Big splash small pond

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Clemmow Hornby's high profile highlights the greater cachet and early success that startup agencies often enjoy in London compared to the U.S.

"Because of the smaller size of the London market, startups make more of a splash," said Cindy Gallop, president of Bcom3 Group-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, which operates on both sides of the Atlantic. "Prospective clients are more open to judging a new agency on the track records of its founders, and take what in the U.S. might be deemed more of a risk. Size and stability and longevity are valued more [in the U.S.]. You have to work harder to get yourself known. And clients with big budgets wouldn't dream of entrusting them to agencies that have just been going a couple years."

In New York, however, where Ms. Gallop opened an office four years ago for Bartle Bogle Hegarty, itself a hot London startup 20 years ago, she was impressed by how helpful and supportive other agencies were, going out of their way to recommend her agency for accounts they couldn't pitch for.

"In New York, there's more business to go around," she said.

Buzzy london startups often find it easier to get on pitch lists than a new U.S. agency would. In the U.K., even multinational marketers are open to giving business-in very small slices-to startups. Five-year-old Mother, probably London's hottest agency, has a blue-chip roster including Coca-Cola Co., Mars and Unilever.

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