Downturn Divides Fortunes of Top Ten UK Agencies

16 November 2001

The effect of the current advertising recession had a mixed effect on the fortunes of the UK’s top ten shops in the year to September, according to the latest figures from ACNielsen MMS. Five agencies suffered a decline in their fortunes, five broke out the champagne.

The downhearted were led by WPP-owned J Walter Thompson, Britain's third largest agency, where billings slumped by 12.76% to £248.31 million. M&C Saatchi followed with a 9.9% billings drop and even UK number one Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO saw a slippage of 3.36% to £385.86 million.

Shops bettering their year-on-year performance included Lowe Lintas which powered from sixth place to second with a 7.7% hike in billings (thanks mainly to its gain of the Orange telecoms account last year), while Ogilvy & Mather jumped four places to rank number five in the table.

Taking a broader view of the UK agency sector, the fortunes of the top thirty shops more accurately reflect the overall malaise. Total billings in this category plunged by seven per cent to £4.34 billion with Leagas Delaney and BMP DDB taking the biggest hits – respectively 38% and 37% down.

The media scene saw Zenith Media ceding first place to Carat, the first time its has slipped from pole position since its launch twelve years ago. The greatest gain, 64%, was made by BBJ on the back of its PSA and Coca-Cola wins, while the loss of Renault caused Optimedia to plunge 32 per cent.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)