BBDO Worldwide

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2003 Rating: 2.5 stars

2002 Rating: 2.5 stars

BBDO Worldwide fought to maintain its position in the agency food chain in 2003. Yum Brands' $200 million KFC account went to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide last summer after the long-running Jason Alexander campaign ran out of steam.

Kudos to Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, for signing up the $150 million account of Time Warner's America Online, which led to a multiprong marketing campaign involving celebrities such as actress Sharon Stone and singer Dave Matthews. However, AOL's decision to give Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., a corporate branding assignment left industry watchers wondering what BBDO had lacked.

Besides E&J Gallo Winery's estimated $80 million account, other wins were small.

While BBDO added some much-needed fresh blood with Nancy Hill on AOL and Martyn Straw as exec VP-chief strategy officer, the agency said goodbye to some of its top creatives. Michael Patti left to become worldwide chief creative officer at WPP Group's Young & Rubicam, and Gerry Graf defected to the New York office of Omnicom sibling TBWA. To its credit, in December BBDO promptly hired Eric Silver, who built his reputation as an award-winning creative at Cliff Freeman & Partners, to fill Mr. Graf's shoes.

BBDO held onto its Super Bowl crown again while creating some of the year's most memorable campaigns: the Sheens' Visa International spot, Osbournes' Pepsi Twist, the hip Cingular work and AOL's running man icon.

LOOKING AHEAD

The honeymoon period is over for President-CEO Andrew Robertson-time to fire up the engines on new business. BBDO says it's looking for greater collaboration between offices and a bigger role for strategic planning. However, gossip on the business lunch circuit is that the management lineup might see a reshuffle in 2004.

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