The essence: Omnicom Group's Ketchum, a top PR shop at reaching consumers, strengthened that reputation in 2004. Not only did it win a raft of new business, including Domino's Pizza, Honda Motor Corp., Aetna and Pfizer's Listerine, but it also continued to make its client offerings relevant.
Net growth: The agency' leadership claimed a strong year for new accounts that made the loss of business from Deloitte Consulting, Philips Lighting Co. and Genentech's Avastin more than bearable. The agency's ConAgra win led to end of its long relationship with H. J. Heinz Co.
Management: Chairman and Senior Partner David Drobis retired and 2004 saw some defections including veteran corporate counselor Chris Atkins to WPP Group's Ogilvy PR and Michael O'Brien, director of its New York brand practice, went to WPP's Cohn & Wolfe. Ketchum responded by naming a new trio, including Senior Partner Rob Flaherty, to oversee its global corporate strategists team. And it named Mark Malinowski as Mr. O'Brien's replacement.
Creative quality and effectiveness: Ketchum deepened its branded-entertainment offerings by hiring Mark Owens, from Omnicom product-placement shop Davie-Brown Entertainment. Traditional media outreach and buzz campaigns include a promotion for the Clorox Bleach Pen, tied to the teen do-it-yourself trend, helped the company exceed sales goals . A campaign for Best Buy's Geek Squad, the retailer's customer-service arm, also topped the marketer's goals.