The big winners of 2012: Wieden+Kennedy London, Samsung/72andSunny and the Guardian/BBH

OK, here we go: after a not very scientific analysis of the ruminations of Paul Simons, Giles Keeble, Jerry Judge, George Parker, Stuart Smith and myself we come to:

Agency of the Year

Wieden+Kennedy London. For lots of good stuff, TV, online, posters and print.

The big test, for W+K London, as we’ve said before, is what it makes of Tesco (far and away its biggest account at £100m plus) but it’s made a good start with a volley of cheep and cheerful ads before Christmas, which is clearly what the client wanted (or DDTB*).

Tesco is a loyal client, if you deliver. W+K’s big one is supposed to break in the spring (our spies told us it would happen before Christmas but they’re now confined to the MAA gulag for being wrong). They’ve even told us the tune. But we’ll keep that under our unreliable hats for the time being.

Anyway, it’s a fine agency hitting its stride.

I have to record, by the way, that W+K London didn’t make Campaign’s UK top four (BBH won)..which is a bit odd.

Network of the Year

We keep saying we’re not going to have one of these, because we don’t want to end up counting awards from all over the planet. The Gunn Report does that perfectly well.

But, willy-nilly, you end up with one and, wholly unscientifically, it’s Wieden+Kennedy followed by Grey.

W+K for reasons already explained, Grey because it’s done some really good work this year in the US and the UK, and in other places too.

Jerry Judge chose to highlight Grey New York’s work and Giles Keeble, to his astonishment, picked out two Grey campaigns.

MAA has highlighted some Grey stuff in the UK too, notably Vodafone Ireland, which is much better than the UK has managed so far.

Here’s one from Campaigns & Grey in the Philippines, warning of the perils of ‘zombie’ voters.

Ad/campaign of the year

This is a really tough one. and we’re going to call a score draw between BBH’s Three Little Pigs for the Guardian and 72andSunny’s Apple-knocking campaign in the US for the Samsung Galaxy3.

They’re both brilliant: Three Little Pigs is advertising verging on artistry. But is it an ad or an online film?

Samsung is a lethal shot in the world’s biggest commercial (and legal) argument.

Person of the Year

Our judges can vote for anyone in this so there’s hardly likely to be a consensus.

Jerry Judge is emphatic that it’s Michael Dubin of Dollar Shave Club (Jerry loves an entrepreneur).

Paul Simons is insistent that it’s Johnny Hornby, the man who’s built an empire in WPP without too many people noticing (me anyway).

Giles Keeble has kept out of this so far (though he may change his mind when he’s seen other people’s choices).

George Parker goes for W+K London boss Neil Christie (left), who manages to run a hipster agency without going all precious and stupid – no mean feat. I almost nominated Neil myself for the same reasons – but we mustn’t spoil him.

Stuart Smith went for Jerry Buhlmann of Aegis and he is, indeed, a formidable contender, having kept the company’s independence until the right deal, Dentsu’s humungous £3.2bn, came along.

I chose Ajaz Ahmed of AKQA because of another ‘fill your saddlebags’ deal, $540m from WPP and then even more dosh to open some more offices.

But there’s no obvious winner, so we won’t have one.

So there we are. Thanks for coming along for our ‘picks of 2012’ ride (lots of you have done, showing admirable staying power).

And we press on over the holiday period. Maybe not as often between Christmas and New Year but you know what clients are like, they love calling pitches when everybody thinks they’ve a few days off.

And congratulations to our worthy winners Wieden+Kennedy London, Samsung/72andSunny and the Guardian/BBH.

*Don’t Drop The Ball.

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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.


  1. Thanks on behalf of all at W+K London – very much appreciated. Happy Christmas to all at MoreAboutAdvertising and all of your readers.

  2. Well that was fun.

  3. Well, that was fun… Now on to the hols. Massive vats of potato vodka are being brewed here in the Fourth Reich. We are all gassing up our Hummers in anticipation of driving over the “Fiscal Cliff.” And I have it on good authority that because the Poisoned Dwarf is moving WPP headquarters back to the UK, he will soon be known as “Lord Gnomeship of Davos.” Ha… Take that you Saatchi wanker.
    Holiday greetings from me, Hitler and Kate.

  4. And you George. Idaho vodka’s in rather short supply but we’ll have to make do.

    Will give Sir Martin your best personals next time I see him.