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
Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets.
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Historical profile information for BBH
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.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Sep 2019: "Alpaca". Some lovely gags in this new campaign for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 from BBH New York, a new addition to the Korean tech giant's roster. Presumably Publicis Groupe's Power of One methodology has helped BBH hitch a lift on the back of sister agency (and Samsung lead) Leo Burnett. Like an earlier Burnett ad for Samsung featuring an ostrich, this new spot generates maximum appeal from the use of another unusual animal, the alpaca. And frankly, who can resist any ad that has alpacas in it? We've seen plenty of ads before that light-heartedly illustrate the explosive spread of new global viral trends, but this one is played purely for laughs. That encounter between two office workers both sporting an alpaca hairdo is classic.
Adbrands Social Media 23rd Apr 2019: "Go On, Say It". Nice work from BBH London for newish client Burger King, designed to emphasise the fast feeder's trademark brand. It's a bold - and funny - strategy to show customers being turned away just because they say the wrong thing, but it really makes you want to try this out for real. What *would* they do at your local Burger King if you went in and asked for a cheeseburger. I dare you to have a go and then tell me what happens in the comments.
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