In a slow year for new business, WPP was the top holding company, adding $1.8 billion in international assignments for its creative and media agency networks. Besides ranking first, WPP was the only holding company to double its new business in multiple countries, up from $965 million in 2001.
new business still down
To compile the new-business ranking by agency, media network and holding company, Ad Age tallies only international assignments won in three countries or more. The ranking does not include single-country wins.
International new business is still down from a record high in 2000 of $9.2 billion from 224 global and pan-regional account moves. In 2002, some 210 global and pan-regional creative accounts with total billings of $5.3 billion moved to new agencies. In 2001, the total was $5 billion.
During the six years Ad Age has compiled the annual international account-move rankings, clear patterns have emerged among the international business go-getters:
* In the last six years, Saatchi & Saatchi has ranked either first or second three times. In fact, Saatchi, Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide and WPP's Y&R Advertising have each captured the coveted No. 1 slot twice. With remarkable consistency, McCann-Erickson Worldwide, part of Interpublic Group of Cos., has ranked third in five out of six years.
* Additional assignments from existing multinational clients are powerful generators of international new business. That was true more than ever this year, as Saatchi and Publicis Worldwide picked up Procter & Gamble Co. and other accounts after Publicis Groupe Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy dismantled newly acquired D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.
Before cleaning up with former D'Arcy accounts in November, Saatchi and Publicis languished in the No. 7 and 8 slots of this year's new-business ranking. Publicis' No. 2 finish this year is the first time the network has ranked above No. 8.
* Holding companies, ranked by the international wins of their creative and media networks, also tend to be consistent in their performance. In the last three years, WPP Group has ranked in the top three twice, Interpublic Group of Cos. twice and Omnicom Group three times. This year all three-and the new addition to the top-tier Publicis Groupe-scored above $1 billion in new business.
* Among media specialists, MindShare had its best year, ranking No. 1 for the first time, with wins totaling $925 million. Interpublic's Universal McCann came in second, with wins of $680 million. Omnicom's OMD Worldwide, a top-three finisher every year, came in third at $660 million in 2002.
* Agency networks slide down the international new-business ranking at their peril. Bozell, struggling to develop an international network, didn't make the top 20 in 2000 or 2001, when parent Interpublic turned Bozell into a lone New York office. And consider D'Arcy's recent history. As part of the MacManus Group, D'Arcy ranked 12th in 1997 and ninth in 1998. After forming Bcom3 Group with Leo Burnett Worldwide, D'Arcy disappeared from Ad Age's international new-business ranking in 1999 and crept back in at No. 16 in 2000. The network failed to make even the bottom of the rankings in 2001 and was running tenth this year when Mr. Levy announced plans in November to dismantle the network. At the time, he cited D'Arcy's position "at the bottom of its business cycle" as one of the reasons for choosing D'Arcy as the network to close while keeping Saatchi, Publicis and Leo Burnett.