An increase in media business helped the marcomms industry compensate for a rough 2020 for their creative agencies, resulting in a 5.8% decline in business overall, according to new business data from R3, an independent marketing consultancy. Media new business revenue for the period of January to December 2020 increased by 6.9%, making up for a much weaker creative market (-12.6%), according to the firm.
"The numbers tells us something deeper than a desire for greater efficiency," says Greg Paull, co-founder & Principal at R3. "Technology has made media a key driver of marketing. Creative is reliant on media for form, visibility, and engagement. Marketers recognise the shift and are looking for partners who can lead."
In the creative table, Droga5 moved up 10 places in the past 12 months, winning global accounts for Airbnb and Huggies. VMLY&R leapt from 20th to third, finding its stride since restructuring in 2018. Havas Worldwide is the top performing agency globally in creative new business, moving up from third place the previous year. Overall, creative saw 14% more pitches, but 12% less revenue in 2020.
Though the media new business landscape has been resilient, revenue from wins for the top five media agencies decreased by 27% compared to the previous year. MediaCom leads in new business wins, followed closely by Initiative, Wavemaker, Starcom, and OMD. This marks a shift in top performers, as MediaCom was the only agency to maintain a top five position from the previous year.
Despite the churn among individual agencies in both the creative and media markets, WPP continues to dominate the network rankings. WPP outperformed its peers, winning twice the revenue and twice as many new business wins as its closest contender, Publicis Groupe. WPP's direction, which is more aligned to the fast-digitalising marketplace, has enabled the holding company to surpass its previous year's creative revenue by 134% and media revenue by 161%, according to R3. Interpublic, Omnicom, and Dentsu round out the top five performers. Dentsu ranks second in total number of wins.
In APAC, meanwhile, WPP's agencies were dominant in both the creative and media rankings. While Ogilvy maintained its position atop the creative league in the region, Mindshare topped the media market. Check out the year-end APAC New Business League results here.