FCB Inferno is the UK outpost of Interpublic's FCB network, formed in 2013 from the merger of the struggling London office of what was then Draftfcb with independent agency Inferno. That led to a dramatic turnaround in performance for what had become one of the network's weakest outposts. It is the latest twist in the long and complex history of FCB in the UK, from one of the powerhouses of the local industry in the 1970s and 1980s to near irrelevance by the time Draftfcb was created in 2006. By 2010, it had even slipped out of the UK's Top 50 agency rankings, and the acquisition two years later of local digital agency Blue Barracuda made little impact on billings. A long-awaited turnaround finally arrived in 2013, when Inferno's management team was given control of the merged agency, which adopted its curent name the following year in the global rebranding of the Draftfcb network. However the agency remains one of the smallest of the major global networks in the UK. Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated billings of £72m in 2019, ranking FCB Inferno just outside the Top 20. This is despite occasionally acclaimed creative work. A long-running campaign for Sport England under the banner of 'This Girl Can' has done especially well since it launched in 2016, and the agency also won accolades in 2019 for an app that helps deaf children to read for Huawei. The loss of prestigious client BMW as part of a regional consolidation was a painful blow in 2020. Frazer Gibney is CEO with Owen Lee as chief creative officer. For 2019, FCB Inferno filed accounts shoeing turnover of £29.6m, with gross profit of £15.9m and a net loss of £1.0m after a non-cash impairment of £1.6m.
Capsule checked 21st December 2020
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Historical profile information for FCB Inferno UK
Adbrands Social Media 16th Apr 2019: "There's Only One Sun". I posted a spot earlier today that was the epitome of everything we expect from Thai advertising: surreal, sentimental and slightly abrasive. Well here's one that's the epitome of British advertising: droll, deadpan, slightly odd and pleasantly old-fashioned. We're used to more straightforward Euro-pudding advertising from Nivea, made in Germany but designed to appeal to any regional audience. Well, now FCB Inferno gets the chance to put a distinctively small island spin on that marketing, probably because only the pale-skinned British would ever be foolish enough to consider going out in the noon day sun without any protection. It's like the sun baby from Teletubbies grew up and is now a lanky teenager.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Dec 2017: Ads of the Week: "Tarmac". The Christmas ads are beginning to wind down at last, allowing other creative ideas to slip through, and some of them are excellent. BMW don't give UK agency FCB Inferno enough chances to show what they're made of. Despite what is now a global brief for that client, this feels like the first time in years that the agency has slipped its reins and been able to run with its creative impulse. We can't remember a better ad from that agency for this client since its very first, exactly three years ago. And such a clever concept as well. Let's hope it's not too clever for this notoriously conservative client.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Jun 2017: Ads of the Week: "Together We Play Strong". European association UEFA has launch a big promotional push for women's football this month, spearheaded by this great spot from FCB Inferno in London. If it reminds you of the same agency's excellent This Girl Can campaigns for Public Health England, that's no coincidence: UEFA is keen to build on that already compelling platform. The women's game doesn't get the attention it deserves, but some of the exceptional footwork demonstrated here might help to change a few minds.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Mar 2017: Ads of the Week: "Phenomenal Woman". Great work from FCB Inferno in London in this follow-up to their Cannes Health Grand Prix-winning This Girl Can spot, for the government's Sport England campaign. You don't have to be a girl or a super-fit athlete to find this film joyously uplifting. The whole point is to get Miss Ordinary of any body shape and size up and off her couch and into playing some sport. Maya Angelou's poem Phenomenal Woman provides a very fitting accompaniment. Phenomenal indeed.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Feb 2016: Ads of the Week: Pearson "Project Literacy". Educational publisher Pearson has launched a campaign to promote global literacy with this superb film developed by FCB Inferno in London. Illiteracy may be its main focus but it also tackles a host of other social evils. Following clearly in the footsteps of McCann Australia's 2013 classic Dumb Ways To Die, the often grim subject matter is leavened with some incongruously charming animation. (And a special shout-out for sculptor Wilfrid Wood). Enjoy it, but don't forget to feel guilty about that enjoyment.
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