The Drum’s 2020 Predictions breakfast

Today, the Propeller Group and Upfront team were over at the famous Sea Containers building for The Drum’s 2020 Predictions breakfast event hosted by Ogilvy.

We saw panels, interviews and even a chat inspired by Blind Date! We learned a lot about what chiefs of both brands and agencies are considering as we enter a new decade.

A few bitesize nuggets that stood out:

  • Agencies need to work closely with brands to make sure brand promise evolves and endures amidst the changing world
  • Ebb and flow doesn’t have to be slow; it can be quick if you’re agile
  • Agency versus in-house isn’t a binary choice, it’s a scale
  • No singular expertise can solve problems, it’s all about having different points of view
  • Top predictions for 2020? Connectivity and better relationships

The event was kick-started by a fireside chat with CEO of Ogilvy, Michael Frolich and Brand & Marketing Director at Vodafone, Maria Koutsoudakis.

This discussion explored how agencies work with brands and how this will evolve in 2020. With some valuable insight into the world of telecoms giant Vodafone, Maria said, “We’ve really lent into the WPP family,” and touched on the importance of having the right agency structures in place. Michael added, “Agency versus in house isn’t a binary choice. Agencies lean in; we’ve always had things like secondment. It wasn’t called in housing then, it was just what we did.”

Following this conversation, The Drum introduced Hero Brown, founder of Muddy Stilettos, Misha Sokolov, co-founder at MNFST, Stephanie Genin, global VP enterprise marketing at Hootsuite, Ed Preedy, chief revenue officer, Cavai, all discussing how commerce is evolving.

Hero spoke about how, as a brand that talks to people outside of London, community is important to Muddy Stilettos. She cited Sweaty Betty as being good at this: “They do local classes and have nutritional advice on their website. They’re not only thinking about e-commerce but being authentic with their customers. As for the next 12 months, media publishers as active partners will be key.” Misha at MNFST predicted that “Micro influencers will be key for the next 12 months”, while Stephanie cited employee advocacy.

All in all a great morning of predictions and conversation; only time will tell which predictions prove correct…

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New Year, New Business Development Opportunities

New for 2020 – Propeller and Upfront launch Digital Content-led offer to help clients generate better quality sales leads from their marketing campaigns

Start the new decade as you mean to go on – filling your new business pipeline with leads generated by an integrated, high impact, business development campaign.

New for 2020, Propeller Group’s lead generation arm, Upfront Business Development, has created a comprehensive digital content-led offer for companies in the marketing services and technology sectors.

The package includes:

  • development of a highly targeted database
  • production of quarterly downloadable digital reports
  • landing page and social activity to drive downloads
  • distribution of digital reports by email campaigns to key prospects
  • creation of two supporting articles to promote key insights from the report via owned channels and LinkedIn
  • content awareness driven by email and social activity

The new offer from Propeller and Upfront has been launched in response to increased demand from our clients and industry contacts for more digital marketing content to power business development programmes.

In a crowded, competitive market you need to find new, creative ways of standing out and keeping top of mind with the decision-maker prospects that you want to reach and engage with. We can help you create digital content that your audience wants to read, watch or listen to, utilising a variety of channels and formats from blogs and e-books to video, podcasts, and LinkedIn. And we can help you get this content in front of the right audience to help drive your sales pipeline in 2020.

To find out more or set up a meeting get in touch at

Sharpening Business Development for the year ahead – have you downloaded our 2020 Vision Guide?

Propeller Group, Upfront and The BD100 have developed this guide which lays out the essential themes and trends business developers should bear in mind as they prepare for 2020 and beyond. It includes useful benchmarking data from agency peers survey results, plus insights, observations and advice from experts in the field, including members of the latest BD100 and contributions from Edit, ENGINE, Iris, VCCP and Wunderman Thompson.

Click here to download the full 2020 Vision Report.

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six start ups

Six start-ups seeking success by focusing on economic and cultural trends

We work with a lot of start-ups and scale-ups at Upfront. They may come as clients or we may approach them as prospects if they seem a good fit for a project. When considering how much name recognition a business may have – which is important for their credibility as a partner –  one rule of thumb in our auditing is to look at how much success they have had in raising funding.

At the bottom tier are those with seed funding, which is for the early stages of the business. Series A funding is sought when there is a solid customer base, but the company has yet to start product development or expanding (or both). This funding round is often dominated by one investor, typically a venture capital firm though crowdfunding is an increasingly popular alternative. Series B is when a business wants to expand yet needs money to meet the hoped-for demand. This can seem like Series A, though other investors often come on board at this point.

Series C funding is for the companies which have already built up a base and main product offering. What they are looking for now is to scale up. Think Deliveroo in 2015 or Reddit in 2017.

The probability of a company becoming a well-known brand is also much higher if it matches consumers’ changing needs and tastes. There are three prevailing economic and cultural trends that a product or service should look to map to right now.

The Flexi-worker

The gig economy means jobs and careers need to be rethought by both employers and employees.

More Choice. Less Money

Although technology has given millennials and Gen-Z more options than their parents, they are relatively poorer.

Make Things Simple

Consumers are happy to prioritise convenience and speed in a time-poor world.

Viewing the start-up scene through these lenses suggests the following companies will do well in the next few years.

Company: Zego

Funding Stage: Series B

Theme: The Flexi-worker

Founded: 2016

Latest Funding: $42M

Founded by Sten Saar and Harry Franks, two Deliveroo alumni who twigged pay-as-you-go insurance would appeal to their drivers, the Shoreditch-based start-up has raised $42m in its funding drive. This follows an extremely strong growth of around 900% in the last year.

With the gig economy doubling since 2016, and most workers aged between 16 and 34, demand for Zego’s insurance will increase over the next few years. Although much of the money will be spent on recruitment, a fair chunk will likely be saved for reaching out to the digitally-savvy younger generations who make up the bulk of the gig economy. It will also be needed for any expansion plans, whether in Europe or attracting non-delivery flexible workers. 

Company: Flatfair

Funding Stage: Series A

Theme: More Choice. Less Money.

Founded: 2016

Latest Funding: $11M

London-based Flatfair has raised $11 million with Index Ventures as the main investor. Much of this will be spent on recruitment to support its scaling plans; the glut of adverts for business development specialists on LinkedIn and Glassdoor could herald a major marketing drive.

What makes Flatfair stand out is its “deposit-free” offering, where tenants can pay a membership fee rather than a deposit, along with giving access to their bank account. When they move on, end-of-tenancy charges can be taken without any need for surety. Consumers seem happy to trade cheaper immediate costs for access to their accounts; though that may change if they feel the independent adjudicators hired to resolve disputes favour landlords too heavily.

According to its figures, Flatfair is enjoying 25% growth month-on-month and expects £15m in revenue during the next twelve months. The target customer base of younger consumers are most likely to rent and poorer. The opportunity to cut immediate cost and remove the main leverage landlords can have over them has an obvious strong appeal. Nevertheless, renters need a landlord. The landlords will be tempted by the chance to claim up to three month’s rent from the tenant than the standard five weeks, albeit in cases where the adjudicators feel any property damage reflects the fee.

Company: Cazoo

Funding Stage: Series B

Theme: Make Things Simple

Founded: 2018

Latest Funding: €28M

This start-up, located in the shadow of Euston station, is yet to launch but has already attracted strong interest from partners and investors. Cazoo picked up €27.7 million in a September funding drive. Started by the founder of Zoopla, Alex Chesterman, the platform hopes to disrupt the used-car selling market by offering simplicity and delivery.

The focus on convenience, both when using the platform and ensuring the car is delivered promptly, will appeal to the time-pressed motorist who needs a vehicle in a hurry. However, Cazoo has done a reasonably good job of hiding the details before launch, making it hard to work out exactly how different its platform is from future competitors, such as

Nevertheless, second-hand vehicles have a colossal number of variables which can go wrong and, given how they are more costly than books or fashion items, trust between buyer and seller is essential. As few people will be able to sell enough cars to get a solid trust rating, there is the possibility things can go wrong. The steps Cazoo take to solve this issue will determine if it succeeds.

Company: Curve

Funding Stage: Series B

Theme: Make Things Simple

Founded: 2015

Latest Funding: £4M

The results of Curve’s crowdfunding campaign in September may look small compared to the sums raised by other start-ups in this list. This is not the only difference. It was open to pre-registered customers who got the same valuation – £159 million – that Series B investors had in July. Curve hoped to get £1 million. It took the company a little over 40 minutes to get four times that amount.

The four-year-old fintech, founded by former Israeli special forces soldier Shachar Bialick, lets people combine all their payment cards into one. It has now raised around £60 million in total and is far along the scale-up process. Given how one card takes up less space (not to mention work) than many, Curve’s basic appeal probably won’t fall anytime soon.

Company: Strong Roots

Funding Stage: Series A

Theme: More Choice. Less Money

Founded: 2015

Latest Funding: £18M

This is a company which, at the time of writing, could face hurdles due to Brexit uncertainty. Yet there is still plenty to recommend Strong Roots, even if the Dublin-based vegetarian frozen-food firm forgoes its subsidiary in Shoreditch. The $18.3 million it picked up in September will be spent on a combination of expansion in the USA and research. It is also in the process of building its UK market penetration up from 4%. The current target is 90%.

Strong Roots’ success is largely due to consumers’ growing affinity for vegetarian options over meat equivalents. While it is possible meat will rebound, it won’t happen immediately. If Strong Roots expansion plans work, then it will be in a very strong position. The company has been eager to spend on advertising in the past, working with TBWA Dublin and Core Media, sponsoring Virgin Media’s coverage of the Six Nations and a food truck/camper van.

Company: Depop

Funding Stage: Series C

Theme: The Flexi-worker

Founded: 2011

Latest Funding:  $62M

Most start-ups do not get to Series C. Either they fail or are bought out. Depop is one of the exceptions. The fashion-focused ecommerce app picked up over $60 million from American investors in June as it seeks to expand stateside. Already established in Europe, with around five million users, the London-based company is trying to boost its membership to 15 million by 2022.  

The basic idea, according to founder Simon Beckerman in an  Artefact interview from 2015, is that “Depop is your own shop in your pocket”. Wherever the creative goes, their shop follows. Users – often the makers of the products– post pictures of what they want to sell or buy. It has proved popular; sellers have made over $570m through Depop since 2011. This is because it occupies a strong niche within the gig economy. More than a few people live by becoming freelance artisans. With no shift back to the former total dominance of permanent jobs, it is no surprise that people are adapting to their skills, as well as what they want to do.

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Stay Ahead with August’s Movers and Shakers

Working in Business Development, it’s hard to keep track of all the changes and the latest Movers & Shakers. Each month, our data and insight team at Upstream provide a monthly round up of the new appointments to help you stay ahead.

Here are August’s Movers and Shakers we recommend that you keep an eye on:

Former Global Chief Marketing Officer of Just Eat, Barnaby Dawe, has joined Pret A Manger as the Chief Customer Officer. The first person to take on this role in the company, Dawe will officially join in October and will be responsible for all Pret’s global marketing and communications activity.

Neil Hayes has been promoted to Marketing Director of Iceland Foods. His previous role was Merchandising and Format Development Director, and he will now be responsible for overseeing both marketing and merchandising.

Erin Roy has been appointed Marketing Director at The White Company. He has moved from Marks & Spencer where he was Head of Media & Digital Marketing.

Laura McLachlan has been promoted at Worldwide Cancer Research from Interim Director of Marketing & Communications to Director of Marketing.

Billie Jean De Voil has left Topshop Topman where he was Head of Marketing. He has moved to Lacoste where he has become Director of Marketing.

Border Biscuits has hired Suzie Carlaw as its newest Marketing Manager. She was formerly Marketing Controller and Quality Meat Scotland.

Lisa Coulson has been appointed Head of Marketing & Digital Innovation at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). She has moved from Virgin Media where she was Head of Marketing- Mobile.

BT has promoted Pete Oliver from Managing Director of Marketing to Managing Director of Marketing, Consumer Division BT & EE. This was part of a restructure aimed at speeding up the roll-out of new converged services.

Eve Tyers has left Bravissimo where she was Marketing Director. She has moved to Victoria’s Secret where she has also taken the position of Marketing Director.

If you would like to keep up to date on the latest movers & shakers as they happen each day, then you can stay ahead with our data and insight platform Stay Upstream. Click here to find out more.


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Stay Ahead with July’s Movers and Shakers

Working in Business Development, it’s hard to keep track of all the changes and the latest Movers & Shakers. Each month, our data and insight team at Upstream provide a monthly round up of the new appointments to help you stay ahead.

Here are July’s Movers and Shakers we recommend that you keep an eye on:

Michael Harris has been appointed Global Marketing Director, McVitie’s at Pladis Global. He has moved from General Mills where he was International Marketing Director, European Emerging Markets.

General Mills has hired Mark Brown as its new Marketing Director, Northern Europe. He has joined from Haagen Dazs where he was Global Senior Marketing Manager.

Patrick Megarry has moved to A.S Watson Group (Superdrug Stores plc) where he has become Head of Marketing. He previously worked at Proctor & Gamble, where he was Group Marketing Manager, Home Care Northern Europe. Superdrug also recently announced a growth in profit this year, attributing the steady financial figures to marketing campaigns like its sponsorship of ITV’s Love Island.

Lloyds Banking Group has appointed Richard Warren as its new Director, Marketing Communications. He has moved from GreenhouseGroupM, where he was Managing Director.

Rachel Waller has become VP Marketing, Digital at Burberry. She has moved from Farfetch where she was Global Director of Brand and Social Media.

Bruce Dallas has been promoted from Brand Director to GB Marketing Director at Britvic Plc. Dallas has been brand director of carbonates for the Robinsons, PepsiMax and 7Up producer for the past two years.

Vauxhall Motors has hired Patrick Fourniol as Marketing Director. Prior to this, Fourniol was at Al-Fattaim where he was Head of Marketing for Toyota.

Homebase has promoted Elia Green as from Head of Regional Marketing, Homebase Bunnings to Head of Marketing.

Clafoutie Sintive has been appointed Marketing Director, Snacks at Walkers Snacks. She has moved from L’Oreal where she was also Marketing Director, Beauty sets & Pure players.

Emma Thompson has been promoted from Senior Global CRM Manager to TIGI Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Unilever.

If you would like to keep up to date on the latest movers & shakers as they happen each day, then you can stay ahead with our data and insight platform Stay Upstream. Click here to find out more.

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Make sure you are set to win big in the second half of the year

As we pass the half way point of the year and move into the summer, it’s a good time to remind yourself of the new business objectives you set for the year. Are you on track to achieve these? It’s useful to review progress so far, look at what’s working well – and what’s not – and make sure you’re all set for a strong second half of the year.

The AAR recently reported a ‘positive diagnosis’ for new business, despite a 8.9% year-on-year drop in reviews in the first half of this year. There has been a number of major agency reviews completed by big spenders such as Shell, Camelot, Sky and Asda and momentum has picked up after a very slow first quarter. Advertising and Integrated pitches are down, media remains the same, whilst digital pitch activity is up 11.8%.

We spoke to Fran Brook, New Business Lead at MullenLowe, who shared her experience with us: “it doesn’t feel as though there has been as many new business opportunities in the first few months of this year compared to the same period in 2017. Having said that, the briefs that have gone out have been far greater in value, both creatively and financially. We now have a much clearer idea of what briefs we want to go for during the remainder of the year.”

It appears that clients are looking for more from agencies and the new business market is becoming increasingly competitive. In response, it seems that agencies are becoming more focused on what work they want to win and developing their agency models and structures accordingly. New business success is often about knowing which is the right work to pitch for and committing to this, which is likely to ensure a much higher conversion rate and a more sustainable business.

This was a topic covered at our recent Straight-Talking event which explored how the pitch process can be improved. Charlie Carpenter, Managing Director at Creativebrief, was on our panel and observed that: “agencies are now genuinely more selective about what they pitch for due to a lack of resource and the time that can be involved in a pitch process.”

Whilst the AAR report provides a positive update on the new business market, their Chief Executive Kerry Glazer goes on to warn: “The more significant issue is, however, that a similar sized new business market place is being shared out amongst an increasing number of very capable agencies.”

This can make it difficult for the client to make the right choice and it becomes increasingly important for agencies to stand out. Carolyn Mckeever, Global Head of Downstream Marketing at Shell, shared her experience with us from a recent pitch: “every agency came in and said they could do everything we wanted, across every market, in every possible way, in 4 different flavours. Which makes it very difficult to make that final decision.”

In response to this, many agencies have been reviewing their structure and ways of working, as well as paying more attention to their positioning and proposition. Ogilvy recently ditched Mather to introduce a new corporate identity as they aim to “build a new model for the industry” after streamlining and simplifying their organisation structure.

Whether it’s a formal pitch, or an opportunity without a comparative review, it’s really important to invest time into getting to know the client and bringing to life your approach. Charlie Carpenter, explained that “brands are increasingly making decisions based on approach, strategic thinking, chemistry, people, teams and ways of working.” It’s therefore important to know what you stand for as an agency and make sure this is aligned to a strong understanding of what the client actually needs.

Whilst the summer is often seen as a quiet time for new business, it’s a great time to fine tune your new business approach. Make sure that your objectives for the year are realistic and appropriate for your business – are you going after the right type of business? Then give yourself the best chance to achieve this by ensuring your proposition is relevant to the market today and highly focused. And make sure you have everything in place to deliver on this. By doing this you can make sure you stand out from the rest and maximize your chances of success over the coming months.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss further.

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Stay Ahead with June’s Movers and Shakers

Working in Business Development, it’s hard to keep track of all the changes and the latest Movers & Shakers. Each month, our data and insight team at Upstream provide a monthly round up of the new appointments to help you stay ahead.

Here are June’s Movers and Shakers we recommend that you keep an eye on:

Liz Darran has been appointed Marketing Director at Compare The Market. She has moved from Sky where she was Director of Brand Marketing.

Sainsbury’s has promoted Clodagh Moriarty from Director of Online to Group Chief Digital Officer. Moriarty will create and lead digital strategy across Sainsbury’s, Argos, Sainsbury’s Bank and Nectar with immediate effect.

Kirsty Keaveney has been appointed Brand Manager of Warburtons. She has moved from Living Ventures Group of Companies where she was Brand Marketing Manager.

Jon Brook has joined Interflora as Head of Marketing. He was previously as Inchcape where he was also Head of Marketing.

Mars has promoted former Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, Andrew Clarke, to Global President of Mars Wrigley Confectionery. He is replacing Martin Radvan, who is retiring after being at Mars for 32 years.

If you would like to keep up to date on the latest movers & shakers as they happen each day, then you can stay ahead with our data and insight platform Stay Upstream. Click here to find out more.

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Stay Ahead with May’s Movers and Shakers

Working in Business Development, it’s hard to keep track of all the changes and the latest Movers & Shakers. Each month, our data and insight team at Upstream provide a monthly round up of the new appointments to help you stay ahead.

Here are May’s Movers and Shakers we recommend that you keep an eye on:

Amanda Hill has joined Harrods where she has become Chief Marketing & Customer Officer. She has moved from A+E Networks in New York, where she was also Chief Marketing Officer. Hill’s appointment signals a new direction in creative marketing for both Harrods’ store and online operations. The Department Store has also appointed Jodie Blackbrough as their new Head of Online Content. She has moved from Harvey Nichols where she was Head of Brand & Customer Marketing.

Pentland Brands has promoted Helen Yarnall from Digital Communications Manager to Head of UK Shopper Marketing- Active Division.

Alexis Berger has been appointed Marketing Director, Stella Artois Europe at Anheuser-Busch InBev. She was previously Global Marketing Director, Stella Artois in the New York office.

Ryanair has promoted Chiara Ravara from Senior Sales and Marketing Manager to Head of Sales and Marketing. Ryanair also announced it’s ‘Thanks a Billion’ sale this month to celebrate the platform getting a total of one billion visits.

Red Bull has promoted former Head of Marketing, Peter Charles to Managing Director. Peter has been at Red Bull since 2014 joining as Head of Brand, having previously been at Pepsico for nine years.

Former Chief Commercial Officer of EasyJet, Peter Duffy has moved to Just Eat where he has become the company’s first Chief Customer Officer. This news was announced the same week that Just Eat confirmed the departure of Barnaby Dawe as Global Chief Marketing Officer. Barnaby was responsible for signing a continuous sponsorship deal with The X Factor, which was estimated to be worth near £30 million.

Dr. Martens has appointed Kenny Wilson as its new CEO. Dr. Martens has not had a CEO since Steve Murray left the position late last year. Wilson has moved from Cath Kidston where has was also CEO.

James Heywood has left Amazon where he was former Director, Electronics. He has moved to Uber where he was Regional General Manager, Northern & Eastern Europe.

Camilla Hoskisson has joined AIG Europe, where she has become digital marketing manager. She has moved from MetLife where she was Digital Marketing and Customer Experience Manager.

Jaguar Land Rover has had a large restructure of its marketing department. Former Chief Marketing Officer, Felix Brautigam, who joined the company in November has become Chief Commercial Officer. Fiona Pargeter has been promoted from Global PR Communications Director to Customer Experience Director. Anthony Bradbury has also changed roles from Global Communications Director to UK Marketing Director.

Nicola Pearle has joined Sweaty Betty as Head of Brand. She has joined from Net-A-Porter, where she was former Senior Marketing Manager, Maternity Cover.

If you would like to keep up to date on the latest movers & shakers as they happen each day, then you can stay ahead with our data and insight platform Stay Upstream. Click here to find out more.

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Stay Ahead with April’s Movers and Shakers

Working in Business Development, it’s hard to keep track of all the changes and the latest Movers & Shakers. Each month, our data and insight team at Upstream provide a monthly round up of the new appointments to help you stay ahead.

Here are April’s Movers and Shakers we recommend that you keep an eye on:

Abigail Comber has left British Airways after 26 years where she was Global Head of Brand and Marketing. Comber’s credentials include relaunching the brand’s slogan ‘To fly. To Serve.’ She will be replaced by Hamish McVey, who was previously Head of Product.

Elliot Pritchard has been promoted at Avis from Online Marketing Director to International Marketing Director. He is now leading marketing for Avis, Budget & Zipcar in EMEA and APAC.

Katherine Whitton is leaving Barclaycard, where she was Chief Marketing Officer. She is moving to Specsavers where she will replace Global Brand Director, Richard Holmes, who announced his retirement after 11 years at the company.

Caroline Hipperson has moved to Holland & Barrett where she has been appointed CMO. She has moved from Bacardi where she was Global VP of Martini.

Bianca Richter has left Beats by Dr. Dre where she was Brand Director. She has moved to Nike where she has taken on the same position as Brand Director.

Rebecca Barrie has left British Airways where she was the Head of Marketing Strategy, Planning & Performance. She has moved to Corinthia Hotels, where she has taken the position of Senior Director of Marketing.

Odeon has appointed Chris Bates as Commercial and Marketing Director, UK & Ireland. He has moved from John Lewis where he was Head of CRM and Digital Marketing.

Austin Noorkoiv has joined Jack Wills as Global Digital Marketing Manager. He was formerly Digital Marketing Manager at Pentland Brands. This move has come soon after Jack Wills had its online debut in Asia on Zalora.

Richard Myers has moved to Vita Coco where he has been appointed Marketing Director. He was previously at Meantime Brewing Company where he was also Marketing Director.

Meera Patel has been hired as Head of Marketing for Sport & Lifestyle at Swarovski UK. She has moved from BHB Private, where she was Head of Partnerships and Marketing. Swarovski also announced its recent appointment of Publicis 133 as its new global creative agency, after a pitch process including over twenty agencies.

SIG plc has appointed Stacey Morgan as their new UK Sales & Marketing Director. She has moved from Flogas Britain where she was previously Sales and Marketing Director. SIG has also promoted former category director, Lee Caffrey to Marketing and Development Director.

Jessica Shepherd has been promoted from International Brand and Digital Director to Strategy Director of Debenhams. Her new role will involve the overseeing of the brand’s strategy, though she will not be appointed to the firm’s board.

AccorHotels has had a shuffle of its marketing team, hiring Laura Lester as their new Head of Marketing- Eco Brands. Laura has moved from Odeon Cinemas where she was brand manager. Anna Jouannon, a former Digital Marketing and Communications Teacher, has also joined the hotel operator as Head of B2B Marketing.

If you would like to keep up to date on the latest movers & shakers as they happen each day, then you can stay ahead with our data and insight platform Upstream. Click here to find out more.

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Campaign Live’s School Reports 2018

Campaign has recently published its annual school reports for 2018, the definitive listing of the UK’s most successful agencies. The Top 100 lists are collected by Nielsen based on the account and billing information given by agencies.

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO remained at the top of the list of creative agencies for another year, despite it suffering a 17.2% loss in billings from 2017 and the high profile loss of the Sainsbury’s account to Wieden & Kennedy after 35 years as a client. Abbott Mead’s victory highlights an increasingly challenging landscape and the importance of new business to bounce back from unexpected client losses.

A 10.8% annual increase in billings led to Adam & Eve/DDB taking second spot, replacing McCann Erickson. After being named Campaign’s Advertising Agency of the Year 2017, Adam & Eve/DDB followed this up with a great year of wins, including GWR, Sky Sports and EA Sports.

VCCP, who described 2017 as its best year ever, moved from eighth place to fifth. The agency won a total of 24 accounts last year, the most notable being Cadbury and Domino’s after an intensive pitching process. The agency was also recognised by the AAR as top new business agency for the seventh year in a row. VCCP is clearly prioritising and excelling on the new business front, ranked no 1 by the AAR for their pitch success last year.

Campaign’s 2018 School Report also unveiled The Top 20 Media Agencies. Mediacom remained at the top spot, winning a total of 36 accounts last year, its biggest being PSA Group. The Agency predicts that its success in 2018 will rely largely on its biggest client, Sky, who this month is due to complete its first media review in 13 years.

PHD should also be mentioned here. It’s near loss of one its biggest clients, Sainsbury’s (who was reviewing both its advertising and media agencies) was one of the most talked about pitch processes in recent years. Despite the stress of this, and losing in total 6 accounts, the win of Argos resulted in a 52.6% increase in billings, resulting in the agency rising from tenth place to sixth. This again is another example highlighting how new business is vital for underpinning agency success.

See Campaign Live’s full school reports here

This year’s school reports allude to the fact that the current tougher backdrop is hitting the biggest and most successful agencies. Yet the ones that continue to thrive are those that put new business at the forefront of their agenda.

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