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Adam&eve beats London’s finest to McCain

The London agency you don’t want to come up against these days is adam&eveDDB and, as expected, it’s hoovered up £20m frozen food account McCain to add to Virgin Atlantic it won a few weeks ago. McCain had been with BMB for eight years.

Adam&eve is reported to have beaten WCRS in the final pitch – formidable opposition once again these days after a few years in the doldrums. The other pitching agencies were a&e’s Omnicom stablemate AMV/BBDO (still the UK’s largest agency), BBH and incumbent BMB (also enjoying something of a revival). So formidable opposition all round.

So what’s the secret of a&e’s success? After all, since adam&eve was parachuted in to DDB in 2012 the agency has been transformed: from one which produced good work for VW but seemed to get in a right muddle with everything else (most notably Virgin Media, which departed for BBH) and hardly ever won new business.

460CEO James Murphy (left) reckons it’s a combo of a&e’s ambition and DDB’s thoroughbred qualities/network. He’s almost certainly right but there seems to be an added something in the water; there hasn’t been such a tidal wave of blue chip business seeking out one particular agency in London for decades. Maybe not since the original Saatchi & Saatchi. AMV/BBDO built its dominance steadily over 30 years.

The a&e crew’s earn-out, estimated at a maximum £60m, is due in about two years and you’d assume they’re going to trouser pretty well all of it. How will Omnicom keep them on board?

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Might international roles await Murphy and co? Adam&eveDDB Global has a nice ring to it, for them anyway, although the reaction might be rather more mixed in the US.

If such a thing should come to pass, would they please dispense with the lower case adam&eve? Imagine the problems this might cause in, say, Japan.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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