School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]
Above & Beyond

    Above & Beyond

    Type of agency & ownership:  Independent creative agency
    Nielsen billings 2017: £29m (-52%)
    Declared income: £5.6m
    Total accounts at year end: 11
    Accounts won: 6 (biggest: Ornua Foods UK)
    Accounts lost: 0
    Number of staff: 30 (+43%)
    Key personnel: Zaid Al-Zaidy, partner and chief executive; David Billing, partner and chief creative officer; Nic Ost, partner and chief operating officer; Tom Bedwell, brand services director; Ed Cox, media partner
    Star player: n/s

    Year in review

    It seems only fitting that Above & Beyond should be making its School Reports debut. Having just celebrated its fifth birthday, the agency appears to have become grown-up all of a sudden.

    Its growing maturity is underlined by 40% year-on-year revenue growth and 15th spot in Campaign’s 2017 business league table. True, the agency posted a 52% billing drop in 2017, but it claims that this is due either to new clients not booking conventional media or because of work in development.

    All this suggests that Above & Beyond is finding sympathetic ears among clients – the newest include Unilever, Pokémon and Pilgrims Choice – for its declared intent to break down the barriers between advertising and other entertainment and communications channels.

    The agency underlined its ambition when it appointed Zaid Al-Zaidy as chief executive in June 2016. The former McCann London boss is aiming to shape an agency that mirrors changing times. Writing in Campaign in November, he talked of an "amazing period" for the industry and a power-shift towards more nimble agencies with collaborative spirits.

    Other significant hirings during the year included Ed Cox, formerly Forward Media’s managing director, in the new role of media partner. At the same time, the agency added muscle to its creative department in the wake of new-business assignments, including extra work from Amazon, in the shape of Ben da Costa and Nathalie Gordon from CHI & Partners and Sunshine respectively.

    Agency's Year In A Tweet

    "30 people, ranked a Top30 agency in 2017 and only 5 yrs old. This is just the start – as our motto says, we’re #alwayssearchingneverperching"


    Score this year: 6
    Score last year: n/a
    How the agency scores itself: 6
    Management strength: 6
    Creativity: 6
    Innovation: 6
    New business: 6
    Diversity: 7

    Business performance and accounts

    Gross income

    Latest: n/s
    Previous: n/s
    Change: n/s

    Operating profit

    Latest: n/s
    Previous: n/s
    Change: n/s

    List of total accounts Retained:

    The Balvenie

    x Kerrygold

    Pilgrims Choice






    Mitchells & Butlers

    Meantime Brewing Company

    London Designer Outlet

    Unilever Food Solutions

    Top three spending accounts: Amazon (n/s)

    The Balvenie (n/s)

    Betway (n/s)

    Number of retained accounts: 4
    Number of accounts that are projects: 7
    Biggest win: Ornua Foods (£1m)
    Biggest lost: 0



    Haymarket award wins


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