 2 1 3 BMP DDB 18.3% -0.8 3 3 2 AMV.BBDO 15.5% +1.3 4 7 5= Ogilvy & Mather 11.6% +1.7 5 24 11 HHCL & Partners 10.9% +8.1 6 4 5= Saatchi & Saatchi 9.4% -1.9 7 10= 8 M&C Saatchi 8.2% +1.1 8 8 7 McCann-Erickson 7.4% +1.8 9 16=, 21= 15=, 19= Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R 7.2% +1.8 10 13 12= Lowe Lintas 6.5% -0.1 Unable to say which are best: 3.7% * = Percents, based on all responding, total more than 100% because up to three nominations were accepted. ** = Not ranked in Top 50

Top 10 for marketing strategy and analysis

<b>Top 10 for attentiveness and adaptability to clients </b> Rank Agency % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 2= 5 BMP DDB 13.4% -1.6 2 4 1 AMV.BBDO 12.3% +0.9 3 16 15= Publicis 9.9% +5.6 4 1 2 J Walter Thompson 9.6% -8.3 5 5 4 Ogilvy & Mather 8.1% -2.6 6= 6 19, 15 Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R 8.0% +3.7 6= 6 7 Saatchi & Saatchi 8.0% -2 8 2= 3 McCann-Erickson 7.7% -7.3 9 11 12= Lowe Lintas 7.5% +3.2 10 23 15= HHCL & Partners 6.0% +3.1 Unable to say which are best: 3.7% * = Percents, based on all responding, total more than 100% because up to three nominations were accepted. ** = Not ranked in Top 50

Top 10 for attentiveness and adaptability to clients

<b>Top 10 for financial stability and strong agency management </b> Rank Agency % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 1 1 J Walter Thompson 24.5% -2.8 2 6 4= Ogilvy & Mather 17.9% +3.5 3 4= 6 BMP DDB 17.1% +1.3 4 3 2 AMV.BBDO 14.9% -1.6 5= 2 3 McCann-Erickson 9.4% -7.9 5= 4= 4= Saatchi & Saatchi 9.4% -6.4 7 13= 23= Publicis 7.5% +1.7 8= 17= 15= Lowe Lintas 7.4% +3.1 8= 9= 8 M&C Saatchi 7.4% +0.2 10 16 11= TBWA GGT Simons Palmer 7.1% +2.1 Unable to say which are best: 3.7% * = Percents, based on all responding, total more than 100% because up to three nominations were accepted. ** = Not ranked in Top 50

Top 10 for financial stability and strong agency management

<b>Top 10 for coverage of major markets outside the UK </b> Rank Agency % Naming* agency Difference against 99 00 99 98 1 1 1 J Walter Thompson 30.0% +0.8 2 2 2 McCann-Erickson 20.5% -4.0 3 3= 4 Ogilvy & Mather 19.6% -2.1 4 3= 3 Saatchi & Saatchi 17.6% -4.1 5 5= ** Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R 11.5% -3.6 6 17 15 Lowe Lintas 9.4% +6.6 7 5= 11= BMP DDB 9.2% -5.9

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