WPP tops global wins table

Martin Sorrell’s WPP Network destroyed its rivals in new business pitches this year, bringing in a massive £1.8bn in new billings over the past 12 months and seriously challenging Omnicom for the top network spot.

According to a report by media agency research group Recma, MindShare was at the top of the pile for account acquisitions in 2004, winning an impressive £1.3bn worth of media business.

Kelly Clark, chief executive of MindShare UK, said that a long term strategy for the agency has paid off this year. “The strategy we laid out eight years ago when we were planning MindShare’s launch is now paying dividends for us and our clients.

“We predicted that there would be four or five consolidated buying points and that scale would be important to play in the premier league.

“But more importantly, we saw that creativity and intelligence would make the difference.

Clients are now demanding a unique combination of brains and brawn, and this has helped us win more than our fair share of business over the last two years.”

The news gets even better for MindShare in the UK, where it was just named as Nestlé’s sole agency. MindShare and ZenithOptimedia won the global £894m Nestlé business earlier this year.

One rival agency boss said: “It’s been WPP’s year, no question, but I think that the next stage of the battle will not be about who is the biggest, but who has the best people.”

Other huge business wins for MindShare this year included the European business for Unilever, worth an estimated £555m, as well as the global business for American Express, which added another £194m to MindShare’s books.

MindShare also claimed the £108m global branding account for the electronics giant Samsung from Initiative Media, part of the Interpublic Group.

Publicis’ Starcom Group came in second with just over a billion pounds’ worth of new business, but WPP’s second agency network Mediaedge:cia was next in line, with annual new business wins of just under half a billion.

MediaCom, which, if all goes to plan, will soon be part of WPP when the finishing touches are put to the deal brokered by Sorrell with Grey Global chairman and chief executive Ed Meyer earlier this year, came fourth in the new business rankings with just over £400m awarded to the agency globally.

Much of this business was achieved in the UK, including the £43m business for BskyB, the £22m planning and buying account for Entertainment Films, and the £21m T-Mobile account, which was part of a wider £245m pan-European brief for parent company Deutsche Telekom.

Steve Allan, chief executive of MediaCom in the UK, said that it would be disappointing if his agency had not shown a strong performance in new billings figures: “Cumulatively over the last 15 months, rather than 12, we’ve won about £230m of new business.

Obviously I’d be disappointed if that wasn’t showing through.

You have to look at whether or not agencies are losing clients, and thankfully we’ve done very well on that score.

“And then, of course, we’ve got organic growth. What we’ve seen in 2004 is underlying growth from existing clients through some recovery of the advertising market in general.”

The Starcom Group, comprised of both Starcom Motive and Starcom Mediavest, also put in an impressive performance during 2004.

Big wins for the agency group included the £26m global business for Oracle, which the network won from incumbent agency MediaCom in June and News Corporation’s £21m media business in Australia, which the agency won from incumbents Mindshare and Optimedia, also in June.

Omnicom’s OMD won nearly 20 new business pitches last year, some of the most significant of which were the £46m German business for REWE and the Coop Norden media account, worth £21m.

Carat put in its best performance in the later stages of the year, retaining the £31.5m UK based Diageo media account and also the £20m GE Consumer Finance Home Lending brief in the UK. The Aegis-owned agency also won the £35m pan-European Lego account after a pitch.

Jenny Biggam, marketing director at Carat, said: “We decided that this year we were going to put a lot of emphasis on new business pitches. 2004 has been a great year for us"

By Mark Banham & Deborah Bonello

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