AGENCY 2003: Creative Agency of the Year - Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Article excerpt

Whether working for FMCG, retail or banking brands, BBH has proven that artistic flair can drive sales.

There are many measures of success in adland: new business performance, client loyalty, creative awards, sex appeal. Bartle Bogle Hegarty scores highly on all counts. But the main reason BBH is Marketing's Creative Agency of the Year for 2003 is because it has turned out consistently excellent advertising. Not only were its ads clever, entertaining and salient, they really helped its clients sell stuff.

The agency's TV commercial for Lynx Pulse, featuring a geeky but cool dancer in a bar, was a prime example. The soundtrack topped the charts for four weeks, and the ad was one of the most written about, and talked about, of the year.

Crucially, it scored phenomenal recall among Lynx's target audience of 16- to 24-year-olds. The truly integrated campaign also proved BBH could successfully collaborate with new media and PR agencies on behalf of its client.

Lever Faberge says Pulse is now the leading variant in the market; sales of the little cans are 82% higher than 2002's new variant at the same point in the year; and Lynx has its highest share of the European deodorant market since 1991.

Unlike Lynx, KFC was a struggling brand in a declining market. But BBH's 'Soul Food' campaign, featuring beautifully shot commercials with distinctive soundtracks, reversed that. Brand recognition shot up in the aftermath and KFC grew sales by 2%, with a 0.5% increase in market share since the campaign began.

Indeed, the KFC creative - along with early work for pounds 25m win Woolworths - demonstrated that BBH, long renowned for its FMCG brand-building, is more than capable of repeating such outstanding results for retail clients.

In yet another sector, BBH's 'Fluent in finance' campaign for Barclays, featuring Samuel L Jackson, helped the bank take the lead in share of new customers in the 12 months to July 2003, gaining 1.1% of new accounts.

It also topped the table in new savings accounts, with a 5% volume share over the same period.

Elsewhere, Diageo continues to love the cinematic Johnny Walker 'Keep Walking' campaign and is now running it in 120 markets; Audi reports double-digit sales increase of the A4 model since BBH's haunting 'fish' ads; and the typically surreal Levi's campaign ('a bold new breed') helped the featured Type 1 jeans range grab a 15% slice of the denim company's sales.

Watch BBH's reel, and its astute use of sound becomes immediately apparent.

For years, the agency's Levi's ads have created number one hits, but now the agency is taking this skill further. …