Adam & Eve/DDB was the most successful agency in new business in 2018, knocking VCCP off the top spot after seven consecutive years, AAR’s annual survey has revealed.
The Omnicom agency won 26 pieces of new business from any source last year, including the hotly contested £42m Camelot account. VCCP came a close second with 25 wins.
The biggest riser year on year was Wieden & Kennedy, which took joint fifth place, up from joint 25th in 2017. MullenLowe also entered the top 10, having also been joint 25th in 2017. Uncommon Creative Studio was the only new entry in the league.
M&C Saatchi had the best competitive pitch conversion rate at 90% of the 10 contests it took part in. Karmarama was second with an 88.8% conversion rate out of nine pitches undertaken. Lucky Generals rose to joint third with 85.7%, up from 24th in 2017.
VCCP proved to be the most popular choice when the client was able to choose any agency that fit its brief. The agency had 20 "open opportunities", while Creature came second place with 16. The biggest riser was Fold7 in joint fifth place with 11 opportunities, up from joint 32nd in 2017.
The volume of pitches for ad agencies fell by 0.3% year on year. However, Kerry Glazer, chief executive of AAR, said: "It was encouraging in that, alongside some major brands who reviewed including Asda, Camelot, Co-op, Lidl and Moneysupermarket, there were also a number of businesses who appointed agencies for the first time, particularly those in the tech and food sectors."
Glazer added that agencies continued to be selective in terms of what they pitch for. "Agencies are much leaner and are being pragmatic by only taking on a new opportunity, particularly a competitive one, if they believe that they have the capacity to do a great job on it," she explained.
"This often means not taking on more than one pitch at a time and having to decline other opportunities, however significant they might be."
In addition, Glazer said that the 2019 new-business market is "already pretty buoyant", adding: "We wouldn’t be surprised to see a Liverpool/Manchester City-type race for the title come the end of the year, with perhaps a couple of surprise entrants in the running."