Ketchum is large agency of the year: Holmes Report

Ketchum gained new clients and was able to expand its global footprint Holmes Report. (SUPPLIED)

The Holmes Report has named Ketchum, the Large Agency of the Year for 2009 in North America. The public relations agency recently launched its fully branded offices in the UAE.

Ketchum commented in an official communiqué: "Decided by the Holmes Group – the organisation that also grants the yearly Sabre Awards and recently named Ketchum's Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" programme the Campaign of the Decade – this honour is an important achievement for our agency and a testament to its reputation for client service, its growing global footprint and the high quality of its talent."

The Holmes Report, an influential PR industry publication including an extensive body of knowledge that includes case histories, original research and reporting, announces the names of large, mid and small-sized agencies of the year on regional and global levels.

Mid-size agency of the year

In addition to Ketchum, the Holmes Report also named WCG, formerly WeissComm Group, as the Mid-size Agency of the Year 2009.

In its official announcement, the Holmes Report said that the award recoginses the agency's emergence to the public relations scene in the past five years. It was named our Healthcare Agency of the Year in each of the past two years, and continued its impressive upward trajectory in 2009 despite the global recession, with fees increasing from around to $17 million (Dh62.4bn) in 2008 to more than $26m. The agency's organic growth was about 27 per cent, with the remainder coming from acquisitions.

Small agency of the year

For the Small Agency of the Year, the publication named Allison & Partners. The rationale for choosing to name this agency was its impressive growth to become one of the leading independents in the US market.

Allison & Partners' fees were up 12 per cent in 2009 to just under $15m.

The agency's plan was to fill the void between large, global agencies and the smaller niché firms, to create a national firm throughout the US market, while retaining its independence and entrepreneurial spirit.

It spans consumer, healthcare, technology, social impact, public affairs and corporate communications.

New business in 2009 came from the likes of Johnny Rockets, L'Oreal USA, Samsung's information technology division, TrendMicro, the California Department of Public Health for its statewide anti-tobacco effort; and GE Healthcare.

Boutique agency of the year

The Boutique Agency of the Year title for North America went to Kohnstamm Communications. The Holmes Report said it awarded Kohnstamm Communications because of its success in achieving coverage across the United States.

Half of the firm's revenues come from food.

The agency is also known for consultancy in professional and financial services, healthcare, corporate social responsibility, and beauty. The publication put Kohnstamm on its list of the Best Boutique Agencies to Work For in the United States.

New agency of the year

In addition, the Holmes Report named Revive as the New Agency of the Year 2009. The agency, which was launched in 2009, succeeded in offering healthcare public relations communications expertise including branding, issues management, social media, grassroots, public affairs, and crisis communication capabilities to clients including hospitals, health systems, physician organisations, and specialty providers.

For 2009, the Holmes Report noted the impact of the global financial crisis on the global public relations industry, leading to a decline of more than 10 per cent. "It is worth remembering that at the end of the day, building a great PR agency is largely about doing great work, and over the past 12 months, no agency did more great work than Ketchum, which is why the Omnicom-owned firm is our Large Agency of the Year for 2009," said the report in its announcement.

The report added: "Omnicom has decided not to allow its various subsidiaries to reveal information about their billings, but the holding company saw its PR revenues decline by 15 per cent in 2009, and there's no reason to believe that Ketchum was immune to the forces that battered the global marketing and communications services business.

"But what is clear is that despite difficult economic circumstances, the firm continued to produce work of the highest calibrefor a wide range of clients in a wide range of industries."

Ketchum's work on behalf of Doritos – inviting consumers to "Crash the Super Bowl" with user-generated advertising – was recognised by this publication as the Campaign of the Decade and enjoyed its fourth year of success in 2010.

Doritos which needed to drive more relevance, engagement and awareness among core consumers between the ages of 16 and 24, and its broader audience from 18 to 45 years-old, created an authentic, multi-media idea to "put consumers in control of the brand". With Ketchum, the brand invited consumers to "Crash the Super Bowl", and create Doritos first-ever entirely consumer-generated Super Bowl commercial. The Doritos' campaign garnered 1.3 billion earned media impressions, created an online community of one million and generated a 12 per cent leap in its January 2007 sales.

The campaign has become a regular Super Bowl competition.

It had received the International Public Relations Association Golden World Awards in 2007.

Ketchum also took home the Campaign of the Year award at the PR Week awards for its work on behalf of Dreyer's Ice Cream, and led the way among all agencies with 22 finalists for the North American Sabre Awards competition, also organised by The Holmes Group.

According to the publication, Ketchum gained new clients and was able to expand its global footprint more significantly than any of its multinational peers via a merger with sister agency Pleon in Europe – a move that is believed to elevate Ketchum into the top four firms in the world.

In 2008, Ketchum, won the top Sabare Award for the second year in a row, Ketchum and took home four Gold Sabres, two Silver and a Bronze for outstanding client work.

The Sabre Awards, launched in 2000, recognise excellence in public relations programming.

Raymond L Kotcher, Ketchum Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer, said:"These awards are testament to the strategic focus and creative excellence in the work we do on behalf of our clients".

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Ogilvy PR) was honoured as the 2008 Large Agency of the Year.

In 2008, Ogilvy PR was recognised for strong single-digit growth. The company signed a larged number of pacts and got impressive list of new business with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Nestlé, Virgin America, Molson Coors and Chevron.


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