Wieden & Kennedy

Published on .

2004 Rating: 4 stars

The essence: Wieden & Kennedy took major steps toward its goal of becoming a new kind of international agency network, now surpassing $1 billion in billings. It's overcome its U.S. new-business drought with the Starbucks win in the U.S., as well as Sharp out of New York, Tokyo and Amsterdam. Wieden holds two Elecrtronic Arts brands; look for the videogame marketer to consolidate more of its business at Wieden this year. Longer term, it's opening a Shanghai office to tap the Chinese market.

Net growth: Wieden grew U.S. billings to $546 million, up 21% from 2003, offsetting losses of Foster's Group, Miller Brewing Co.'s Henry Weinhard's, and America Online. Outside the U.S., billings were $482.5 million, up 13%.

management: Wieden took a couple of hits with the loss of Co-Creative Director Ty Montague in New York, non-traditional creative guru-Creative Director Jimmy Smith and Executive Creative Director Carlos Bayala in Amsterdam. At key client Nike, its co-founder Phil Knight has handed the reins over to William D. Perez, formerly president-CEO at package-goods giant SC Johnson & Son. Mr. Knight remains chairman.

Creative quality and effectiveness: The power of Wieden's creative is no better illustrated than through the beautiful execution of Lance Armstrong speeding through the countryside for Nike. Wieden's TV and film creative remains at the top of its game. So does its push into entertainment marketing and emerging genres. It's even running an ad school in its offices.

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