ADVERTISING & PROMOTION: Agency of the week: BDDH

At first glance, 1996 looks like a quiet year for BDDH: three wins, no losses and billings still hovering just under pounds 50m. But appearances can be deceptive.

At first glance, 1996 looks like a quiet year for BDDH: three wins, no

losses and billings still hovering just under pounds 50m. But

appearances can be deceptive.



This year, the agency’s ninth, has been a critical one. It saw founding

creative partner Mick Devito leave, his department restructured, and the

name Butterfield Day Devito Hockney change officially to a set of

initials.



Perhaps even more significantly, the agency survived a review on one of

its landmark accounts, the pounds 14m BT Business campaign, which this

week tops Adwatch for the second week running.



Although BDDH’s office-soap was one of the best-remembered campaigns of

last year, the statutory review was due in the early months of 1996.



The agency held onto the business, won a bronze with it in the IPA-

Effectiveness Awards New Campaigns category, and moved it on in the

burst now reflected in Adwatch.



Having established the characters, BDDH is now trying to establish BT as

a total communications company. This campaign, less soapy than last

year, features the harder, grittier tensions of running a small

business.



BDDH knows tensions all too well. With 55 people now on the payroll, its

management structure changed this year. The agency is now owned and run

by five equal partners: three creatives, founder Leslie Butterfield and

chief executive Nigel Long, who joined in 1994.



It is part of an EEIG (European Economic Interest Grouping) which gives

it a ‘network’ of like-minded partners throughout Europe. Although Long

discounts constant rumours that BDDH is about to sell out, he admits

that agencies of its size have to keep a constant eye on performance.



He sees no reason to change a winning formula - and, indeed, 1995 was an

excellent year for new business, while 1996 has seen noteworthy

campaigns for BT, Banks’s Beer, Emirates and the Co-op Bank.



The restructure has given BDDH a new-found confidence and energy, which

Long hopes will get it onto more good shortlists in 1997.



Although it missed out on the Channel 5 business, the agency enters the

year as one of the contenders for the Mercedes account, which would make

a nice addition to both the client list and to the balance sheet.



The agency, which pitches on January 20, will spend a fair part of the

Christmas break preparing its presentation for the account. Sounds like



a script for the next BT Business campaign.



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BDDH

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Projected billings (1996) pounds 46m

Wins (1996) RAC, News IQ, Savacentre

Losses (1996) None

Key clients BT Business, Emirates, Sainsbury Savacentre, Co-op Bank,

Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries, Clerical Medical

Key people Five managing

partners: Leslie Butterfield (chairman), Nigel Long chief executive),

Derek Day, Simon Green and John Dean (creative partners)

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