Agency Report Card 2022: FCB

FCB has seen stronger business growth and creative output in markets such as India and New Zealand but other markets are still playing catch-up.

There were several structural changes affecting FCB in APAC in 2022, but its overall story is a familiar one with its key offices in India and New Zealand remaining as regional standouts who again produced impactful work and took the biggest strides in fostering culture and inclusion.

In Malaysia, FCB was rebranded as FCB Shout after owners Shaun Tay and Ong Shi-Ping formed a new holding company called the Shout Group. FCB Shout, as the group’s primary creative agency, styles itself as a challenger firm in Malaysia. FCB's business in the market made great progress in 2022 after rebranding, winning 18 new clients, including Domino's Pizza and Resorts World Genting.

There are signs of expansion elsewhere too. Murmurs of FCB relaunching in Singapore continue, but a new office hasn’t yet materialised. In South Asia however, FCB Group India entered into an affiliate agreement with Sri Lanka agency KL.LK and formed FCB KL.LK headed by Santosh Menon, who serves as its chairman and CEO.

Globally, IPG integrated eight agency brands, including FCB Health and McCann Health, into a new IPG Health business, which may also affect the financial reporting of FCB in the region.

But on the whole, 2022 appears to have been good for the network in its top markets.

Category 2022 2021
Business B-  B-
Innovation C+ C
DEI and sustainability B B
Creativity and effectiveness B B-
Management B- B-
*2021 scores adjusted to new numeric scale. Read about the grading methodology

Business (B-)

FCB leadership says it achieved double-digit growth in Asia Pacific, though it only shared revenue and profit guidance for certain markets. It reports double-digit revenue growth in India, higher double-digit growth for FCB Shout, and triple-digit growth for Happiness Saigon, with both FCB Shout and Happiness Saigon also achieving triple-digit profit growth in a bounce-back year for Malaysia and Vietnam. 

Campaign Advertising Intelligence’s new business league, with data from R3, did not rank FCB among the top 20 agencies in the region. Despite this, the agency stated that its new business growth was much stronger than in 2021, when new business was driven in particular by the China, New Zealand and Thailand offices. New business in markets such as India, New Zealand, and Malaysia, FCB achieved higher double-digit growth rates, while Happiness Saigon and FCB Manila experienced triple-digit growth rates. 

FCB’s trio of Indian agencies (FCB India, Ulka, Interface) won seven of its top new business wins, such as India Cements, Navneet, Pernod Ricard, and Xanadu,  while New Zealand won two top clients, Vodafone and Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport). Happiness Saigon also secured several new clients, including Popeyes, Dyson, and Highlands Coffee.

In the top 10 clients list, all but two clients, Amul and Mitre 10 (a major New Zealand chain of home improvement stores) are new compared with the top 10 clients in 2021, which signals weakness in their portfolio overall. Air New Zealand, Domino’s, Google, McCain, Pernod Ricard, Tata Motors, Uber, and Vodafone replaced some top clients like Unilever, RHB Bank, Union Bank and Darlie. FCB acknowledged losing clients in several markets, including New Zealand, India (a mobile brand), Australia (a bank client) and the Philippines. 

Meanwhile, the acquisition of digital agency Kinnect in India in 2021 also supported was a key factor in driving organic growth in 2022. Kinnect Outreach, the agency’s homegrown influencer and third-party partnership desk, onboarded 30 new clients and hired 40 influencer marketing and platform specialists. 

After considering the limited information on regional business data, the significant changes among the top clients, and the stronger business growth, we have decided to maintain the business grade of B-.

Innovation (C+)

In early 2022, FCB’s creative data and CRM specialist agency FCB/SIX made its APAC debut in New Zealand. The agency formed key partnerships with tech platforms such as Salesforce and VidMob and deeply integrated with IPG’s data and technology units, Acxiom and Kinesso. It’s clear such an offering was overdue, as FCB/SIX is FCB’s fastest-growing capability both globally and regionally.

The agency also tailored two key global frameworks, Customer Decision and Cultural Intelligence, for APAC and the New Zealand local market. The former, which connects advanced data analytics with channel expertise, improves traditional customer journey planning. The latter, originally from New York, was brought into New Zealand to enrich ad planning strategies with local data sources and market context, while integrating everything from campaign performance to briefing insights.

In India, Kinnect Outreach launched an in-house tool ‘KinnectFluence’ to research, measure and manage client campaigns.

In Malaysia, FCB Shout took the lead on innovative partnerships that opened up revenue streams, forming pacts with the likes of Trapper (Media), Go Communications (PR), AnyMind (ecommerce), Idealogic (consultancy), Forit Digital (tech), GetCraft (influencers) and Xeno (entertainment). In New Zealand, FCB also partnered with Salesforce to help clients launch capabilities in three new markets across the region.

As the most local of the global creative networks, FCB adapted global and local products into regional markets to generate revenue and use Asian-born innovation in local markets. FCB adapted global products FCB/SIX into the regional market, turned local offerings from Kinnect into revenue drivers, and formed Asian-born innovation through partnerships in local markets.  As a result, the decision we’ve upgraded the innovation score to a C+.  

DEI & Sustainability (B)

Across the region, women make up over 50% of FCB’s senior leadership roles on average, with Shanghai being higher than average and India being lower. They don’t have an APAC staff breakdown, but globally have 56% global female representation, which is higher than its level in 2021.

FCB New Zealand initiated the Whanaungatanga project, which means ‘being connected to” in Te Ao Māori. Through this project, FCB is working to include new diverse community groups in its network while educating staff on Te Reo (Māori language) and tikanga (Māori culture and protocol). FCB also developed a unique partnership with Run, a Māori owned advertising agency, to make creative offerings more connected with Māori and Pasifika audiences.

FCB Group India launched a new platform for women leaders called ‘She Can She Will’, which aims to build female talent for future leadership roles. The platform hosts a series of fireside chats and panel discussions every quarter in different cities, providing real-life guidance for the next generation of women leaders.

To commemorate Earth Day, FCB launched its first Global Sustainability Council (GSC). The GSC works closely with IPG and sister agencies to monitor their collective carbon footprint, from resourcing to content production, and promote sustainability in strategy, creativity, and production practices. The council meets monthly, with APAC representatives participating in keeping their markets accountable and connected to global sustainability efforts.

FCB Inferno in India introduced a traffic light system to identify the environmental footprint of clients’ campaigns. Born in London, the system was later adapted for use in Indian markets. In China, Happiness Saigon hired a consultant specialising in excellence and positive impact to improve their internal behaviour and ecological footprint, as well as to provide ESG capabilities to their clients.

FCB has created numerous campaigns for its clients focusing on DEI and sustainability, detailed below, resulting in significant impact through the work. As a result, it was decided to maintain FCB’s already ‘very good’ grade of B.

Creativity & Effectiveness (B)

FCB India achieved impressive successes, winning 14 Lions at the Cannes festival and becoming the second-most awarded Indian agency. Some of its notable campaigns include ‘Unbox Me,’ ‘Chatpat’ and ‘The Nominate Me Selfie.’  

A collaboration between Kinnect, FCB India and FCB Chicago created an influencer named ‘Chatpat’ to support the NGO SOS Children’s Villages India in raising awareness and funds for homeless and destitute individuals. This project won eight Cannes Lions in 2022 and will serve as a long-term platform for obtaining funding and donations from corporations.  

The ‘Nominate Me Selfie’ campaign was created by FCB in collaboration with Political Shakti and The Times of India to address the issue of gender representation. #AadhaHumara turned out to be an urgent cry to bridge the political gender gap. In 2022, the campaign won a Gold Lion and a Silver Lion at Cannes, as well as Grand Prix at Spikes Asia and 2 metals at CLIO Awards.

‘Unbox Me’ is a campaign created in collaboration with UNAIDS to promote DEI and to raise awareness for the rights of transgender children in India. The campaign won 3 Bronze Lions at Cannes Lions 2022.  

Kantar recognised FCB New Zealand’s work for Mitre 10 as the most effective campaign. FCB New Zealand also created a campaign for the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Authority to disrupt the mindset and launch Road To Zero’s ambitious 30-year plan to eliminate deaths on New Zealand roads. This campaign received numerous awards at international festivals, including a Gold at The One Show.

FCB Aotearoa became the most awarded agency both at the media (Beacons) and digital (IAB NZ) local award shows. FCB Shout won 103 awards in total. Additionally, Happiness Saigon was the most-awarded agency in Vietnam on a global scale.

As a result of these accomplishments, FCB’s grade was upgraded to B, indicating a ‘very good’ performance in creativity and effectiveness.

Management (B-)

According to FCB, the agency’s overall staff turnover rate in the region has remained stable at a below-average rate of approximately 20%.

In New Zealand, the agency promoted Leisa Wall and Peter Vegas to co-chief creative officers following FCB NZ’s launch of innovative data and CRM capability FCB/SIX. In India, Aditi Patwardhan joined FCB Interface as chief strategy officer based in Mumbai.

In Malaysia, FCB promoted creative professionals, such as Wang Ie Tjer, to head of creative and Jonathan Chan and James Voon to associate creative director for copywriting and art direction, respectively. Timothy Teh and Chin Yee Wen joined FCB Shout’s brand management team as brand directors and Kevin Choong as the new communications planning director.

This year, there have been many improvements and advances across Asian markets and we applaud the purposeful work and initiatives from FCB’s traditional strongholds in India and New Zealand. These markets have long been more successful and make more noise than others. We’d love to hear more from leadership in APAC markets such as Greater China, the Philippines, Thailand, and Korea as well. Until then, we can only keep the score at a ‘good’ grade of B-.

Creative (60%)
Strategy/Branding (20%)
Media/Data and tech (20%)

Full integrated advertising
Social and behaviour change
Digital, data and technology

Air New Zealand
Mitre 10
Pernod Ricard
Tata Motors

A: Leading industry with sustained growth, diverse talent, work disrupting traditional social/political views in the region + a commitment to sustainability, delivered through creativity that activates business while generating brand value.

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The Campaign Asia-Pacific Team