Billings up 8% to $2.87 billion, revenue up 4% to $352 million. Won PepsiCo's Gatorade ($180 million), Pepsi/Diet Pepsi ($90 million) and Pepsi Max ($50 million), Michelin ($45 million), global Adidas digital ($20 million in U.S.) and Dial Corp.'s Combat, Renuzit, Soft Scrub ($15 million combined). Lost Washington Mutual ($130 million), LeapFrog ($25 million), Embassy Suites ($20 million), global Chivas ($5 million in U.S.). Q4 Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max wins came too late to boost revenue. Fourth strongest revenue/staff ratio lifts grade.
Two-year-old "Get a Mac" Apple campaign remains fresh via strong writing, distinct characters and new life on Web. "Bean Counter" TV spot shows visor-wearing PC setting aside one stack of money for ads and much smaller stack for fixing Vista. Online, Mac and PC guys stand in banner space bantering as PC fails to fully switch on a "Don't Give Up on Vista" sign, getting only "Give Up." Spot for chocolate Skittles in which man oddly resembling a pinata berates co-worker for thinking hitting him with bat would produce the candy comically fits brand's young-skewing, bizarro world. "Running Late" spot for Nissan Altima set at remote test facility vividly illustrates durability, but fails to defy category conventions. Pop-up store for Pedigree deftly uses dogs, celebrities and high-profile site (Times Square) to attract 50,000 visitors and generate buzz around pet-adoption cause. Print ad for PUR water filter with hand-scrawled copy in shape of water drop conveys bottled-water alternative message in simple, down-to-earth way.
The pace quickened in Tom Carroll's first full year as worldwide CEO. Joined PepsiCo's roster in April via Gatorade win and seven months later added brand Pepsi. Parlayed Visa domestic relationship into $525 million global account win in September. Carroll's 2007 hire of Colleen DeCourcy, worldwide chief digital officer, paid dividends in July's Adidas global digital pitch, with DeCourcy culling holding-company talent -- TBWA, Critical Mass, 180, EVB -- for win. U.S. pitch ratio, 6 of 12, dipped from '07's 6 of 10. New York office was hit with February exit of ecd Gerry Graf, whose department delivered award-winning ads for key client Mars. To fill slot, Carroll in May hired Young & Rubicam Chicago CCO Mark Figliulo as chairman/CCO, effective in June. North American president Robert LePlae wound down his decade at network, leaving in January '09.
Playa del Rey, Calif., office was central to biggest wins: Visa global account, Gatorade and Pepsi/Diet Pepsi. In June, office president Carisa Bianchi recruited Bill Brooks, a worldwide client service director at Ogilvy & Mather, to lead then U.S.-only Visa account as managing director. N.Y. president Corey Mitchell left in July to become managing director of MRM in N.Y.
India got a new CEO: former Ogilvy Paris managing director Shiv Sethuraman, who started in July, and in September the network acquired the 49% of shop it didn't already own. Germany won global duties on Merck's Nasivin, Femibion, Flexagil.
L.A.'s blistering '08 propelled shop to Global Agency of the Year honors from Adweek but masked quietude of N.Y., which again is in rebuild mode. Carroll counting on mixture of new blood (Figliulo) and existing talent (Jamie Gallo, managing director made president in February '09) to boost the office.
FINAL GRADE: B
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