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Re-alignments, mergers and client conflicts have forced the UK ad industry to acknowledge its lowly rank in the global pecking order, Stefano Hatfield writes
Just in case we hadn't got the message, 1998 was the year when we belatedly understood what a small cog in the global machine the UK's domestic advertising industry actually is.
Perhaps the most telling/depressing (delete, according to your perspective) single event was BMP DDB's loss of its hugely successful and widely liked Walkers account as part of an international realignment within Omnicom agencies into BBDO.
There was little more the incumbent could have achieved, given that it had turned Walkers into the second-largest food brand in the UK, using its celebrity spokesman, Gary Lineker, with wit and flair. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has continued with the Lineker campaign (well, you would, wouldn't you?), which only begs the question, why move?
Of course, we all know the answer. International re-alignments at the client end -- and international mergers both among client companies and advertising agencies -- now constitute the most significant single factor in deciding the make-up of our annual billings tables.
The most obvious impact it's had on this year's tables is the arrival of the post-merger TBWA GGT Simons Palmer at number seven …