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?

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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