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The Prolific North Top 50 Integrated Agencies 2014


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Welcome to the 2014 edition of the Prolific North Top 50 Integrated Agencies, the definitive list of the North’s leading advertising, marketing, integrated, sales and communications agencies. The initiative is published in association with Better Placed and is supported by Google and Mustard Research.

The Top 50 Integrated Agencies initiative complements Prolific North’s other definitive rankings of the region’s leading PR Agencies, Digital Agencies, Top 100 Brands and our annual people feature, Prolific Northerners.

For this year’s compilation, we have included live communications agencies along with agencies whose core activities span creative, advertising, marketing and sales promotion. Agencies which generate their income either entirely or overwhelmingly from digital activities are detailed separately in the Top 50 Digital Agencies.

Unlike the majority of 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 provided by an overwhelming majority of the agencies contacted.

The ranking is predicated on a formula which examines a variety of factors including shareholder funds and/or balance sheets, turnover, pre-tax profits and headcount. Because roughly only one third of the agencies file full accounts (over £6.5m turnover), part of our agreement with companies providing confidential information is that we will not itemise or publicise their individual financials.

Agencies were not offered the option to be included or not.

This does mean that certain agencies may appear – usually – lower in the ranking than many observers might have expected but offering agencies the option to opt out rather than report on a one-off disappointing year would not enable us in turn to deliver what is widely acknowledged to be the definitive ranking of integrated agencies operating from or in the North of England. Warts and all!

In total, we have engaged almost 150 agencies and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all the agencies – whether they are included or not – for their time and attention in helping to create this unique financial snapshot of Northern marketing services excellence.

Once again we would like to thank Better Placed recruitment of Leeds and Manchester for its support of this initiative.

Prolific North will also be working with Better Placed and Barclays to deliver a follow-up event to this ranking next summer. A review of the last Top 50 Integrated Agencies event can be found here.

Mustard Research managed and delivered the research and we’d also like to thank the financial reporting company Fame BvD for providing a wealth of financial data to underpin the initiative. And finally Google itself which is as keen as we are to see more original high quality content on the web and whose growing Manchester office looks after the North – and indeed beyond.

Leeds, Manchester and Cheshire agencies dominate

The ranking is once again headed up by the Interpublic operation McCann Manchester (based in leafy Cheshire) followed by a new entry, the private-equity owned WRG, whose activities encompass ‘Live’ communications and increasingly content in its broadest sense.

Jaywing’s figures do not include those of its recent March 2014 acquisition of Epiphany (number two in the Top 50 Digital ranking).

Twelve of the top 20 are based primarily in Manchester or Cheshire, six in Leeds and two in Sheffield.

Outside the two largest conurbations, three Newcastle agencies and just two from Liverpool make the top 50 ranking along with three from Lancashire. Over a dozen of the agencies have international operations with six of the agencies being part of international networks.

Growth by acquisition is also increasingly occurring as the recovery continues with Jaywing, WRG, Hangar Seven, Home and Photolink Group all active while others such as Havas Lynx, Elmwood and SteinIAS are reaping the rewards of decisions taken elsewhere to invest respectively in their Manchester, Leeds and Bollington operations.

Other developments of note were the Fresh MBO, BJL establishing a new office in London and Turn Key opening an office in Los Angeles.

The Prolific North Top 50 Integrated Agencies 2014


Ranking Company Name North of England office locations Staff Count 2014 Selection of clients 2014
1 McCanns Manchester Prestbury 370 Aldi, American Airlines, Shire, npower, JD
Williams, Nestlé, CrossCountry Trains
2 WRG Manchester 102 HSBC, AstraZeneca, Peel Ports, HP, Shell
3 Home Leeds 151 ASDA, B&Q, Bayer, Bonmarché, Bupa, Carphone Warehouse, The Co-operative, Freeman Grattan Holdings, Hallmark, Gala Interactive, JD Williams Group, John Lewis, La Redoute, Mira, Waitrose
4 Jaywing Sheffield 102 Castrol, first direct, Skipton Building Society, Keepmoat and Yorkshire Water
5 Havas Lynx Manchester 201 Johnson & Johnson, Astra Zeneca, Novartis, Lundbeck, Roche
6 Brass Leeds 111 GSK, Lucozade, Ribena, Suntory, Yorkshire Building Society
7 Gratterpalm Leeds 168 ASDA, Greggs, DFS, Coral, Halfords
8 Momentum Instore Macclesfield, Leeds 100 Boots, Sainsbury’s, RBS, TUI, B&Q
9 Fresh Cheadle 95 The Co-operative, Santander, Marks & Spencer, Dixons Carphone
10 BJL Manchester 85 ASDA, Swinton Insurance, Ronseal, Subaru, Metrolink
11 MB Sheffield 79 Desira Motor Group, Drive Motor Group, Marshall Motor Group, Pentagon Motor Group, Robins & Day Peugeot
12 Intermarketing Agency Leeds 70 adidas, Shop Direct, RSA, Parkdean, East Coast Main Line
13 Elmwood Leeds 54 Asda, Ann Summers, Seven Seas
14 Hangar Seven Macclesfield, Leeds 95 ASDA, DFS, adidas, Britvic, John Lewis
15 The Photolink Group Manchester 85 John Lewis, Regis Salons, Tesco, Very, Littlewoods, Argos, Homebase, Marks & Spencer
16 TBWA\Manchester Manchester 95 Wilko, PZ Cussons, Sofaworks, Merlin Entertainments, Smyths
17 Principles Leeds 86 “First Direct/HSBC, Disney, McCain, Vertu, Costcutter
18 Refinery Manchester 87 Magnet, The Co-operative, Manchester Arndale, JD Williams, Homebase
19 Media Agency Group Manchester 55 Jelly Belly UK, DW Sports, Hampson Hughes, Korea Tourism, Bloomberg
20 SteinIAS Bollington 53 TalkTalk Business, Iron Mountain, BP Castrol, Atos, KPMG
21 Love Creative Manchester 40 Rolls Royce, Virgin Atlantic, Onitsuka Tiger
22 One Communications Manchester 35 Taylor Wimpey, Together Trust, Franke, Moduleo, Hoover Candy, United Utilities, Euler Hermes, Pet’s Choice
23 Drummond Central Newcastle 32 bet365, Stoke City FC, Newcastle Building Society
24 Blue Chip Manchester 29 Kellogg’s, O2, PZ Cussons
25 Delineo Manchester 55 Aldermore Bank, Tech Data, The Co-operative, Your Legal Friend, Gazprom Energy
26 FPP Newcastle and Leeds 30 Kinder, P&G, Anchor
27 CBJWT Manchester 65 Magnet, Dreams, John West, Taste Inc & Jersey Telecom
28 Turn Key Leeds 50 Hammerson, Johnson & Johnson, Hitatchi and Accoya.
29 MC2 Manchester 38 Deloitte, NCC Group, Bright Futures, Mondelez International and UCLan
30 Bluestorm Hull 32 n/a
31 CorporateCulture Liverpool 25 NHS WSYB CSU, AstraZeneca, Sport England, Royal Mail, LTA
32 Uber Sheffield 27 Harveys Furniture, tombola, The Perfume Shop, BAFTA, Crabtree & Evelyn, Iceland
33 Uniform Liverpool 40 Bacardi, Shop Direct, the FA, Unilever, Belling/Stoves
34 Bloom Leeds 42 ITV, Sky, Emirates, National Trust, Hitachi Capital
35 Foundry Communications Altrincham 23 MerseyRail, PGL Holidays, Crawford Healthcare, Stobart Barristers
36 Creative Marketing Services Leeds   Adjustamatic, Braid Logistics, NHS, Network Rail, Mansfield Pollard
37 Dinosaur Manchester 24 The Co-operative, Hobbycraft, The Gym Group, Bayer, Pets at Home
38 Everything Different Newcastle 41 Land Securities, Carpetright, Benfield Motors, Barker & Stonehouse, University of Sunderland
39 Savvy Leeds 67 Britvic, Morrisons, Warburtons, Halfords, Florette
40 Cirrus Wilmslow 35 Redrow, Provident Financial, Network Rail, 3 (Hutchison 3G), HSBC
41 driven Wilmslow 19 Alpecin, Blue Diamond Almonds, Subway, Vimto,
42 Strawberry Hull 34 Frillo, Qwiddle, Storetec, Hugh Rice, Siemens, KC Business
43 True North Manchester 22 Royal Mail, Wellcome Trust, NHS, British Council, Sport England
44 Madhouse Associates Manchester 25 Scapa, Knauf, Johnston Press
45 Heckford Advertising Preston 28 Nichols PLC, Tomy, Lancashire CC, Wainhomes, Sandcastle, Vanguard, Winfields Outdoors
46 Rare Creative Sheffield 13.5 Saint-Gobain, Polypipe, Ideal Heating, Refresh Conservatory Roofs, University of Leeds
47 Motionlab Preston 37 Solidor, Residence 9, Easigrass, Arran Isle, Carlisle Brass
48 Parker Design Northwich 15 AstraZeneca, United Utilities, Sage, Thomson Reuters, Home Bargains, UK Fuels
49 Wilson Cooke Bury 35 Cranfield University, Ricky Hatton, Keoghs, Johnson Group
50 Propaganda Leeds 40 Ann Summers, The Car People, Clipper Logistics


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