Review of the year: 10 biggest marketing moments 2005

It was the year London took gold, a frog drove adults crazy and Freddie replaced Becks. Here are 2005's most memorable events.


When International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge opened the envelope and read out 'London', industry onlookers practically fell off their stools. Main rival Paris was such a dead cert in the build-up to the naming of the 2012 Olympic host that the world's cameramen crowded around the French bid leaders' table when Rogge took the stage. Most acknowledged that the London bid had narrowed the gap but it was felt that the traditional English status as 'plucky loser' would be maintained.

The turnaround undoubtedly came during the convention in Singapore. The huge difference in approaches between consummate handshaker Tony Blair and truculent Jacques Chirac proved a decisive factor in convincing the IOC which leader wanted the Games more.

However, the biggest impact came from London bid leader Lord Sebastian Coe, whose bilingual presentation to the IOC had them purring. In Coe's own words, it was the London bid's 'well-timed sprint to the finish line' that won the day. Next comes the small matter of staging the Games and fielding the calls from brands seeking to cash in.


Can anyone stop Tesco? This year the supermarket became the first UK retailer to post profits of £2bn. In the supermarket sector Tesco remains top, with a market share of more than 30% - much to the chagrin of some of its suppliers. Even Wal-Mart has called for a government inquiry into Tesco's dominance. The grocer's continued success will be little consolation to Lowe London, its longstanding ad agency. In December Tesco shifted its £45m account into a start-up headed by the agency's former boss, Sir Frank Lowe. A key factor was dissatisfaction with Lowe London's parent, Interpublic Group. In October the group refunded £3m to Tesco for volume discounts it had received but had failed to pass on.


The pitch for British Airways' £60m advertising business dominated the summer as Bartle Bogle Hegarty, M&C Saatchi, JWT and DDB London thrashed it out to land the high-profile account. Initially, most people believed that incumbent M&C would hold on to the business, given its long-standing association with the client. However, as the review progressed, cracks began to appear in the relationship, and it became clear that the business would be moved, ripping the heart out of M&C's client portfolio. It is thought that it was BBH's response to the price-led nature of BA's current needs that secured both the win and the agency's status as the most successful shop operating in adland.


Mega-mergers were back in vogue in 2005. The biggest came in January, when Procter & Gamble announced a surprise $57bn takeover of Gillette - a deal that left analysts drooling and P&G's rivals reeling. The scale of the tie-up dwarfed P&G's previous record acquisition, the $7bn takeover of Wella, and the combined company now owns more than 20 billion-dollar brands. The financial clout of a strong brand was also clear in Telefonica's £18bn deal for O2, a price that represented a 22% mark-up on its share price. The deal came as a surprise to analysts, as did the £2bn merger of Adidas and Reebok. However, NTL's $6bn takeover of Telewest surprised nobody when they tied the knot in October.


If you turned on a TV in May, chances are the Crazy Frog's mindless beeping is still burned into your brain. In the most irritatingly memorable ad campaign in living memory, the blue-green amphibian rode a motorbike while mouthing a warped remix of 80s classic Axel F, chased by a missile-toting robot. Ringtone firm Jamster made sure you couldn't miss it: it spent £10m buying media space in May. The ad was shown 83 times an hour, the most repeated spot ever. It worked, as Crazy Frog made millions for Jamster. It was the first ringtone to become a single, charting at number one.


Government regulations to implement the Operating and Financial Review were announced in April, demanding that companies reveal the exact nature of their non-financial operations. With all companies expected to fall in line with the regulation by their next annual report, much time and money was spent preparing. But last month Gordon Brown decided that the implementation of the OFR was not mandatory after all. His desire to prove the government's lighter touch on regulatory issues gave firms a get-out clause and raised questions about what the point of the OFR had been.


WG Grace would have been proud. Not even the hardiest cricketing fan would have predicted the Ashes fever that swept the country over the summer as England regained the legendary urn from nemesis Australia. Cue wild celebrations in the street and Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff garnering more column inches than David Beckham. When the team emerged bleary-eyed from a victory party, it was to a new-found celebrity status. They are even looking to top the charts with a Christmas single - a stirring rendition of 'Jerusalem' in association, of course, with Npower, title sponsor of the Ashes.


ITV donned rose-tinted glasses to mark its 50th birthday with a barrage of tributes to past glories. But there was no sentimentality in the boardroom, where chief executive Charles Allen axed Mick Desmond, chief executive of ITV Broadcasting, and finance director Henry Staunton just hours before an ITN party to mark the broadcaster's half-century. The shake-up astounded analysts, who had expected Allen's head to roll after a dismal summer; Celebrity Wrestling had flopped and the relaunched ITV1 daytime line-up had met with mixed reviews. The new management team also raised a few eyebrows, as Simon Shaps was made director of television ahead of director of programmes Nigel Pickard.


Online advertising is booming, and there is no sign the bubble will burst this time after another year of phenomenal growth. In April the Internet Advertising Bureau revealed that online spend had totalled £653m in 2004, putting it ahead of radio. This year the signs are that it will top £1bn, outstripping outdoor. Key to the expansion has been the growing penetration of broadband, which allows greater scope for creativity, and the take-off of search engine marketing. The latter attracted £258m of spend in 2004, making it the biggest single online advertising category. Expect more to come. As the sector's advocates point out, 20% of media consumption, but only 5% of adspend, is now online.


The bird flu-ridden 'ducks of death' may have taken the mantle of the most bizarre threat to our wellbeing, but it was the discovery of the Sudan 1 contaminant in various food groups that had marketers scrambling for the product-line emergency cord. The medical proof that Sudan 1 could cause cancerous tumours prompted hysteria among supermarkets and food manufacturers. Though cases were limited to a handful of products, the predictable public over-reaction ensured that sales of Worcestershire sauce, Branston pickle variants and frozen ready-meals suffered. Eagle-eyed food inspectors have sharpened their gaze as healthy eating continues to be the dominant consumer concern.


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