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OMD, Maxus, and Edelman are Adweek choices for top honours


By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 23, 2012 | 5 min read

They are the "most successful, most innovative and most buzzworthy shops around," says US magazine Adweek, naming today its Global Media Agency of the Year, U.S. Media Agency of the Year and PR Agency of the Year.

The Global Media Agency winner is OMD. The magazine says that "with its focus on analytics and standout campaigns, OMD earned industry accolades for creativity and landed a roster of new clients along the way."

U.S. Media Agency winner is WPP agency Maxus. It doubled its billings in the last year, "catapulting it from emerging player to A-lister," says Adweek.

PR Agency winner is Edelman, now the largest PR shop in the world. Adweek says Edelman "is generating buzz for itself as well as its clients, with its ambitious international expansion and serious digital strategy."

This is what Adweek has to say of its three big winners:

OMD: "After a decade in business, OMD has mastered the art of the win. Over the last year, it has won seven out of eight pitches. At the global level, the company’s new clients include Levi’s, Tourism Australia and Groupe Bel, accounting for $444 million in revenue."

In June, the agency won eight Media Lions at Cannes, making it the most honoured media network at the festival. Prizes the agency picked up there include a gold Lion for Best Use of Branded Content for its work on Nissan’s “GT Academy” campaign.

Mainardo de Nardis became OMD global CEO in 2009, relocating to New York from London after 30 years in advertising. He says of the Cannes success: “It’s very difficult to measure creativity. The way that we’ve measured it is that we wanted to win more awards than anybody else. It’s not because we like the statues in reception, but because it’s a KPI [key performance indicator] for us. .”

MAXUS: U.S. Media Agency of the Year Maxus has enjoyed a banner year, says Adweek. It capture its first film studio client, NBC Universal , won global duties for S.C. Johnson and Barclays Bank, and expanded its relationship with Bausch + Lomb.

Adweek highlights the success of Maxus in promoting the action thriller Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg as a reformed con man. On its first big weekend it was the No. 1 movie in the US with $28.8 million in ticket sales ahead of estimates of less than $20 million.

Much of the credit goes to the ambitious media strategy of Maxus, said Adweek.

"The multimedia campaign encompassed a cool Facebook game, a cash giveaway via Twitter and an out-of-home blitz."

This tribute from Suzanne Cole, Universal’s evp of media, “Maxus has a lot of insight into what consumers are doing and how they’re processing all these messages coming at them.”

EDELMAN: Adweek’s PR Agency of the Year, "scored duties across three continents, says the magazine, as lead PR firm on VW’s “Reveal” campaign.

This included a partnership with MTV in Shanghai, Berlin and New York. Edelman Digital was named VW’s first social agency of record and had a key role in the VW rollout. The brand had the most successful Promoted Tweet ever , equating to 73 million impressions.

“We saw 58,000 mentions. That rivals the Super Bowl,” says Charlie Taylor, general manager of digital marketing at Volkswagen of America.

A record 6,471 sales leads were generated the week of the launch, nearly 10 times greater than the average, says the agency.

The agency has doubled the size of its Edelman Digital staff in the past two years, and now employs around 600 people globally. Last year, Edelman’s digital practice reported revenue up 28 percent in the U.S. in the first nine months versus the same time period in 2010, and accounting for nearly 15 percent of overall U.S. revenue.

“We started in digital in the late ’90s with Web 1.0 and were doing things like building sites. We’ve found our niche in the last three to four years in social,” says Richard Edelman, CEO of the agency founded by his father, Daniel J. Edelman.

The agency landed 100 new clients worldwide last year, 75 in the U.S., losing just one major account: Burger King, said Richard Edelman.

Five years ago, 99 percent of the agency’s business relied on traditional media. It now accounts for about half. Last year, Edelman posted 17 percent growth in global revenue, billing $456 million through September. Edelman, ranked sixth just a dozen years ago, is now the largest PR shop in the world .


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