Scottish Advertising Awards

By The Drum, Administrator

November 2, 2006 | 7 min read

Good things come to those who wait. And that was certainly the mantra at this year’s Scottish Advertising Awards.

This year, celebrating its tenth anniversary in business, The Union was named Scottish Advertising Agency of the year - the first time the agency has won the top accolade, despite spending much of its decade in business impressing clients and peers alike.

Other top award winners on the night were Newhaven, who scooped the Grand Prix Prize for its Tennent’s TV advert; Tennent’s itself which won Client of the Year; The Union, again, taking the Chairman’s Award for its Garners Pickle radio campaign and Feather Brooksbank, which was named Media Independent of the Year.

However, the loudest applause on the night was reserved for John Denholm, founder of The Leith Agency, as he collected the Lifetime Achievement Award.

As well as The Union winning 17 creative awards, Newhaven scooped seven awards and seven commendations, The Leith Agency won three awards and six commendations, Family won two awards and three commendations, while The Bridge claimed two awards and one commendation. Other award winners were SO Creative, Dog Digital, Frame and IAS Smarts.

Advertising Agency of the year

It’s clear that you are deciding one of the most important categories when there’s a heated debate about the winner. Last year, The Drum’s Advertising Agency of The Year was a relatively easy decision as Newhaven had burst onto the Scottish advertising scene with great success. This year, it was harder.

The winner of this year’s Advertising Agency of The Year has been a sleeping giant for many years. Consistently producing good work, its name features in most creative and effectiveness awards, and it’s well respected by clients and peers alike. This year it also celebrated 10 years in the business, which is no mean feat.

The agency swept the board at the Scottish Advertising Awards, for the widest ranging clients - from pickles to gin to houses. It’s known for producing both creative and account handling talent, and its managing director remains committed to the Scottish advertising industry.

He recently pioneered a high profile study into the state of the market, resulting in the industry getting together to champion the excellence which exists in Scottish advertising.

The 2006 Scottish Advertising Agency of the Year was The Union.

Media Agency of the Year

After years of dominance in the Scottish marketplace the winner of this Year’s Media Agency of the Year has spent, unusual for it, the role of playing second fiddle to its fierce rival MediaCom Scotland.

However, this year, the agency has rallied to regain the top spot after a two-year absence.

One industry peer perhaps summed up the secret of this agency’s success in what is becoming an ever more difficult and competitive market to operate in: “In an environment dominated by numbers they’ve still got the best people and are great to work with. Numbers are important but people are more important. They know this and have successfully branched out from Scotland on the strength of their people and their brand.”

Over the last year the agency has won a number of high-profile clients, including, the £4m News Corp Group account; National Galleries of Scotland; Craig & Rose; Setanta; Vardy Motor Group; Aberdeenshire Council Recruitment advertising; and the £1m Freixenet wines business. And that list is by no means exhaustive. That agency, of course, is Feather Brooksbank.

Other comments from those that work with this year’s Media Agency of the Year - clients and agencies alike - include: “They are committed to their people and what they do.” “They offer consistently well-bought and planned media.” “They have continued to succeed with new business wins and great client service.”

Financial Poll

By Fraser Campbell, partner, Campbell Dallas Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers.

In an increasingly difficult market, profitability is the prime measure of performance. Chasing large accounts alone will not guarantee success. The leading agencies today drive profitability from existing and new accounts.

The clear leader overall was Navigator who delivered the best overall gross profit of 66 percent, increased gross profit by 18 percent year on year, and generates over £72,000 gross profit per member of staff.

The Leith Agency is close behind with a staggering £114,000 gross profit per member of staff but they lose out in overall profitability and improvement year on year.

Clayton Graham, in third place, again delivers a strong overall gross profit and year on year growth but gross profit per staff member dips below £50,000.

Client Poll

This year’s Client Poll was again compiled using research from The Drum’s Recommended Agency Guide (RAG).

The RAG enlisted top research agency MRUK to undertake an indepth study of clients’ perceptions of the agencies that they employ.

You will find a full rundown of the results in the RAG, which will be published in full later this year.

Lifetime Achievement Award

John Denholm arrived at Halls in 1980 as an account director, joining from Scottish & Newcastle. During his time at Halls, Denholm was responsible for winning work from Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Life, Scottish Office, Scottish Development Agency and Kwik-Fit.

While Halls will perhaps always be remembered as the agency that changed the face of Scottish advertising, The Leith Agency, which was founded by Denholm in 1984, is perhaps, the agency that mirrored this new face of Scottish advertising the most accurately.

For over a decade, The Leith Agency, under Denholm’s guidance, was regarded as one of the best – if not the best – agency in Scotland.

Denholm has now relinquished his control of the agency to concentrate on the recruitment business founded by his wife, Nicki, but his influence is still felt across the industry.

MD of the Year

The Drum polled Scotland’s top advertising agency managing directors to gauge their opinion for this category. A number of names were mentioned, however, one name was mentioned time and time again.

The Union’s Ian McAteer was commended for both his “industry leadership” and for running a “steady, well-managed ship”.

One peer also said of McAteer “He manages to turn out good work and make money – which is very difficult to achieve in today’s climate.”

Other MDs that came in for praise were Frame’s Alan Frame for managing to win a number of large pieces of new business and for investing in his agency and Jonathan Shinton of Newhaven for the agency’s dramatic growth.

One to Watch

This year it was new start Kemsley that all its rivals said they would be keeping a keen eye on.

Mike Kemsley, the former Barkers’ advertising director, formally launched his eponymously titled start-up in January.

Based in Glasgow’s West End, Kemsley started with Forrest Furnishing, Macdonald Furnishing, Viking International and National Tyres And Autocare. He was joined by former Barkers’ creative director, Norrie Leckie and two further former Barkers staff. Since then the agency has continued to pick up a number of accounts, including Qhotels and storage specialists Doree Bonner International.

Peers admired Kemsley for its determination, with one saying, “it started with a solid base and is making excellent progress”.

The Bridge and Newhaven - last year’s Agency of the Year - were also agencies that those in the industry said they would be watching closely over the coming year.


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