School Reports 2016: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO


Unable to secure a cheaper deal with its landlord, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO was forced to move to Omnicom's Southwark office in 2015. AMV was outgrowing its old offices anyway, but many would have rather stayed cramped than share a building with rival shops and, naturally, there was fallout to deal with. True to stereotypes, it was the creative department that struggled to adapt, rebelling against the open-plan seating.

With all that to deal with, it was probably no coincidence that 2015 was a disappointing new-business year. AMV failed to land either the BBC or Twitter, and it parted ways with Heinz, Aviva and (part of) Cancer Research UK. That said, the agency might be better off without Heinz given its near-hostile procurement terms.

AMV’s only win (excluding the global Bacardi account, which was won on a network level) was Thunderhead – a tech client that probably won’t spend much after the launch campaign.

But the agency can hold its head up high in terms of creative output. If the executive creative directors, Alex Greive and Adrian Rossi, are developing a style, it’s one of pure entertainment. Sainsbury’s now-annual attempt to steal John Lewis’ Christmas thunder resulted in the joyful revival of Mog, while a host of naff celebrities self-deprecated to good effect for a Lotto campaign.

The runaway success was Jeff Goldblum’s laugh-out-loud performance for Currys PC World. Full credit to AMV for casting Goldblum and then just letting him do his thing.

Not a bad year by anyone else’s standards but, as one of the industry’s elite, AMV won’t be happy with it.

How the agency rates itself: 7

"Won the global Bacardi business and Thunderhead. Innovated with the creation of AMV Live, our experiential specialist and our new brand partnerships division. Won loads of creative and strategic awards including Strategy Agency of the Year at the APG Awards. Invested in our talent with a fantastic creative team from Mother. Continued to create exciting and innovative work for our many clients. Won the Christmas battle with Mog and Jeff Goldblum."

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership Omnicom (BBDO)
Nielsen billings 2015 £511m
Nielsen billings 2014 £472m
Declared income £64.7m (2014)
Total accounts at year end 37
Accounts won 2 (biggest: Bacardi)
Accounts lost 4 (biggest: Aviva)
Number of staff 431 (-2%)
Women in senior management 17%
BAME staff in senior management 4%
Key personnel Ian Pearman, chief executive
Alex Grieve, executive creative director
Adrian Rossi, executive creative director
Craig Mawdsley, joint strategic officer
Bridget Angear, joint strategic officer

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.

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