FCB Is Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year

FCB Is Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year

By  |  December 7, 2020  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

When Susan Credle arrived at FCB Global five years ago to become its creative chief, she implemented a philosophy that acknowledges—and even embraces—the volatility of a marketing world constantly searching for what’s next.

“Never finished” became an agency mantra prioritizing constant evolution for FCB and clients alike. “We bet that the work would get to a place that would make us stronger,” she says. “It’s not just award-winning work; it’s the kind of work clients value.”

That mindset would prove especially valuable in 2020, a year in which all the norms of work and home life were upended. While nearly all agencies suffered financial losses this year, FCB grew 10% globally, according to the agency, while entering into new or expanding relationships with clients including BMW, Kimberly-Clark and Walmart.

Thanks to its growth amid industrywide disruption, strategic focus on collaboration across borders, ongoing commitments to inclusivity and its thriving healthcare marketing practice, FCB is Adweek’s 2020 Global Agency of the Year, marking the network’s first award in the category. FCB was last named U.S. Agency of the Year (as Foote, Cone and Belding) in 1989. It also highlights how the New York-based, IPG-owned agency network put its philosophy of adaptation into practice during a year when no one could afford to sit still.

“We functioned better in the virtual world than previously,” FCB global CSO Nigel Jones tells Adweek. “We created an agency that could thrive in this kind of world where collaboration is very important and egos destroy things.”

Connected collaboration

Before global CEO Carter Murray arrived in 2013, FCB operated within the regional and organizational silos typical of agencies at the time. Murray removed such barriers, including a restructuring in September 2019 that consolidated leadership in North America under North America CEO Tyler Turnbull, and the recent global expansion of creative data agency FCB/SIX. Reestablishing creativity at FCB’s core, with leadership from both Credle and worldwide creative partner Fred Levron, and foregoing regional hubs in favor of select international markets allowed FCB to build a structure that facilitated connection and collaboration across offices. 

FCB’s diverse client portfolio and connected approach meant that while individual offices felt the impact of the pandemic, particularly because of how it affected travel and hospitality brands on its roster, the network was buoyed by clients such as Adweek Brand of the Year Clorox

Clorox chief marketing and strategy officer Stacey Grier calls the brand’s partnership with FCB “special and increasingly rare.” 

“They push us and importantly, they invite us to push them as well. Not every agency is brave enough to do that,” she adds. “We value FCB’s talent, integrity and never-ending pursuit of being a better partner.”

The focus on collaboration extends beyond FCB to relationships with clients’ other roster agencies and in-house teams, Credle explains, citing FCB’s work with Walmart’s agencies to develop a singular brand voice as an example.

“If you’re a roster agency and you want to grow, it’s going to be by being a good team player,” she says.  

A healthy network

In 2020, FCB Health added over 25 major new brand assignments while expanding existing relationships including Lilly, Merck, Novartis and Sanofi. With the addition of Bristol Myers Squibb, the network says it now works with 19 of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies. 

“There’s no way we could have achieved what we have without the runaway success of FCB Health,” Murray says. “It’s allowed us to reinvent the advertising business.”

About the Author: Erik Oster

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