Robert Sawatzky
Mar 19, 2019

Agency Report Cards 2018: We grade 43 APAC networks

Campaign Asia-Pacific presents its 16th annual assessment, evaluating 43 APAC agency networks based on their 2018 business performance, innovation, creative output, awards, staff development, diversity and leadership.

Agency Report Cards 2018: We grade 43 APAC networks

Welcome to Campaign Asia-Pacific’s annual Agency Report Cards. Now in our 16th year of this critical industry benchmark, we are proud to have expanded the scope of our reviews in the hope of providing more critical feedback on agency performance over the past year.

All Campaign members will again receive a special print issue containing full-page reports of all 43 agencies under scrutiny this year. But we also elected to substantiate our grading with more robust online reviews, found here.

Inside each report card you will find key additional information, including each agency’s top 10 Asia-Pacific clients, more detail and reasoning behind the grades as well as a more thorough breakdown of agency grading in five key categories:

1.Leadership:A qualitative assessment of leadership performance, key regional decisions, management stability and contributions to industry by agency leaders.

2.Creativity:Compelling and effective campaign work, judged qualitatively. Regional and global awards recognition is included, with higher weighting given to wins at major shows. Work demonstrative of high-effectiveness for clients is also considered.

3.Innovation:A qualitative assessment of Asia-based initiatives and innovations based on their improvements to the agency, people, clients and industry.

4. Business performance:Assessed by the value of accounts won and lost in 2018, as calculated by the agencies and R3’s New Business League, published inCampaign, along with recognition of organic growth and client retention.

5. People & Diversity:Agency efforts to attract, retain and develop a high calibre of talent with a commitment to staff diversity and well-being are examined qualitatively.

Grading the agency ecosystem has never been more challenging. It is becoming harder to separate digital, media and creative agencies into neat categories in a world where clients want integrated services. With this, now come multi-agency client teams, working on single P&Ls at the holding-company level.

Increasingly, more specialisms like commerce, CRM, consulting, business transformation, data analytics, performance marketing, search and many others are becoming part and parcel of what every agency does. Our assessments will continue to evolve with these changes, along with the ever-elastic definition of what marketing agencies are here to do.

Among the agency names that changed this year, we added Iris, itself an agency of mixed specialties from the Cheil family, and Reprise, formed from IPG specialists, into our evaluation. Meanwhile, WPP consolidation has meant that Wavemaker and VMLY&R will be evaluated as single entities for the first time. Similarly, Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson receive their last grades as separate entities this year.



Related: APAC holding company rankings
See which advertising and media holding companies surged ahead in Asia-Pacific in 2018, and which declined, in a report compiled by R3. Plus: Data visualisations of holding-company revenue and market cap over the last several years.



We heard from many agencies about new challenges surrounding global and local pitches to the detriment of regional AORs. But we were also pleased to learn how agencies are continually expanding the scope of existing client work, thereby proving the agency model continues to provide value for major brands.

While 19 agencies held their grade and seven lost ground, there were also 15 who elevated their scores this year, partly through perseverance, but also by changing up how business has traditionally been done.

From all of us at Campaign Asia-Pacific, we’d sincerely like to thank all agencies for their considerable time and effort in preparing this year’s detailed submissions for our review.

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