R3: global new business tumbles in 2020 – WPP agencies best in creative

Covid-19 has driven down new business globally in 2020 with global marketing consultancy R3 Worldwide estimating creative and media moves are down 37 per cent in the first five months of the year. Creative is down ten per cent, media 19%.

R3 principal Greg Paull says: “All eyes are on the second half of the year as that’s going to set the tone for business going forward for holding companies and independents. It could be a rough ride for some.”

WPP’s VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson rank in the top three creative wins globally, a decent result from two of WPP’s recently-merged agencies. WPP’s Mindshare and Omnicom’s OMD dominate media wins in number and value.

In the US there were 35% fewer pitches in January to May than in same period last year. Droga5, GSD&M and VMLY&R lead the creative new business league, while IPG’s Initiative and Omnicom’s PHD and OMD lead in media wins.

Paull says: “With shifting trends in media consumption, regulatory issues, and general discontent when it comes to Facebook, the decrease in media pitches is more of a pause as marketers re-evaluate the media landscape and capabilities.”

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    Dear Stephen,
    Noting again the publication of industry “new business” activity and wins, and highlighting the league table of winners…I have to ask, why?
    Once upon a time, back in the media commission days, winning a new client was like inheriting some annuities from your grandmother. A guaranteed source of cash for a very long time. A client win added real growth to an agency’s operations. Winning a new client was a very strategic victory.
    Those days are long gone.
    Winning a new client today is like filling up the car with petrol. It’s a great feeling, after you pay the bill. You can run for 300 miles before needing to fill it up again.
    So it is with a new client win. It’s fine, and it fills the empty tank as a result of client losses, but it’s simply a transaction. It’s not strategic. It’s necessary, like a visit to the petrol station, but hardly worthy of all the post-win analysis that goes with it.
    The real celebration ought to be for those agencies who keep their clients, rather than for those who are out there, slogging it in the pitch world, cutting prices in order to keep the client tank filled for another short period of time.
    Don’t you really agree?

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