Bartle Bogle Hegarty (or BBH) has long ranked as one of the world's most admired creative agencies, with a reputation for stylish, elegant and original advertising. Campaign named it in 2018 as the UK's 3rd best agency of all time (after BMP and its successors and CDP). One of the stars of the London industry in the mid to late 1980s, the agency sold a large minority stake to global network Leo Burnett in 1997, and used those funds to establish its own international presence in other key markets including New York, Singapore and Shanghai. BBH was allowed to retain its notional autonomy following the subsequent acquisition of Burnett by Publicis Groupe but it has gradually been dragged ever closer into the French group's increasingly centralised management structure. In 2012, Publicis acquired the outstanding 51% stake in the agency from founders John Hegarty and Nigel Bogle to take full control. There are still six international offices, but none has come close to matching the prominence of the main London office, which continues to be one of the country's most admired, despite the occasional rough patch, for example in 2009 and 2010. Making up for that lost time, the new business team delivered a string of account wins in 2011, earning the accolade as Campaign's Agency of the Year for two consecutive years. Quality remains generally high, but BBH's profile has faded since the founders' retirement, and several other veterans of the heyday have departed in recent years. Neil Munn is now global CEO. Joakim "Jab" Borgstrom replaced Pelle Sjoenell as worldwide chief creative officer in 2019. The London flagship remains one of the UK's top agencies. Karen Martin is CEO. Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated local billings of £269m in 2019. Legal entity BBH Partners reported revenues of £52.6m and net income of £15.4m. Other outposts are significantly smaller. Ad Age estimated global revenues of $151m, with the two offices in New York and Los Angeles contributing revenues of $42m between them.
Capsule checked 12th March 2021
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Historical profile information for BBH
Adbrands Update 29th Jul 2021: BBH is to merge its previously separate offices in New York and Los Angeles as a single unit, albeit still with an office on each coast. The newly merged BBH USA will be run by a trio of executives from BBH New York, led by CEO Amani Duncan and CCO Rafael Rizuto. It will also incorporate LA's BBH Entertainment division. BBH LA's CEO and CCO have "decided to leave to pursue professional opportunities".
Adbrands Update 8th Jul 2021: "Everyone Can Be Someone". Spare a couple of minutes for this adorable film by British animator Aiden Whittam and BBH Singapore. That country's Touch Community Services encourages members of the public to take time to help others who may be in greater need than they are. That concept is illustrated beautifully in this gentle stop-motion tale: in Aiden Whittam's universe, having a big heart quite literally makes you a big person. Lovely!
Adbrands Update 26th Jan 2021: "Master Your Moneyverse". British bank Barclays really pushed out the boat for this spectacular spot from BBH London which features gob-smacking CGI that might not have looked out of place in a Marvel superhero movie. Here, though, lead character Amit's superpower is a little more mundane: merely the ability to manage his finances better thanks to the Barclays app. Oh well, even superheroes have to start somewhere. Top marks for diversity too, from casting to the voiceover, which is a non-musical contribution from British rapper Speech Debelle.
Adbrands Daily Update 27th Dec 2019: "A Whopper of a Secret". Nobody loves a smartarse, but we suspect BBH London's end-of-year campaign for Burger King in the UK may collect a few awards at Cannes next year anyway. (Too often, these days, we feel that agencies spend more time thinking how about how clever they can be rather than how they can make a great ad). This latest meta-ad reveals that all the agency's previous ads for BK this year actually included a picture of a Big Mac, but it was obscured each time by the Whopper in front (with some additional help from the laws of perspective). Well aren't you the clever ones, BBH.
Adbrands Daily Update 25th Sep 2019: Pelle Sjoenell stepped down as global chief creative officer of BBH to take the same position at gaming giant Activision Blizzard, overseeing games such as Call of Duty and Candy Crush. He is replaced as BBH CCO by Joakim "Jab" Borgstrom, previously creative chief at the agency's Singapore office.
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