School Reports 2013: DraftFCB


Score: 5  Last year: 5

After a disappointing 2011, DraftFCB attempted to pick up the momentum it had previously lacked.

Under the leadership of Kate Howe, the agency experienced some senior management changes, but ended the year stronger than it began. While DraftFCB reduced its headcount by 14 to 146, it was at the senior level that changes seemed most fundamental.

In March, DraftFCB’s executive creative director, Mark Fiddes, left the agency. Alistair Ross was promoted from head of ideas to head of creative, but has since left the shop.

DraftFCB also lost its global chief planning officer, Simon Calvert, who left after three years to join Kitcatt Nohr Digitas as the worldwide head of strategic planning. After his departure, DraftFCB recruited DDB UK’s deputy head of planning, Vicki Holgate, as its head of planning.

In May, the agency hired Grey’s managing director, Simon White, as its European chief planning officer. The agency also appointed Steven Bennett-Day as the digital creative director from Skive, where he was a creative partner.

Three months later, Howe was promoted to the position of regional president for Europe at the network, replacing the acting president, Paul Mead.

It wasn’t all about people moves – the agency also managed to improve its new-business record significantly from 2011, picking up 12 accounts.

While the majority were for projects, such as the Department of Health’s health visitor brief, there were also some retainer wins. These included the appointment by LighterLife for CRM and digital, and the Jamaica Tourist Board advertising account after a review at the end of 2011.

Despite a dreadful ad for Nivea for Men, the agency landed its first wins at the D&AD and Creative Circle awards for its "cross the line" activity for Sported.

This slight improvement in terms of creative and new-business performance provides DraftFCB, which has a new global chief executive in Carter Murray, with a platform for 2013.

Type of agency Integrated
Company ownership Interpublic
Key personnel Kate Howe regional president
Simon White European chief planning officer
Vicki Holgate head of UK planning
Sharon Jiggins managing director
Nielsen billings 2012 £28m
Nielsen billings 2011 £40m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 34
Accounts won 12 (biggest: Celesio/Lloyds Pharmacy)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 146 (-9%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

How Draftfcb rates itself: 7

"Some firsts, lots of wins and not a single loss. First time wins at Creative Circle, Arrows, Kinsale and D&AD.  A dozen new clients, including Lloyds Pharmacy, Aqua di Parma and Lighter Life, plus extending our reach with Coke. We're also building for the future, with Alistair Ross appointed head of creative, Kate Howe promoted to regional president, significant hirings including Simon White from Grey, Vicki Holgate from DDB, and Steven Bennett-Day from Skive."


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