Principals: Scott Allison, chairman and CEO (pictured); and Jonathan Heit, cofounder and president, Americas
Ownership: MDC Partners owns 75%; agency partners own 25%
Offices: Global: 26; U.S. 13
Revenue: Global: $47.5 million; U.S.: $41.8 million
Allison+Partners again beefed up its international presence in 2016, investing heavily in Asia and expanding its internal creative division to the region.
The firm saw an overall revenue increase of 9.4% from 2015 to $47.5 million globally, a more modest increase than 2015, when the agency reported stunning 33% year-over-year growth.
"We came off record-breaking growth in 2015, and we still saw growth in 2016, but it was more challenging," says chairman and CEO Scott Allison. "There were economic headwinds, challenges in Europe around Brexit, and softness in Asia."
The firm had fewer retained clients, but saw an increase in project work. Significant wins included regional AOR accounts for Toyota, ADT, Pinterest, and Dannon. Allison says all but one of the agency’s 25 biggest clients carried over in 2016; the firm lost work with app Viber.
"In hindsight, 2016 was a pivotal year, but just not the year you saw immediate returns on investment," he adds.
Revenue in Asia grew more than 50% from 2015, with Singapore becoming the top performer in terms of revenue. The U.S. grew 6.6%, but the U.K. was down 8%. The rapid growth in Asia has given the firm a chance to work with large global brands, such as PepsiCo, UL, and iRobot, notes Allison.
Despite the headwinds, the firm opened six international offices, building on its expansion from 2015. New locations included Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, Berlin, Munich, and Sydney.
The new office in Tokyo and the two in Germany were the result of the acquisitions of Focused Communications and Higher Ground Communications, respectively.
"Our strategic plan was building a midsize global firm," Allison adds. "We strategically mapped out that Asia and Europe were going to be a big part of our growth strategy."
Allison+Partners expanded its internal creative division All Told, which launched in 2015, into Asia last year and hired Text100’s Paul Mottram to lead the region. The Bangkok office brought on more video staff, animators, illustrators, and producers to support All Told in Asia.
The firm also boosted All Told on the U.S. side with the acquisition of video production company Bloom Studios in San Francisco. Much of the division’s growth is from existing clients using the creative shop. It created videos and websites for clients Toyota and Dignity Health, Allison adds.
"[All Told has] been a big growth area for us," Allison says. "It is well ahead of where we thought it would be from projections."