Interpublic, the US-headquartered holding company, was just as challenged as its rivals in 2020.
In addition the end of the year saw long-serving chief executive Michael Roth bow out and hand over the reins to Philippe Krakowsky.
However, its leading UK agencies put in a consistently high-quality performance, with MullenLowe handling the high profile UK government public health messaging on coronavirus.
These are the Interpublic shops that achieved the highest scores in Campaign’s School Reports.
Initiative says 2020 was its "best year ever". The agency came out of the pandemic crisis virtually unscathed, having made only two redundancies and bringing all furloughed staff back to work.
Winning Deliveroo's £34m UK media planning and buying account in May was a major shot in the arm, having already bagged the non-UK business in September 2019. It ended 2020 with fourth spot in Campaign's media new-business rankings.
McCann UK’s top-spending client Aldi, home of Kevin the Carrot, was the highest-ranked supermarket on YouTube’s Christmas ads leaderboard.
The overall number-one spot was also scooped by McCann, with its (also animated) festive spot for Smyths Toys Superstores by McCann Manchester. The two ads helped knock John Lewis off the podium for the first time since 2016.
It was a year of challenges and one that Momentum calls the most game-changing of the agency's lifetime as it switched live event production to virtual events.
But it did so successfully and was named by Campaign as its Brand Experience Agency of the Year for 2020.
The agency picked up several new accounts and had no retained relationship losses.
MRM UK enabled working patterns that provided leeway for caring responsibilities, appointed a mental-health first-aider and made the Headspace app available to all employees. Its focus on wellbeing extended to creative for domestic violence charity No More Foundation in “#ListeningFromHome”.
MullenLowe had the Herculean task of creating the government’s Covid advertising. While the national response to the crisis has been questionable at times, the agency deserves major credit for understanding the appropriate tone at each point in the pandemic, translating sometimes confused government messaging and avoiding significant mistakes.
At the same time, it has worked on the perhaps even more challenging post-Brexit UK transition campaign.