Adam&eveDDB still UK creative agency top dog – McCann and VCCP in hot pursuit

The Campaign creative agency billings for UK agencies are always a talking point – these days they’re based on Nielsen Ad Intel numbers, in the old days they were agencies’ own submissions which led to a satisfying amount of controversy.

Nielsen is still struggling with digital, which means some big performers are, presumably, excluded. Next 15, which is buying Engine Creative, said a while back it had a new contact worth £50m in income over the next few years. If indeed it is, it might never appear in this table.

Wunderman Thompson’s billings in 20th are, again presumably, mainly those from the rump of JWT rather than Wunderman’s tech business.

But it’s an interesting list all the same. Adam&eveDDB is biggest for the third time. a fourth such win would be a major achievement as it’s just lost the Virgin part of Virgin Media O2 to VCCP (in third here and rising.)

AMV BBDO’s recent problems are clear to see: for decades the UK’s biggest creative agency, it has lost the likes of BT to Publicis’ Saatchi and Asda to Havas. What would you sooner have? Billings or all those awards for Bodyform? Owner Omnicom might have a different answer.

MullenLowe also fell back although that’s because Covid-19 has too and it’s the NHS agency.

Uncommon Creative Studio, which has won just about everyone’s creative agency of the year gong for the past two years, remains outside the top 20 by billings. Suggesting much of its work is project although that may change with British Airways (don’t bet the house on it.) High profile Lucky Generals and Droga5 are also outside.

Biggest risers outside the 20 are New Commercial Arts and Wonderhood Studios, which may indicate where the next challenge is coming from.

Rank 2021/20 Agency Billings 2021/20 (£m) Year-on-year % change (+/-)
1 1 adam&eve/DDB 430 372 (16)
2 2 McCann UK 382 350 9
3 4 VCCP 361 306 18
4 5 Saatchi&Saatchi 339 251 35
5 7 BBH 282 226 25
6 10 Leo Burnett 250 175 42
7 9 Engine Creative 208 197 6
8 6 AMV BBDO 179 248 -28
9 15 Mother 166 107 55
10 3 MullenLowe 161 317 -49
11 18 Wieden & Kennedy 153 93 64
12 12 The&Partnership 149 131 14
13 13 Karmarama 129 121 7
14 11 Ogilvy UK 127 162 -22
15 8 TBWA\UK 114 200 -43
16 14 Havas 112 108 3
17 16 Publicis.Poke 104 104 0
18 29 Anomaly 99 46 116
19 59 Pablo 95 15 517
20 25 Wunderman/Thompson84 59 42

In media, WPP continues to dominate with MediaCom leading the pack and Essence, Mindhare and Wavemaker also in the top five. Creatively though it lacks oomph. A deal for Uncommon or one of the other newbies must be on its radar.

Full lists and Campaign’s School Reports are here (subscription required.)

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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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