It's hard to know whether Mother became Creative Agency of the year when it scooped the £41m Orange account or when Egg's chief executive credited its advertising for bringing 205,000 new customers to the bank.
Winning the Orange business in October against such strong contenders as BBH, M&C Saatchi and WCRS demonstrated much more than the benefit of maintaining strong relationships with former clients. It proved that Mother's undoubted creative calibre was ready to deliver for the big league what it has brought to so many smaller dynamic brands. 'Muck About', Mother's first tactical work for the brand's picture messaging service, broke in late November and the ads' playful irreverent tone is exactly what would be expected, and desired, from Mother.
The win rounded off a storming new business year for the agency, which saw it also walk away with UK TV and UK Gold, Coca-Cola's Burn energy drink, Castlemaine XXXX, COI anti-drugs, Comic Relief, Siemens, Red Letter Days and Emap's Sneak magazine. All told Mother had scored £81m of new business, more than any other agency, as this supplement went to press - and who could be confident enough to say that's how its year will end?
It's a rare occurrence indeed for a chief executive to put strong financials down to their latest TV ads, but in late July that's exactly what happened for Mother. Egg chief executive Paul Gratton claimed that the online bank's 205,000 new customers were largely the result of "the Q2 TV advertising campaign outperforming expectations". Critics muttered about justifying ad budgets and "balls on the line" after signing off the quirky 'Brilliant Industries' campaign, but the figures bear up Gratton's claims. Awareness of the Egg brand hit a record in October; brand saliency hit an all-time high, ahead of Halifax for the first time in October; and Egg sales rose consistently throughout the year.
For Guinness UDV-owned Pimm's, Mother was able to prove the effectiveness of its ads starring the posh but unworldly Harry in a variety of unlikely situations. The ads aired in London and the South between May and September and significantly lifted brand saliency by the end of the campaign. Recall overtook that of rival summer mixables, while 25-44 ABC1s using the brand in the past four weeks more than tripled immediately following the Harry TV campaign.
Sales of Sneak magazine grew from nil to a weekly average of 93,000 after six months,and following two weeks of advertising, prompted brand awareness was strong.
Such a strong record of effectiveness in 2002 belies the myth that Mother is a creative hotshop whose one joke is more effective with creative awards jurors than actual consumers.
That said, the agency won more than its fair share of accolades in 2002.
At Creative Circle it took Gold for the Dr Pepper 'Emergency' ad, while Supernoodles and the Schweppes series of press ads took a host of silver and bronze awards - as they did at D&AD. At the British Television Advertising Awards Mother walked away with Gold for Supernoodles 'Face Off', a spoof on the musical West Side Story in which the Super Noodles gang take on the puny Salad gang.
The only blot on Mother's copy book in 2002 was the demise of ITV Digital, and the technical loss of £27m in billings. Given the popularity of Mother's ads and the Monkey icon it created for the ill-fated TV platform, blame for this cannot be laid at the agency's door. It handled the subsequent PR over disputed ownership of Monkey with aplomb, making ITV, not for the first time in 2002, look slow, arrogant and greedy.
DELANEY LUND KNOX WARREN
Delaney Lund Knox Warren was one of the most admired agencies in 2002, even if it was just beaten to the top honours. Everyone had something good to say about the agency: the vigour and talent it put into winning pitches, the ability of its founders and, for once, its creative output.
DLKW won five consecutive Vauxhall pitches worth £53m, plus Burger King's £10m work - all at the expense of Lowe. It also picked up COI Sexual Health, Bank of Scotland Business, and Sony corporate.
Creatively, the Vauxhall Corsa 'Hide & Seek' ad stood out, boosting awareness to 78% from 66%.
The COI Sexual Health work employs a witty 'Sex Lottery' theme, and its lightness of touch looks set to repeat the success of DLKW's 2002 Teenage Pregnancy campaign.
The agency's work for Halifax continued its extraordinary success for the client, which reached its highest position on share of current accounts, from 18% to 20% (3% in 2001). The agency picked up a Gold Award for Halifax in the 2002 IPA Effectiveness Awards, as well as 'best integration' for its success at driving the campaign into DM, press and internal communications.
BARTLE BOGLE HEGARTY
Marketing's Creative Agency of the Year in 2001, Bartle Bogle Hegarty put in another strong performance this year - based on the quality and effectiveness of its work rather than its new business performance.
The work for Barnardo's took the Grand Prix in the IPA Effectiveness Awards 2002, while category wins for Bertolli and Lynx also secured it the award for effectiveness agency of the year (below £100m).
The Barnardo's campaign began in late 1999, but is as controversial and effective as ever. In October ads based on child prostitution again escaped ASA censure, and their hard-hitting nature helped build spontaneous awareness of the charity from 28% to 44%. Bertolli's 'Club 18-130' ads have resulted in UK sales of 83.6%.
BBH again showed unbridled creativity in 2002 for Levi's. First was the much-awarded and much-parodied Odyssey ad in February; then came 'Rub yourself' in September.
It wasn't a great business year for BBH, with the loss of the £27m T-Mobile account to Saatchi & Saatchi and British Midland to Partners BDDH, but it got a boost, picking up the £15m KFC account in November.
RAINEY KELLY CAMPBELL ROALFE/Y&R
Rainey Kelly Campbell Rolfe/Y&R won the first bit of business in 2002, the £18m Lloyds TSB account from Saatchi & Saatchi. A matter of weeks later, the client that made the appointment, Ford Ennals, resigned from the bank.
The ads, starring John Thompson and Joely Richardson rolled out regardless, and were slated as "fluff and candy stuff" by Barclays marketer Simon Gulliford in May.
July also saw the exit of Marks & Spencer marketer Alan McWalter. Despite these trials Rainey Kelly has retained both accounts and turned in a strong creative year. For M&S it has played the role of brand custodian well, with the crucial Christmas ads for the retailer looking consistent and celebrity-studded.
It was the agency's work for Land Rover that really won it plaudits.
TV work included an Arctic appearance by Sir Ranulph Fiennes for the 2003 Discovery, while its Hippos poster swept up the awards. In a year that was all wins and no losses, Rainey Kelly made it onto the £20m DTLR roster, won Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Traveline, Powergen, and Virgin Holidays.
M&C Saatchi had another strong new business year in 2002, certainly compared with its top 20 competition. It finished the year with an additional £57m in billings and only £5m lost.
The £10m AA account, which landed at M&C in January, turned out to be one of its big successes for the year. A cacophony of contrasting messages before M&C got hold of it, the AA's communications for its wide range of services has been pulled together under the 'Just Aask' campaign, which broke in May. M&C also surprised everyone, including the client, by not losing the Mirror account to Lowe in February. Other significant wins were the General Electric pan-European corporate account, Cosmo, and an extra £5m from the Inland Revenue.
The launch of Saatchinvest, set up by the Saatchi brothers and the agency's founding partners to acquire and revive 'orphan' brands, was a business highlight of the year.
In early December M&C's work for Police Recruitment, condemned as an 'expensive flop' by the BBC earlier in the year, was exonerated when it won Silver at the IPA Effectiveness Awards.
Partners BDDH must have had a good early feeling about 2002. In quick succession it picked up the £5m launch advertising for British Midland offshoot bmibaby, Friends of the Earth, and the £40m account for Citroen cars.
While the Citroen account was a sideways shunt from fellow Havas subsidiary Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, it did at least give Partners BDDH the opportunity to achieve 'closure' on its loved but lost relationship with Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes, for five years Partners BDDH's creative jewel, moved out in November of last year and while there is no sign yet that the Citroen work can be its equal, sales for the French car-maker continue to climb.
A clutch of other wins included the main British Midland account, the UK launch of Welch's fruit juices, and the Evening Standard. By far the most interesting was the £15m win of directories service Conduit. When the market deregulates this month, there will be a race by the main operators to build awareness - and Partners BDDH's ability to achieve standout will be watched carefully.
Losses in 2002 were restricted to Monsoon and Goodfellas Pizza.
SAATCHI & SAATCHI
Saatchi & Saatchi had a great creative year - and it's been a few years since anyone set that down in print.
The agency won six gold Lions at Cannes, as well as the print Grand Prix, and agency of the year award. While the visually innuendo-laden ads for Club 18-30 Holidays, and the print work for erotica retailer Coco de Mer was the type of advertising designed to have creative jurors sniggering into one hand and handing out gongs with the other, there were more serious achievements in the gold for NSPCC's 'Cartoon' ad and the silver for Toyota Corolla.
Saatchis' work for Toyota in 2002 has seen the car-maker achieve record new-car sales of 20,000 for all models in March. This year, its tenth consecutive year of sales growth, will see 130,000 cars sold. While there has been inconsistency in Saatchis' creative work for the marque, it has always taken a brave stance and improved perceptions of the brand.
While Saatchis won business in 2002 from APACS pin-number credit card (£20m), T-Mobile (£27m) and Old El Paso (£6m) it was hit late in the year by the departure of Sony's £70m European account to Fallon.
CLEMMOW HORNBY INGE
It's first full year of operation saw Clemmow Hornby Inge build the sort of client list that would be the envy of any agency - let alone one still in short trousers. Let's get the new business wins out of the way first. In January CHI won the £4m Butchers pet food business, followed by Tango's £5m account in February, £1m from Bacofoil in May, Heineken's £6m account after Lowe resigned it in June, Safeway's £4m in July, P&O's £1.5m Ocean Village brand in August, and £5m from Royal Bank of Scotland's Advanta Card in November.
The list - along with existing clients including Carphone Warehouse, Liverpool Victoria and The Telegraph - demonstrates one of CHI's real strengths. Although it opened in June 2001, CHI looks for all the world like a grown-up ad agency - and one which can be trusted with the accounts of 'serious' clients. It has successfully avoided the tag of 'creative hotshop'. While those to whom these things really matter will point out it has also avoided winning creative awards, its work this year shows that they will come. Tango's 'hit of the whole fruit' and 'fit as a Butchers dog' stood out as creative highlights.