PR Agency of the Year 2016

It is often said defending the crown is much more difficult than winning it. Weber Shandwick debunks that theory as it claims top overall agency honors for a second consecutive year.

Winner

Weber Shandwick

It is often said defending the crown is much more difficult than winning it. Weber Shandwick debunks that theory as it claims top overall agency honors for a second consecutive year.

On the one hand, the numbers stand out. Worldwide revenue through August 2015 was up 13.8%, with 12.5% organic growth (without acquisitions). China, Korea, and Brazil grew more than 25%. Business also grew in 12 of 13 European markets, despite a difficult macroeconomic environment.

It won two out of three new-business pitches, retained 98% of its top-50 clients, and 15 of its top-20 clients awarded new assignments.

The firm’s brand publishing offering, Mediaco, and digital and social media work accounted for 30% of revenue. Wins included digital/social AOR for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Holiday Inn. All told, paid TV and social media buys surpassed $300 million.

"Incredible revenue and organic growth," said one judge. "And it’s obvious clients have a strong passion for the agency."

Judges, though, were equally won over by Weber’s culture and tremendous strides on diversity and inclusion.

"Employees love working at the firm," offered another judge. "And Weber’s demonstrated commitment to diversity is obvious."

Twenty percent of U.S. employees are multicultural and 71% are women; while 14 women hold senior global leadership positions and eight lead practices.

Its Our Wishes for Baby film drove 9 million views and 650 million impressions for Fisher-Price (the brand’s top-viewed and most-shared video ever).

At submission time, Novartis’ multiple sclerosis patient community, Living Like You, had more than 12,000 members and more than 60,000 social media engagements. In addition, Weber also created "the world’s first immersive documentary presented through the Oculus Rift [virtual reality headset]" for Ocean Spray.

"Weber is the definition of a game-changing agency," concluded another judge.


Honorable Mention

M Booth

Last year’s numbers impressed across the board: Revenue was up 22.3%, the agency won 23 new clients, and 51 new employees joined the firm, bringing total staff to 131. The M Booth Partnership Innovation team was but one of many specialty practices launched. And clients including Godiva and Campari America were effusive in praising M Booth as an outstanding partner. For the former, the agency’s Game Over, Game On Valentine’s Day campaign increased online sales by $1.6 million. As for culture, one judge summed it up by saying, "This firm seems so fun and innovative. I’d like to work there."

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