If it's creativity you were after, small was definitely beautiful
in direct marketing in 2001, with baby agencies such as Partners Andrews
Aldridge, oneagency, Leonardo and Archibald Ingall Stretton dominating
at the recent DMA Awards.
But big ain't so bad, or so it proved for Joshua, which had a
record-shattering year of wins that boosted this highly profitable
Grey-owned agency's gross profit by 37% to £18.9m. Those are the
sort of numbers you would expect in boom times.
The only major loss was NTL, which was moved to Black Cat following its
acquisition by JWT, but this was offset within weeks by the £7m
ITV Digital account. Other major wins included £2m of work with
QuinetiQ, a government military business; and the Post Office Counters
account, adding to its long-standing relationship with Consignia's
Parcelforce and Royal Mail divisions.
Other new wins included Nike Town, Metropolis, Handbag.com, and Bird's
Eye Walls, which started by giving Joshua the account for its frozen
peas and added potatoes, waffles and Carte d'Or. Joshua also
consolidated its relationship with Barclays by winning the
clearlybusiness.com account; and made further inroads with BA, adding BA
Holidays, London Eye and Speedwing.
And there was also a healthy amount of below-the-line work attached to
the Zurich financial services rugby sponsorship ad, featuring Peter
Joshua didn't have it all easy. Fiona Godwin Brown, director of
responsive marketing at Joshua, admits that earlier in the year there
were some lay-offs, but she believes the agency is on a winning streak.
The agency has consistently reached the final client shortlist, and its
winning percentage has been over 90%. But despite winning £18m of
new business (including above-the-line media spend), Godwin Brown does
feel that it's "increasingly difficult to make new business pay in
The key to Joshua's success, says Godwin Brown, is not so much in the
abstract creative sense, but in its strategic thinking. "It's not a
question of whether it looks beautiful on a piece of paper. What's
important is that it works."
She highlights Joshua's 'flower' work for Royal Mail as a real success
story. The Royal Mail 'second internet age' campaign was designed
(beautiful irony for a DM agency) to generate increased direct mail
revenue as a complementary media to web activity, and it took as its
starting point, the fact that more than £1m in worldwide
investment had been wasted on web companies that went out of
Seeking to assess how web site strategy had evolved, Royal Mail and
Joshua developed direct response ads, direct mail packs, a supporting
web site and an e-strategy resource fulfilment pack for respondents. The
Royal Mail set 3.5% as the objective for response rate from
below-the-line activity; in actual fact, the response rate was
The impact on mailing revenues will be evaluated one year on. In the
meantime, a second campaign, involving a woman with a Harley Davidson
tattoo, has already exceeded response-rate targets and it's only just
launched, she adds.
As for those creativity awards, Godwin Brown is considering a boycott of
future awards. "We think there has to be a real question mark over the
judging of these awards, because we're on a winning streak and we
wouldn't be winning all these accounts if we weren't producing the
IMP is in the form of its life. It is expected to post its biggest year
ever this year, with fee income up 12% to £14.8m, after winning
ten of the 12 accounts it pitched for, says chief-executive John
Starting the year lean after 12 months spent grappling with a field
marketing business it had acquired, IMP got off to a bad start losing
the National Australia Group's regional British banks.
Since then there's been no looking back, as the agency picked up £10m accounts for Vizzavi and WHSmith, and a decent chunk of business
from Mars, Heineken, Hammerite and Philips.
Even more impressive was the Prudential win: from a standing start it
entered a pitch for the business from a long list of incumbents, and won
one of the three chunks that were handed out. And it also survived a
Compaq review from 14 agencies to two to secure the interactive element
of the computer giant's business.
Creative highlights have included a ton of eye-catching work for
Vizzavi; an excellent campaign for the Fiat Multipla people carrier
(which had a 6.6% response rate), and DM work for the Rugby Football
Union that led to a sell-out of the Tetley's Bitter Cup semi-finals for
the first time in years, and a big increase in attendance at the final
Tequila lost several key accounts this year, including BT, but the
agency recovered incredibly well.
IBM was replaced with work for Canon; RBS Avanta was offset by a
Barclays job; there was a £3m integrated account for Psion, a
sales promotion effort for Nissan (involving a tie-up with Shrek), while
Tequila picked up a much-coveted Echo for a Virgin One campaign. Other
wins included Le Meridien, Going Places, Family Assurance, Shark, Grand
Marnier, e-commerce procurement company Ariba and Kraft (for Dime
But the greatest source of pride (and revenue) has come from Tequila's
work for Shell, estimated to be worth £32m. It started in April
with a promotion for Shell's European Oil Products (SEOP) division.
After raising £51m worth of prizes with a pan-European sales
promotion involving 75 Mazda MX5s, service station revenue was up by
£16.8m (more than twice as much as the fuel target; and triple the
target for convenience store sales.) Not surprisingly, in July, Tequila
was given the Shell global account, and is now responsible for
promotions across 65 markets. A management restructure in January will
see Paul Biggins moving from the Manchester office to head up the London
operations. Tom Wass will focus on international work.
After selling out to Publicis in the Spring, Triangle won a string of
awards (including the SPCA Agency of the Year) and picked up lots more
business, including an £8m contract for Transport for London, and
big accounts with Symantex for its Norton anti-virus software; P&G for
Iams cat food (Europe only), and Tetley. Other wins were Golden Wonder,
Kellogg, Evian, Barclaycard's Indigo Square and Bestfoods (for Pot
Noodles and Marmite).
This performance enabled Triangle to overcome the economic downturn, and
the loss of the Bullmer's Strongbow account, with relative ease: group
planning director Elizabeth Baker estimates that results will be in line
With 18 awards to its name, Triangle has also excelled in the creative
department. A Tango megaphone promotion which 'outs' non-Tango drinkers
has been highly decorated, and its award-winning work with Tango looks
set to continue: moving away from its anarchic and wild heritage,
Triangle was the first agency to launch a promotion giving away mobile
The promotion was so successful that Tango is all set to repeat the
program, which is a Tango first. Also ground breaking is a massive
text-messaging-based instant-win promotion for Cadbury which has already
generated a whopping four million responses to date.
There's a new name on the letterhead (it changed from Lowe Direct), but
Lowe Live didn't need any rebranding of its financial performance.
Growth was not quite up to the 32% recorded in 2000, but in this market
no-one at IPG is likely to complain about a 15% increase in fee income,
which this year topped £12m. One fillip was the fact that Lowe
Live picked up the global £50m 3Com account from its sister agency
in New York.
Already responsible for below-the-line in Europe, the move was
precipitated because the B2B software provider switched its focus to
Winning several chunks of HSBC business (offshore banking, a Yahoo joint
venture, global and online work) has led to the creation of a Hong Kong
Other wins included a £10m RBS Avanta account; work for Dollond &
Aitchison; new business for Shell on its Visa card; and a Slendertone
campaign which led to a 9% increase in unprompted awareness. (And the
launch of the bottom and side-toning shorts outsold the abs belt by 3:1,
we are reliably informed.)
Now 110-strong, Lowe was one of the few agencies actively hiring this
year, and bucking another trend, most of the new resource went into
boosting its digital division. The only downer was that Lowe didn't win
the Orange account. Well, relationships aren't everything.
It's hard to argue with the record of Craik Jones. Celebrating its 10th
year, this mid-size DM shop picked up its biggest-ever contract this
year, the £25m Orange account - and it did so against the odds,
with Lowe Live the favourite because of the Orange relationship with
above-the-line sister agency Lowe Lintas.
Other wins have included the COI, a big chunk of the Prudential account
(one of three winners in the recent rationalisation), Johnny Walker
Black Label, comdirect, and a spot on the competitive Barclays roster.
All of which helped the agency to grow its 2000 fee income of £6.7m by a modest amount, while holding profits level.
The only losses (Charles Schwab and Dolphin) came about as a result of
conflicts with new clients. In the meantime, Craik Jones continued to
crank out high-quality creative for core clients such as Gordon's,
Virgin and Land Rover (which picked up four awards at the recent DMA
Another particularly memorable and effective campaign was for the Young
Person's Railcard. Craik Jones came up with a humourous execution
called' Don't be a local' which showed pictures of 'locals' (and avoided
trying to represent or typecast 'yoof'). After four years of static
sales of the discount card, they increased by 24%.
TOP 30 BELOW-THE-LINE-AGENCIES
Rank Agency Gross Profit Gross Profit % chge
2000 (pounds) 1999 (pounds)
1 WWAV Rapp Collins
(London) 28,500,000 21,100,000 35.07
2 OgilvyOne 27,965,000 21,604,000 29.44
3 ehsrealtime 24,124,000 17,561,000 37.37
4 Claydon Heeley
Jones Mason 19,877,000 17,167,000 15.79
5 BHWG Proximity 19,105,000 18,215,000 4.89
Relationship Marketing 17,300,000 9,500,000 82.11
7 Tequila London 15,600,000 15,100,000 3.31
8 Momentum 14,300,000 7,500,000 90.67
9 KLP Euro RSCG 13,852,000 11,863,000 16.77
10 Joshua 13,735,000 13,000,000 5.65
11 TBWA/GGT Direct 13,377,000 10,105,000 32.38
12 141 13,300,000 10,000,000 33.00
13 IMP Group 13,257,000 13,488,000 -1.71
14 The Marketing Store 13,165,000 11,862,000 10.98
15 Clarke Hooper Proximity 12,500,000 10,000,000 25.00
16 DraftWorldwide 11,623,000 14,200,000 -18.15
17 Triangle 11,356,000 9,314,000 21.92
18 Lowe Live 10,800,000 8,200,000 31.71
Communications Group 9,856,000 4,253,000 131.74
20 Mosaic Marketing
Services 9,655,000 14,877,000 -35.10
21 Interfocus Network 8,991,000 8,175,000 9.98
22 The Haygarth Group 8,814,000 7,278,000 21.10
23 Dynamo Group 8,512,000 6,270,000 35.76
24 Rapier 8,300,000 5,920,000 40.20
25 Geoff Howe Mktg Comms 8,004,000 4,535,000 76.49
26 Black Cat 7,139,000 3,927,000 81.79
27 Craik Jones WMV 6,703,000 4,022,000 66.66
28 DP&A 6,523,000 3,441,000 89.57
29 Tullo Marshall Warren 6,146,000 4,779,000 28.60
30 Poulter Partners 6,000,000 5,300,000 13.21
Source: Marketing League Tables