For much of the agency's history, Ogilvy PR’s EMEA operations have flattered to deceive. Over the past three years however, a series of false dawns finally gave way to the real thing, with the agency submitting a remarkable 2013 performance to clinch Pan-EMEA Consultancy of the Year honours.
For the second consecutive year, growth exceeded 15%, bolstered by a rich new business haul that included American Express, Google, Unilever, General Mills, Beko, Vodafone, Qatar Tourism, Merck, Friends Provident and Coca-Cola. More than a third of Ogilvy’s regional revenues are now multi-market, thanks to a regional footprint that no longer underwhelms — led by a revitalised UK operation that grew 25% in 2013 to crack the £10m barrier.
In critical emerging markets, meanwhile, Ogilvy has positioned itself as an industry leader; it now owns a majority of the impressive Memac Ogilvy network across the Middle East and North Africa, to go with market-leading agencies in South Africa, Kenya and Turkey.
The firm’s Social@Ogilvy unit, moreover, continued to sharpen its competitive edge, now accounting for 25% of Ogilvy PR's EMEA revenues, up from 7% in 2011. The unit grew 27% in 2013 to consolidate its position as one the region’s top digital players, with existing strength in earned and owned media complemented by deep paid capabilities from its Social Lab acquisition in Belgium and an increasingly compelling analytics offering. All of which translated into key business from AngloAmerican, the European Parliament, the Spanish Tourism Board and British Airways.
And special mention must also be made of Ogilvy’s ability to develop brilliant PR work from numerous markets, after the firm topped the Holmes Report’s 2013 Global Creative Index. In addition to the much-feted Gnome Experiment initiative were other award-worthy campaigns such as Google+ Same Sex Marriage, Project Patty, Grohe Green Mosque, and Beyond Dark’s Measure of Pleasure.
Ogilvy PR is not the biggest agency in EMEA, but under the leadership of Stuart Smith and key executives such as Michael Frohlich, Sandra Sais, Marshall Manson, Saada Hammad, Joanna Oosthuizen and Suresh Raj, its rise is increasingly difficult to ignore. Larger rivals should probably watch out.
Finalists: Edelman, Ketchum, MSLGroup, Weber Shandwick
Agencies will be honoured at the 2014 EMEA SABRE Awards, on 20 May at the Roundhouse in London.