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Scottish Ad Agency of the Year

By The Drum | Administrator

November 3, 2005 | 7 min read

The Leith Agency has been named Scottish Advertising Agency of the Year for the last seven years. While there is little doubt that The Leith remains as well-respected as ever, its tight strangle hold of the Scottish advertising industry has loosened slightly. This year there was a number of agencies all vying for the top spot, each with a strong claim for the title. Newhaven, 1576, The Union, The Bridge, and, with recent success and high-profile appointments, Framec were all pushing hard to win the coveted hatstand.

There were four dimensions to the research. First, a wide-reaching client poll was conducted as part of the The Drum’s Recommended Agency Guide. Furthermore, a Peer Poll of the industry’s leading figures was taken into consideration alongside Financial performance. Finally, a creative league was compiled from the results of The Advertising Awards.

This year’s winner has performed admirably in the new business stakes continuing to grow prudently – with more than a little help from one of the most respected names in the industry. No longer is this agency the one trick pony that many labelled it. Far from it… Winning a raft of new business, including a growing amount of Scottish Executive work, it is now respected by peers and clients alike. Creatively, as the Awards proved, the agency is second to none… yet it is not resting on its laurels. The founders have invested in the business and brought in a host of key new staff, doubling its numbers over the last two years. This is coupled with a good percentage growth mirrored in the agency’s Financial figures too.

On previous occasions it may have been said that there could only be one winner. However, such was the challenge and performance of Scotland’s ad agencies, there could have been many. Still, one had to rise to the top and this year the winner of the Scottish Advertising Agency of the Year 2005 was Newhaven.

MEDIA AGENCY OF THE YEAR

The Media Buying point of the Year 2005 quickly ironed out the early niggles that initially threatened to compromise the deal that truly signified its intent in Scotland. But, since winning the much coveted, and financially rewarding, Scottish Executive media account, the agency has sustained its purple vein of form securing a raft of new business, including the multi-million pound Subway account, whilst continuing to invest in its Scottish operation. The team also recently fended of one of the High Street’s biggest names to be crowned Scottish Business of the Year at the National Business awards. Despite some extremely fierce competition from Scottish rivals - notably Feather Brooksbank - for all these reasons and more, Mediacom retained its title of Media Buying Point of the Year.

PEER POLL

This year, habitual Peer Poll winner, The Leith Agency was knocked off the top spot by Framec. A strong performance at the end of 2005 has really made the Scottish advertising industry (and many further afield) sit up and notice. A new managing partner has been hired in the form of former Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam boss David Miller along with the assembly of a new senior team, with the creative hotseat filled by industry-stalwart Angus Walker. Add to that the UK-wide win of the Subway creative account and it is obvious why the agency has turned heads in the latter part of the year.

Also moving to the top of the table are Newhaven and 1576, joining the Leith in second place all having performed strongly throughout the year in the eyes of their peers.

MD OF THE YEAR

David Reid was voted 2005 MD of the Year. Reid, formerly the agency’s creative director, took on the role of MD when Mark Gorman left the business two years ago – an unusual step for a creative. However, one respondent said of Reid: “He’s been a revelation. A creative head who has matured and demonstrated a real aptitude for the role.��? Another added: “Things could have gone very wrong but David seems to have cemented the team and managed the agency effectively in tough times.��?

Also winning plaudits were Framec’s Alan Frame, for his no-nonsense and fresh approach; The Union’s Ian McAteer and Ian Dommet from Talented.

ONE TO WATCH

The vote was split this year. Those that did not vote for Newhaven as their Agency of the Year, opted to vote for the agency as their One to Watch. And those that chose not to vote Newhaven as the One to Watch, looked to the high-flying Framec. Also gaining nominations were Family, Spirit, GRP and Clayton Graham.

FINANCIAL POLL

This year, financial whiz-kids Acumen were given the task of analysing the data submitted (before the cut off date) to reveal movements in profit, revenue and client base.

Agencies were asked to submit their last two sets of audited accounts for scrutiny. Acumen then looked at changes in revenue, gross profit and client base between the two financial year end figures.

The Leith Agency topped this year’s Financial Poll with a strong showing in all of the categories.

Barkers, as in previous years, showed a high turnover figure for the financial year. While 1576 was the agency with the biggest percentage increase in gross profits.

Acumen ranked the agencies on a number of different criteria; Total Sales, Total Profit, Increase in Sales, Increase in Profit, Increase in Profit Margin and Movement in Client Base. To take into account the different sizes of agencies, some criteria represented absolute performance whilst others represented an increase in performance over the year.

Each agency was allocated a score for every criteria, 1 for the best performer down to 11 for the poorest performer in any particular section. The lower the number the better the performance.

CLIENT POLL

The Client Poll was conducted as part of research for The Drum’s Recommended Agency Guide 2005.

All the agencies featured in the Poll were selected after an intense research programme that included contacting more than 1,000 client companies to gather opinions on how they viewed their current suppliers. MRUK quizzed clients, asking them to rate the agencies that they use in five different categories: Account Handling; Creativity; Value of Money; Strategic Thinking; and Overall Service.

Story and Framec topped the Poll with a Mean Score of 8.8 (out of ten). Story’s Overall Professionalism was rated extremely high, while it was Framec’s Creativity that saw the agency winning its biggest plaudits.

The Bridge, Merle and Atalanta were all tied in second place with a Mean score of 8.7.

All the agencies appearing in the Poll were judged, by their clients, to be of an extremely high standard, and the table (on page 11) highlights the areas in which they performed strongest in.

Making up the the Top Ten scores in the Client Poll were: Barkers, Alan O’Hagan, Macguire Advertising, Family, The Union, Citigate Smarts, Newhaven, Clayton Graham, Ten Alps, Levy McCallum, The Leith Agency and Mearns & Gill.

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