BBH London came into 2013 on the back of an incredibly successful 2012 -- reflected in the number of creative awards it picked up this year. It was the second most awarded agency in the world at D&AD and its 2012 Guardian campaign Three Little Pigs was lauded as one of TED's top ten Ads Worth Spreading as well as winning awards including the Grand Clio.
So how to follow up? On top of a solid new businesses year, with seven new clients and no losses, it pulled off great new work for the likes of Axe, Robinsons and St John's Ambulance. It grew to become the third biggest UK agency and now has the unusual accolade of being the "most knighted agency ever" after Nigel Bogle joined John Hegarty in being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
CEO Ben Fennell says: "The biggest challenge for any business is to decide what to change and what to keep the same. We try to make sure that we are constantly refreshing BBH with new people, new thinking and new partners. In my view that is innovation in its purest form; the coupling of stability and restlessness."
Its best work of 2013 included Axe's space-themed Apollo campaign, in which the male grooming brand aimed to turn regular guys into heroes by sending them into space with the "Axe Apollo Space Academy", promoted by no less than Buzz Aldrin. As part of the campaign, it ran two hilarious spots directed by Biscuit's Tim Godsall, in which an astronaut bests other "sexy" professions such as fireman and lifeguard. This campaign picked up several Cannes Lions including Gold and Silver Lions in the Best Integrated Campaign led by Promotion and Activation.
While TV work for The Guardian wasn't quite in the same league as Three Little Pigs this year, the brand did come out with a classic print ad to mark the occasion of Margaret Thatcher's death, comparing her to Marmite -- the food that Brits either love or hate. (While Marmite isn't a BBH client, owner Unilever gave its blessing to the work as the piece agreed with the personality of the brand).
BBH's work for classic British brands such as Robinsons and Weetabix continues to be strong. In "Pals", for Robinsons, directed by Academy's Si & Ad, what starts out as a charming story of best friends turns out to be about a father-son relationship.
But as well as generating warm fuzzy feelings, BBH proved it's still capable of hard-hitting advertising. A disturbing interactive spot for St John's Ambulance highlighted the need for to recruit volunteers with first aid skills. Directed by Blink's Dougal Wilson, it shows a young boy suffering an accident while a woman who works as a volunteer appears to be nearby; the viewer might be lulled into thinking that all will be OK, until the spot reveals she isn't at the scene. Viewers are encouraged to click through to website where they are talked through how to save the boy.
Another inventive interactive project was Penguin Books' Storytime Hangout on Google +, aimed at making reading a more interactive experience for kids and parents. BBH created an app whose first experiment is to bring the classic tale Three Billy Goats Gruff to life.
BBH's brand consultancy Zag also continues to develop exciting projects: it is working on an intelligent wearable camera called Autographer, while its strategic report for the BBC on second screen technology led to social media campaign development around the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.