As Renault ads have successfully demonstrated, size matters. But in the case of UK agencies, the question begged is: the size of what?
Traditionally, British shops have been ranked by annual billings, a yardstick many believe to be out of the ark. Prominent among these sceptics is the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, which has long argued that the decline of the commission system has made billings irrelevant and that the only true criterion is income.
In support of this belief, the IPA has released its first income league table, dominated in 2000 by McCann-Erickson with an income of £74 million across all its UK operations, well ahead of Saatchi & Saatchi in second place with £56.9m.
Says outgoing IPA chairman Rupert Howell: 'The income league table puts the leading agencies in our industry in context for the first time …When I compare the agency income per director against that of management consultants, lawyers and accountants there's no doubt in my mind that, pound for pound, we deliver outstanding value for money.'
The IPA Top Twenty also comprises (£m):
3. J Walter Thompson, London/Manchester (44.1)
4. TBWA Group (37.6)
5.. Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO (37.4)
6. BMP DDB (35.5)
7. Ogilvy & Mather (34.8)
8. M&C Saatchi (34.7)
9. Lowe Lintas (31.3)
10. Leo Burnett UK Group (30.8)
11. Bartle Bogle Hegarty (27.8)
12. WWAV Rapp Collins Group (27.1)
13. Publicis (26.8)
14. D'Arcy/Masius/IMP Group (25.3)
15. Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R (24.9)
16. Grey Worldwide (23.7)
17. HHCL + Partners (20.9)
18. Bates UK Group (18.9)
19. WCRS (18.3)
20. OgilvyOne Worldwide (17.7)
According to 2000: World Advertising Trends (published by WARC), the UK is the fourth largest advertising market in the world after the US, Japan and Germany in terms of advertising expenditure, and fifth in terms of expenditure per capita.
News source: IPA Website (www.ipa.co.uk)