School Reports 2021: OMD Group UK

Manning Gottlieb OMD and OMD UK managed to increase billings and help produce standout work in a pandemic-hit year. It took the allure of running Sky Media to tempt away group chief executive Tim Pearson, but succession planning appeared to be strong when both the agency managing directors Natalie Bell and Laura Fenton were promoted to chief executive in December.

While OMD UK’s planned office move to Omnicom HQ was scuppered by the UK going into lockdown in the same week, the Covid-19 pandemic put MG OMD in the unique position of being a media agency that almost had too much to do in 2020, given the huge volumes of government marketing it carried out (pictured). Its government media-buying division, OmniGov, was handling more than £100m in media spend, including campaigns such as “Hands. Face. Space” in September and a newspaper ad blitz in April. OmniGov, led by Paul Knight, earned itself Agency Team of the Year at the Campaign Media Awards 2020 for its innovative and transparent approach to digital comms.

New business was also good. OMD UK retained its biggest client McDonald’s, winning Lidl’s £60m buying account (it already had planning) and snaring an extension to relationships with Barclays and easyJet. The agency’s decision not to pitch for new clients paid off, having managed to increase billings by 15% and nab new accounts without pitches for Activision and SC Johnson. MG OMD had a quieter new-business year, although repitching for the £25m Estée Lauder account was significant. Both agencies lost out in global consolidation reviews for Uber (MG OMD) and Hasbro (OMD UK).

Female and BAME representation is broadly similar to last year, but Dan Clays has shown leadership by chairing a new D&I steering group for Omnicom Media Group, while creating cross-agency D&I advisory teams.




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From the headmistress: Reaping rewards from putting in the hard work

2020 in the agency’s words

2020 was a year no-one expected; despite this, OMD Group UK thrived. Continuing its winning form, MG OMD was crowned Campaign’s Global Media Agency of The Year whilst OMD UK were the most awarded agency at Media Week 2020.

New business was triumphant, totalling £110m across eight new clients (collectively) – including 2020’s biggest media pitch Lidl, won by OMD UK. Notably, eight clients including McDonald’s, Barclays and Estee Lauder Companies were retained within the Group, equalling £170m.

The agencies culture scores were bolstered to 86% (collectively) and both agencies welcomed new CEOs Laura Fenton and Natalie Bell to the helm.

This article was originally published by Campaign.

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