Nielsen billings 2017: £69m (-32%)
Declared income: £33m
Total accounts at year end: 74
Accounts won: 17 (biggest: Eurosport)
Accounts lost: 11 (biggest: Costa)
Number of staff: 394 (+37%)
Key personnel: Dale Gall, chief executive; Tom Knox, executive partner; Phil Rumbol, executive partner; Laurence Green, executive partner; Jose Miguel Sokoloff, chief creative officer
Star player: Trudy Waldron, director of integrated production
MullenLowe continued to prove a slightly baffling offering. After the exodus of DLKW Lowe alumni in 2016, the agency chose to buy its way to a better future by acquiring creative shop 101 and Salt PR. While any ad agency would be envious of having 101’s Laurence Green and executive creative director Mark Elwood on its books, one wonders how long MullenLowe can justify so many chiefs running the show.
The big cloud hanging over MullenLowe was Unilever, which has been on a mission to cut the number of agencies it employs. Worse still was losing Flora and Stork as a result of the FMCG giant selling off its spreads business. No wonder, then, that both billings and gross income were down 30%, leading to a £782,000 loss.
While 17 account wins is a decent haul (Eurosport’s integrated business being the biggest), MullenLowe never seemed realistically to be in the hunt for the biggest pitches at play last year. Will the "hyperbundled" integrated offering be more of a draw for global brands in particular? It certainly hopes so but the jury remains out.
Dale Gall, the Profero chief, whose task it is to manage this operation, is intent on the agency producing work with greater impact; 101 could at least point to noticeable brand-building work for Zoopla. The agency will also be keen to increase its awards haul, which was lacking last year, save for retaining its crown as Effie UK’s most effective agency. More will be expected from creative chief Jose Miguel Sokoloff – and indeed Elwood – in making a better showing at Cannes and D&AD.
SCORE THIS YEAR
SCORE LAST YEAR
Agency's year in a tweet
A year when battling the headwinds gave way to enjoying the tailwinds.
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
*indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation