The debut of the Prolific North Top 50 Integrated Agencies 2013 represents the definitive compilation of the North’s largest integrated agencies spanning creative, advertising, marketing and sales promotion. Agencies which generate their income either entirely or overwhelmingly from digital activities are the subject of a separate forthcoming initiative.
Unlike many agency rankings which rely on agencies submitting selected information about themselves or rankings which only include agencies who pay to be part of the selection process, the Prolific North ranking is wholly independent and is anchored on financial information taken from Companies House, supplemented by additional information from the agencies.
Prolific North would like to thank Better Placed Recruitment for its sponsorship of this initiative. Dean Bartle, a director of Better Placed said: “Having recruited within this market for the last 10 years from our offices in Leeds and Manchester, we are pleased to be able to support the further development of Northern creative and agency talent.”
We are also pleased that Google has agreed to partner the Top 50 Integrated Agencies feature and the forthcoming Top 50 Digital Agencies feature and will work alongside Prolific North and our sponsors to create and deliver the follow-up events to the two rankings together with Barclays Bank at its TMT base in Manchester.
Working together with Mustard Research, one of the UK’s leading independent research companies, and the financial reporting company fame BVD, we looked at the accounts of over 150 integrated agencies which are either based in or have offices in the North and we also asked the agencies themselves for supplementary financial and related data.
The initial long list was ultimately whittled down to the final 50 in this ranking.
Agencies were not offered the option to be included or not.
Prolific North and Mustard would like to thank all the agencies concerned, whether ultimately included or not, for their time and effort in helping us to compile this unique compilation and we look forward to new agency names joining the ranking next year – as is to be expected given the sector is so dynamic.
Just under half of the agencies in this ranking file full accounts at Companies House, i.e. they have sales in excess of £6.5m.
In order to secure the full and transparent co-operation of all the participants – not just those where we were able to secure full financial data – we agreed with those agencies filing abbreviated accounts that we would not disclose the financials of any company in the compilation. This allowed these agencies to submit to us accurate information about sales and profits but also enabled them to retain a degree of privacy about their financial affairs.
The algorithm employed by Mustard is weighted towards balance sheet and/or shareholder funds together with turnover over the past two years and headcount. Our information is not assessed over a given calendar year or period but simply reflects each company’s latest filed information. This does mean of course that an agency’s size and financial performance effectively take precedence over other factors such as creativity or specialisation, but there are other national rankings which judge agencies solely on criteria such as creativity and we were keen to establish the first ever Northern ranking based solely on financial performance.
The Top 50 Integrated Agencies initiative follows on from the publication of the ground-breaking Prolific North Top 50 PR Agencies ranking in June this year.
Interestingly, unlike that compilation which showed agencies from Manchester dominating the North’s PR scene, agencies from Leeds occupy half of the top 10 positions and eight of the top 20 with Jaywing of Sheffield also pitching in at number two.
Overall, agencies from Manchester and Leeds dominate the ranking but agencies from Newcastle, Liverpool, other parts of Yorkshire and a particularly strong showing from Cheshire complete the line-up.
There are some companies who don’t appear this year, in particular WRG, Fresh, HGA and EMS.
These four companies are all primarily events companies but are now increasingly driving into other creative services activities: from marketing and branding to TV commercial production, PR and even ad campaigns, and their size and ambition should not be underestimated with WRG enjoying sales of circa £67m and ptp of c£2.5m and Fresh now topping £13m turnover.
The non-appearance in the top 10 of one of the strongest agency brands based outside London, TBWA\Manchester, is largely down to the agency facing up to the loss of some major business, primarily its Co-op business. The past two years have seen turnover fall at the Didsbury agency and even slipping into a loss in 2011/2 but some recent chunky wins in the shape of Smyths Toys and Merlin Entertainments suggest that the 100-employee agency will in due course be reporting its 2013 figures to Companies House showing a return to profitability and increased turnover.
Some agencies which may not be as familiar to some readers will, however, be well-known to marketers and brands; typically these are the more specialist agencies.
They include notable names such as Photolink and Hangar Seven, both of whose roots began in photographic studios but who now create broader marcomms services.
Other specialist agencies include Momentum Instore, which focuses on the retail sales environment, and Savvy Marketing and Blue Chip Marketing, both of whom also focus on the shopper and multi-channel marketing.
Jaywing, which sits at number two in the ranking, is part of an AIM-listed company which includes agency services and marketing, contact centres, consultancy and ‘big data’. Although consultancy, data and contact centre operations now account for the majority of the group’s sales, the agency operation, which is head-quartered in Sheffield, still comprises over 100 staff but is probably better known by its former guises of Dig for Fire and more latterly, Weare2020.com.
McCann Manchester tops the ranking by some distance. The agency, which is based in Prestbury in Cheshire, enjoyed a turnover of just short of £100m and ptp of £3.8m last year, a figure significantly ahead of its peers in the ranking but then McCanns is arguably the only major agency among the integrated agencies reviewed here which books its own media in any volume. The other agencies occasionally book space but typically they will work with media buying agencies on bigger campaigns.
All of the agencies ranked in this compilation do of course offer digital activities and in some cases their digital arms would, on their own, constitute sizeable stand-alone digital agencies, but they do all style themselves as broader integrated agencies.
Prolific North will be publishing a separate compilation of the Top 50 Digital Agencies and further information will be published shortly about this initiative.
The Prolific North Top 50 Integrated Agencies 2013
|#||Company name||North of England office locations||Head- count||Selection of clients|
|1||McCann Manchester||Prestbury||317||JD Williams Group (Marisota), npower, Pizza Hut Delivery, Farnell, Nestle, Hartley’s. Aldi and Shire|
|2||Jaywing||Sheffield||100+||Sky, GM, Open University, Mars, Yorkshire Water, first direct|
|3||Home||Leeds||122||Bupa, B&Q, Cooperative, Gala Interactive, Bonmarche, La Redoute|
|4||Havas Lynx||Manchester||165||pfizer, GE, Novartis, GSK, Roche, AZ, Johnson & Johnson|
|5||Gratterpalm||Leeds||154||Coral,Halfords, Asda, Greggs, DFS, Magners, KC, Arla Foods|
|6||Principles||Leeds||85||McCain, National Trust, Simply Be, Ronseal, Superbreak|
|7||Photolink||Manchester||100||John Lewis, Clarks, Regis Salons, Tesco, Very, Littlewoods, Argos, Homebase and Kitbag.|
|8||Momentum Instore||Handforth||90||Boots, Sainsbury’s, RBS, TUI, B&Q|
|9||Brass||Leeds||111||Warburtons, CBBC, Hoseasons, Persimmon Homes, Yorkshire Building Society|
|10||Intermarketing Agency||Leeds||65||adidas, RSA, East Coast, La Redoute, Shop Direct, Jet2.com|
|11||CBJWT||Manchester||71||Baxters, CSL, John West, Magnet, Famous Grouse, Victoria Plumb|
|12||BJL||Manchester||60||Eurocamp, Pilkington, Crown, Silentnight, Subaru, Rustlers|
|13||Savvy||Leeds||67||adidas, Florette, Ragu, Mars, Campbells, Magnum (ice creams)|
|14||Refinery||Manchester||82||BAE SYSTEMS, GOLDEN WONDER, DMSL, SWEET MANDARIN|
|15||TBWA\Manchester||Manchester||100||BP PZ Cussons First TransPennine Express Manchester United Seven Seas Merlin Entertainments|
|17||SteinIAS||Bollington||53||Trelleborg, Talk Talk, Atos, MERCK, Pearson, Arco, Castrol,Nespresso|
|18||Love Creative||Manchester||40||DIAGEO, Virgin Media, CAT, Umbro, Chief|
|19||Propaganda||Leeds||40||Ann Summers, Republic, Greggs|
|20||FPP||Newcastle and Leeds||30|
|21||Drummond Central||Newcastle||30||bet365, Stoke City FC, Newcastle Building Society|
|22||Hangar Seven||Macclesfield, Leeds||60||Argos, Lego, Homebase, Barbour, Viking|
|23||Delineo||Manchester||55||WST, The Co-op Bank, NRL, Camps Solicitors, Your Legal Friend, Aldermore, Zen Internet|
|24||Blue Chip||Manchester||29||Kellogg’s, O2, Muller, Quorn, PZ Cussons, Rowntrees, Adams Foods|
|25||CorporateCulture||Liverpool||30||Asda, EDF, NHS, Sport England, LTA, Environment Agency|
|26||Bluestorm||Hull||32||Hornsea Freeport, Hull College, Mr Hughs, Larchwood Foods|
|27||Clear Marketing||Manchester||25||Topps Tiles, Cala Homes, Pets At Home|
|28||MC2||Manchester||44||The Global Draw Ltd, University of Central Lancashire, North West Air Ambulance, Northedge Capital LLP, Ainscough Crane Hire Ltd, BFS Companies Inc|
|29||Gyro||Manchester||34||Samsung, ABN AMRO Commercial Finance, Aon, Tetra Pak, Intuit, Project One, Marshalls, Pitney Bowes, Tate & Lyle|
|30||Bloom||Leeds||64||Engage Mutual, Goal, Help Link, Benenden, LA Fitness, Emirates|
|31||One Communications||Manchester||35||Taylor Wimpey, Together Trust, Franke, Danbro, Moduleo, Hoover Candy, United Utilities, Euler Hermes|
|32||Turn Key||Leeds||35||Sambuca, Barratts, Lily Allen, Metquarter, Hammerson|
|33||Foundry Communicaitons||Altrincham||23||MerseyRail, PGL Holidays, Crawford Healthcare and Stobart Barristers|
|34||Creative Marketing Services||Leeds||13||Adjustamatic, Braid Logistics, Leeds NHS, Mansfield Pollard|
|35||Cirrus||Wilmslow||30||Redrow, Booths, DWF, Netflights, Specsavers, Le Tour Yorkshire|
|36||driven||Wilmslow||16||Vimto, Subway, Blue Diamond Almonds, Alpecin, webuyanycar.com|
|37||Everything Different||Newcastle||41||Land Securities, Cornerhouse, CAA, Procter & Gamble|
|38||Strawberry||Hull||30||Wilberforce College, Collett Logistics, Claughton Furniture|
|39||Madhouse Associates||Manchester||27||Scapa, Knauf, Johnston Press|
|40||Heckford Advertising||Preston||28||Tomy, Vimto, Stagecoach, Principal Hotels, Wade Ceramics, Mitsubishi Electronics|
|41||Ponderosa Group||Otley||31||Lambs, Stan James, Danone Scottish Co-op|
|42||Motionlab||Preston||29||Solidor, Residence 9, Easigrass, Granite transformations, Premier bathrooms, Ainscough Vanguard, Fit Show, Ble.at, Deceuninck, Mila, Arran Isle, Carlisle Brass|
|43||Coolpink||Leeds||20||smeg, Asda, Pannones, dfs, Wren Kitchens|
|44||Fantastic Media||Leeds||25||Ronan Developments, Skopes Ladieswear, fruitypot, James Milner Foundation|
|45||Rare Creative||Sheffield||15||Saint-Gobain Glass, Polypipe, National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, University of Leeds, Carl Kammerling International, Protec International|
|46||The Whole Caboodle||Harrogate||26||Farrow & Ball, NHS, groupauto|
|47||Cravens||Newcastle||15||Gala Coral, Virgin oney, Utilitywise, First (Sheffield Bus Partnership), Newcastle-Gateshead Initiative|
|48||Wilson Cooke||Bury||35||Cranfield University, Keoghs, Ricky Hatton, Rollins, Liquid Plastics|
|49||Marketecture||Manchester||22||DHL Supply Chain, Martin Dawes Systems, Westco, Comstor,|
|50||Uniform||Liverpool||28||GDHA (Belling, Stoves), Westfield, Shop Direct (Very), The FA, Unilever|