School Reports 2017: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

  • Samsung


  • Virgin Media

    Virgin Media


Score: 6
Last year: 6

How the agency rates itself: 7

In 2014, there was lots of talk of Bartle Bogle Hegarty being "in the garage" for maintenance. But a year on, in the first half of 2016, the mechanics downed tools.

In what amounted to a senior management exodus, managing director Mel Exon, chief strategy officers Jason Gonsalves and Jonathan Bottomley, and deputy executive creative director Caroline Pay left within weeks of each other. Long-standing deputy ECD Rosie Arnold also moved on around the same time.

BBH saw the vacuum as an opportunity to promote its next tier, moving Adam Arnold to managing director, Lilli English and Will Lion to heads of planning, and Ian Heartfield and Anthony Austin to joint deputy ECDs. This is a relatively inexperienced management team but one that is hungry and has a point to prove. And it was boosted in January 2017 by the arrival of Y&R’s Alison Hoad as chief strategy officer across the group.

There were a few client changes in 2016 – Clarks and Ladbrokes moved activity in-house, while work with Heineken’s Sol came to an end. But these were outweighed by a flurry of new clients, including Experian, Uber, AstraZeneca, Deloitte, Next, Halfords, Virgin Mobile, London 2017 World Athletics, Ray-Ban, Eurosport and Prostate Cancer UK.

Importantly, BBH replaced its former long-standing Diageo client with another major drinks company, Pernod Ricard, securing vodka brand Absolut.

By the year’s end, both the RAC and British Airways accounts were up for review. After BBH decided not to repitch for RAC, Forever Beta picked it up in early 2017.

Creative jewels in 2016 included "9.58 seconds" for Virgin Media, Samsung’s "School of Rio" and some well-crafted ads for Audi. Despite the sniffy industry reception to its Tesco TV spots, BBH’s work helped the retailer win Campaign Brand Story of the Year.

If the agency can retain prized client BA, then 2017 could be bright.

How the agency describes its performance this year, in 75 words or less

We won 12 accounts including Uber, Ray-Ban and Absolut.

Creative highlights included Virgin Media "Bolt", Audi "Spin", St John Ambulance "Babygrow", Samsung "School of Rio" and Tesco "Father’s Day".

We produced a multi award-winning short film, Home, which is on the long list for a Bafta. Two of our biggest clients, Tesco and Virgin Media, were nominated for Campaign’s Brand and Campaign of the Year, respectively. BBH is starting to win again.

How the agency describes its year in a tweet

BBH is starting to win again.

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

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