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Agency Rating: 3

DDB Worldwide, New York, celebrated its 50th anniversary with not only gold, but also silver and bronze. In 1999, the agency reeled in a slew of creative awards, both in the U.S. and overseas. It dropped Needham from its name and tapped Ken Kaess as president and heir-apparent to Chairman-CEO Keith Reinhard.

Creatively, DDB's New York office debuted a stand-out effort for new client Sephora, while the Chicago office was behind a comical Bud Light spot featuring two guys with a tough decision. The Chicago office also tinkered with its McDonald Corp. work to impart more emotion.

Although its Spike/DDB urban marketing unit had virtually no profile, the agency did put some oomph behind its other integrated offerings. Beyond DDB and DDB Digital both prospered, and the agency spawned creative unit DDB Downtown and advertising effectiveness consultancy DDB Matrix.

The New York office won 12 new accounts, including the $20 million post-merger creative assignment for Exxon Mobil Corp., while the West Coast cleaned up with the estimated $90 million Clorox Co. win.

DDB parted ways with Amana Appliances, Discover Card, Unilever's Salon Selectives, among others.

Looking ahead

DDB enters 2000 with a foot in the door for the J.C. Penney Co. review (it won two assignments from the retailer in 1999). Spike/DDB may evolve. Also, DDB will reveal a successor for Mr. Kaess' former North American position.

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