Agency of the Year: Direct Agency of the Year - Best of the rest

Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw came very close to becoming Marketing's Direct Agency of the Year. What the 33-strong shop lacks in stature, it makes up for in its new business success rate and aggressive growth. The agency added 10 staff as income grew by 53%, from £1.38m to £2.1m, and profitability doubled. Pitches for six accounts, including Haymarket-owned What Car? magazine's £1m integrated business, Virgin Holidays' £3m DM, loyalty scheme and brand advertising account, and the £1m brief to launch Teachers' TV, had a 100% success rate.

Creatively, Kitcatt Nohr is also producing excellent results. A Tube ad for Voluntary Services Overseas was described by creative guru Andrew Cracknell as 'the sort of advertising I grew up wanting to create'.

As well as being admired, its work for existing clients including Friends Reunited is effective. A direct campaign it conducted for the National Blood Service targeting 17-year-olds outperformed the control by 700%.

Effectiveness was something Claydon Heeley Jones Mason could also boast of in its creative work. A £35,000 national door-drop campaign for The Guardian yielded the paper's third-highest uplift in sales, beaten only by peaks following news events.

On the new business front, Claydon Heeley's record contrasts starkly with a lacklustre performance in the previous year. Its appointment to Mercedes-Benz's dealership DM business at the tail end of 2003 was cemented by the car brand awarding the agency the £10m DM account for the main brand. More impressively, it won Egg's £30m direct marketing account, the year's biggest UK direct marketing pitch.

Following a quiet year in 2003, EHS Brann got back on track and is again on pitch lists. Wins in 2004 included a pan-European project for Electrolux and Heinz's DM business for its baby food and Linda McCartney ranges.

Much of its recent success is down to chief executive Matt Atkinson, who joined as managing director from Saatchi & Saatchi in January, and business development director Hester Bloch, who was a company director at digital agency Arnold Interactive. EHS Brann is an agency to watch.

The only disappointment for last year's Marketing Direct Agency of the Year, Harrison Troughton Wunderman, was the loss of IBM through a global realignment, but this was tempered by the gain of Microsoft.

New business wins for the agency reflected a growing trend - traditional direct marketing consultancies winning brand advertising accounts. HTW successfully pitched against TBWA\London to win Scottish Courage's £4m San Miguel business and followed that with the brewer's Baltika account. The agency even broke its own, and the industry's, record at the DMA Awards. In 2003, it cleared the floor with 16 awards and this year followed suit with 17.

According to Tullo Marshall Warren, 2004 was its best year for new business, gaining 16 briefs from existing and new clients. Highlights included the direct marketing for Unilever's flagship Persil brand, VisitBritain and a place on the Post Office's newly formed roster. One blow to the agency, though, was the news that credit card giant Morgan Stanley decided to review its direct account, for which TMW is repitching.

In terms of effectiveness, the agency's relationship marketing work for Diageo's Guinness shines. A mailing sent to consumers on their birthday persuaded 53% of recipients to drink Guinness as a result. The brand is among those that helped TMW win seven DMA Awards this year.

A £20m brief for the AA made up for Rapier's loss of the Co-op's membership business and a portion of HSBC's direct business after its global account was consolidated into WPP's network. The agency nevertheless grew its profits by 20% compared with 2003, and it followed the AA win by craftily grabbing its £10m TV brand work from M&C Saatchi.

Its appearance on a high proportion of pitch lists could lead some to think that Joshua was desperate for business. However, a good conversion rate has seen it add the Australia Tourist Commission, experience gift company Red Letter Days, eBay's business-to-business direct mail account and the £3m account for beer brand Cobra to its client list.

Though it won only three accounts - Scope, Moet & Chandon and The Climate Group - Archibald Ingall Stretton has dubbed 2004 its best financial year. Income was up 30% from 2003 and billings grew from £24.1m to £31.7m. However, having spent the last year bedding in O2, the agency has failed to make as much of an impact in 2004 as it did in 2003.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers