AMV BBDO celebrated its 40th anniversary at the end of 2017. Already established as the UK's biggest advertising agency, as well as one of its most admired creative powerhouses, original company Abbott Mead Vickers became the local outpost for BBDO in 1991, initially via a minority stake. The American network acquired the balance of the business in 1998. In fact, AMV served for many years as something of a model for other agencies in BBDO's international network. During the 1980s and 1990s, its founders assembled a portfolio of other businesses alongside main advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers to offer an impressively broad range of marketing services. BBDO subsequently encouraged the other lead agencies in its network to broaden their portfolios in a similar fashion. In recent years, though, most of AMV BBDO's satellite units have been spun off into Omnicom's other UK-based networks and the main agency has become more streamlined to focus on its core business. It retains a small collection of satellites such as production division Flare and retail analytics unit AMV Red. Another change has been the gradual departure since 2015 of the tight-knit and long-serving executive team who led AMV to the top of the industry. So far, though, that has seems to have done comparatively little to diminish AMV BBDO's strength in creativity. Its 'Viva La Vulva' campaign for Essity, made in 2018, was one of the world's most awarded. However, performance has been somewhat slower in 2019 under new CEO Sarah Douglas, who took over at the end of the previous year from longtime leader and industry figurehead Cilla Snowball. Alex Grieve is chief creative officer. The most dramatic development was the loss of two key accounts during the year: BT and the National Lottery. After three decades as the UK's biggest agency by billings, it was unseated in 2019 by Omnicom stablemate Adam&Eve DDB. For 2019, Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated billings of £363m, more than £100m behind A&E DDB.
Capsule checked 27th April 2020
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Historical profile information for AMV BBDO
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Nov 2019: "All Mariah Carey Wants For Christmas". Despite her diva reputation, Mariah Carey has proved time and again that she's actually an unexpectedly good sport, and never afraid to poke a little fun at herself. Her starring role in AMV BBDO's ad for Walkers (the British equivalent to Lay's potato chips) may not reach quite as high as last year's fabulous Hostelworld spot from Lucky Generals but it's a close second. Almost makes up for the lack of long-time Walkers brand ambassador Gary Lineker. (Has our Gaz finally given up his day job?) And another thing: pigs in blankets is fine, but we can't impossible imagine what brussels sprouts crisps can possibly taste like. Not sure we would be able to finish a whole bag.
Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Aug 2019: "Snack Stash". Walkers Crisps - the UK equivalent to Lay's potato chips - are without doubt the country's top-selling salty snack. Yet the dominance of the main Walkers brand tends to overshadow other products in the local PepsiCo snack portfolio, especially traditional kids' favourites Wotsits, Monster Munch and Quavers. From the 1960s to the modern day most British kids, your writer included, grew up on these and it's hard to break a lifetime's habit. That's the concept behind AMV BBDO's fantastic new campaign, in which those three undervalued brands are finally treated to a little advertising love. Some of those hiding places are pure genius. Wotsit lipstick! What a truly brilliant idea!
Adbrands Social Media 6th Aug 2019: "Playground Monster". Back to school already? They only just broke up! Here's proof that some of the best creative ideas come from kids, not just copywriters. For the its new Back To School clothing campaign for supermarket Asda's George label, AMV BBDO asked real kids to pick their favourite playground game, and then suggest their ideas for the perfect monster. Of course, it took copywriters to forge an ad out of what was probably a deluge of crazy ideas. The results are fantastic. Definitely the best playground monster we've seen this year.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Aug 2019: Paul Brazier, one of the last of the trio of AMV BBDO's "lifers" who led the agency for more than a decade since the early 2000s, announced his departure after 27 years at the business. Former chief executive Ian Pearman left in 2017; former chairman Cilla Snowball in 2018. Brazier is succeeded as chief creative officer by Alex Grieve, previously ECD.
Adbrands Social Media 11th Jun 2019: "No Can Left Behind". No expense was spared for AMV BBDO's new campaign for Pepsi Max, aimed presumably at a wider global market than just the UK. We don't imagine Paul Rudd comes cheap anymore, now that he's attained Marvel superhero status, and nor do his 'Ant-Man' buddy Michael Pena and 'Thor: Ragnarok' director Taika Waititi. It's quite a blow-out altogether, and all in support of a funny gag about not forgetting to take a can of Pepsi Max into space.
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