Five agencies that could do better

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DDB Worldwide

It was a less-than-banner showing for DDB Worldwide's Chicago office, which lost direct work for Home Depot, Dell's consumer business and JC Penney Co.'s creative. Winning Safeway helped to cushion the blow, but the Chicago agency has to turn it on both new-business-wise and modernize its offering. A good test of the latter will be the launch of Bud.tv, the Anheuser-Busch online media channel DDB is managing.

Doner

The largest independent got off to a rocky start, losing Six Flags ($55 million), Circuit City Stores ($150 million) and Progressive Insurance ($250 million) by May. But Southfield, Mich.-based Doner, best known for those "Zoom zoom" ads from Mazda North American Operations, did manage to nab Expedia's $170 million creative account in September. Doner goes into 2007 hoping to build momentum from that win.

GSD&M

It was a roller-coaster year for GSD&M, thanks largely to the Wal-Mart drama. High-profile as it was, the loss wasn't the main disappointment. That came in the form of middling work for BMW and AT&T, two of the Omnicom Group agency's most important clients. The BMW work let a great idea go to waste in awkward executions. And the AT&T campaign looks like a stock-video archive exploded all over your TV.

Leo Burnett Worldwide

Leo Burnett Worldwide's tough year began in December 2005, when it lost the U.S. Army's $1 billion account. And it got worse when Cadillac later moved its $225 million account. With no significant new-business wins, pressure is mounting on worldwide Chairman-CEO Tom Bernardin and USA President Rich Stoddart. One possible solution involves more closely aligning Burnett with Publicis Groupe direct/interactive sibling Arc Worldwide.

Publicis USA

Publicis USA claimed double-digit growth of more than 20% in 2006, 75% from existing clients like Whirlpool and Nestle. Sounds great, but with only a handful of new-business wins in 2006, its holistic view looks more like "playing it safe." There was a spate of creative hires, including Wieden & Kennedy's Bob Moore as chief creative officer, so we're hoping for some notable campaigns from the New York-based Publicis operation.
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