Agency of the Year: Customer Publishing Agency of the Year - Best of the rest

Spearheading the drive to take advantage of the growth of the customer publishing market is Square One, the UK's fastest-growing larger publishing agency, which has increased net turnover in the past year by 50% to £3m. Established 10 years ago by Peter Dean and Sean King, the agency won eight new accounts in 2004, including Gala Casino's The Player, Waterstone's Books Quarterly and VisitBritain's Taste England. Square One's creative department was also strengthened by the recruitment of ex-National Magazine Company Contract Publishing staff after the operation closed in February. Co-founder Carey Sedgwick came to Square One as editorial director, with Bev Douglas as art director and Christina Ryder as managing director.

Recruitment was at the core of another agency's success. Haymarket Customer Publishing (HCP) created the post of editor-in-chief for Johnny Aldred at the start of 2004. Aldred has 15 years' consumer magazine experience, including work on Jaunt, Loaded and various IPC women's magazines.

As well as winning Olympus Europa's e - a quarterly magazine published in six languages and circulated to members of the Olympus E Club in 24 European countries - HCP has had successes with annual reports, media guides, catalogues and brochures, including a series for London 2012, the bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

HCP also achieved something of a customer publishing record with this year's APA awards. ARMY was named most effective public sector title, most effective specialist title and best integrated solution, making it the most decorated customer magazine to date.

The APA awards Grand Prix, however, was carried off by Cedar's NikonPro, which has provided the camera company with a healthy return on investment - 38% of readers claim to have purchased a product that had been featured in the magazine. The title, which is produced in six languages and distributed to photographers in 27 countries three times a year, also won the APA's most effective international title award.

Perhaps the biggest news this year for Cedar has been the launch of the bi-monthly Tesco magazine. After three issues, more than 250,000 competition entries had been received, and research indicated that the title has been a hit, with 84% of customers, seeing it as 'aimed at me'. The agency has also introduced a real-time online proofing service, allowing clients to sign off content anywhere, and has hired Relationship Audits to conduct an annual client satisfaction survey.

Another agency to have a good year was Marketing's 2003 Customer Publishing Agency of the Year, Publicis Blueprint, with existing clients Asda, Homebase and Toni&Guy giving it additional business - spin-off supplements for the retailers, and content for an in-salon TV network.

The agency won the APA award for launch of the year for Toni&Guy and picked up the most effective consumer (retail) award for Homebase ideas. Blueprint's success with retail titles has seen it score new business from retailers such as Debenhams, for which it is producing fashion and style magazine Desire, with an initial print run of 1m.

After losing the Safeway business, due to the Morrisons takeover, and the Department for Education and Skills' (DfES) Teachers magazine to John Brown Citrus Publishing, Redwood finished the year on a high by winning the contract to produce the UK's biggest parenting magazine for the NSPCC in conjunction with Woolworths. Your Family, which will debut next March, will be distributed free through Woolworths' 800 stores, with a print run of 800,000. Editorial content, under the auspices of former BBC Parenting deputy editor Susannah Pearce, will focus on helping parents of under-fives communicate with, and relate to, their children.

Redwood scored well at the APA awards, picking up journalist and designer of the year for Land Rover Onelife and most effective finance title for Britannia Building Society's M.

The agency to watch in 2005 is Northstar, which has racked up £1m of business in its first full year of trading. It was set up in 2003 by Mark Beazleigh, who was responsible for Emap Automotive's contract publishing business. His background is attracting clients such as Mazda, Fatface, the BAR Formula One team, Watches of Switzerland and Mappin & Webb.


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