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

As major advertisers start to take online marketing seriously, digital agencies can look forward to a more secure future, with many retaining clients for longer. One agency benefiting from this trend is Glue London, last year's winner of Marketing's Digital Agency of the Year. It has had an outstanding 12 months and has answered critics by securing the retained digital marketing accounts of major advertisers including McCain Foods and 118 118, rather than focusing on pure project work.

It is now 100% independent, having bought back a 32% shareholding that had been held by St Luke's since October 2001.

Glue, now renowned internationally for its creativity, having won several major awards this year, has also bolstered staff numbers to more than 45, with revenue set to increase to £2.9m from £2m last year. It is now looking to take advantage of increased incremental spend from clients including T-Mobile and Virgin Trains.

Dare, under the stewardship of managing director Mark Collier, has once again set the standard this year for creating work in campaigns for clients such as Sony Ericsson and Unilever-owned Lynx.

The agency has enjoyed a rapid period of growth, picking up business on its own and through its relationship with Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which owns a 25% stake in it.

Wins include two pieces of COI business as well as the appointment without a pitch to handle the digital launch of Diageo's Johnnie Walker's Green Label whisky earlier this autumn. To top off the year, this month it triumphed against rivals Agency Republic, Profero and TBWA\GGT to win Wanadoo's £10m UK digital marketing business.

For brand owners seeking a strategic digital agency with pan-European capabilities, Profero fits the bill. It has been active on both the new business and existing client front and has developed work in the UK and abroad for brands including Cow & Gate, BBC World and Buena Vista International.

This year it strengthened its team by poaching Alex Jeffries as media and planning director from PHDiQ and hiring former IBM consultant Nick Blunden as client services director. It also expanded internationally by opening its first office in China and, according to information shown to Marketing, it has a slew of business wins in the pipeline.

Another agency that has maintained its reputation as a reliable supplier of web-building and digital marketing services is AKQA. The industry stalwart has continued to grow steadily and has once again managed to retain long-term blue-chip clients such as Orange and Nike, while adding to its books Unilever and Domino's Pizza. AKQA won 12 clients this year and has achieved a 20% increase in revenue.

A number of AKQA's campaigns have picked up awards this year, and it has moved beyond its core digital competence with the creation of integrated campaigns including cinema, radio and press ads for a few existing clients, marking out yet another expansion route for 2005.

The formation of a new senior management team at Tribal DDB, including managing director Ciaran Deering and the appointment of Matt Dyke as head of account planning, coincided with the winning of five clients, making 2004 a good year for the agency.

It created outstanding digital campaigns for existing and new clients including Camelot, VW Golf and BT Yahoo! The work for the online launch of Camelot's main lottery game was critical to its promotional strategy and was responsible for driving almost 150,000 registrations, with awareness of the service reaching 23% of online users.

Tribal continues to generate growth from its sister agency, DDB London, with which it works closely on VW Golf and The Guardian, and through its own development channels.

A number of agencies have tried to capitalise on the boom in mobile marketing over the past few years - and many have failed. But Flytxt, which is now considered a veteran of the nascent marketing channel, has succeeded with an ambitious growth strategy.

The highlight of the year for the agency was the launch of Orange Wednesdays, the UK's first massmarket launch of mobile ticketing, which has been an outstanding success with Orange customers.

Flytxt provides all of Emap's mobile marketing campaigns and lists a number of FMCG and media brands among its burgeoning client roster. With data protection laws in place, mobile marketing has an opportunity to establish itself as a key part of the marketing mix and Flytxt will no doubt be leading the charge in 2005.


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