This article was originally published by More About Advertising.

One of the more diverting aspects of choosing our Agencies of the Year in 2018 is wondering if the contenders will still be around next year (one of them certainly won’t be.)

So let’s crack on with it.

This year we’re choosing a UK Agency of the Year, a US Agency of the Year, a Media Agency for the first time in a while, a Network and an International Agency of the Year.

Let’s start with Media Agency.

Emma Hall writes:

Media agencies are more subject than most to the slings and arrows of global alignments, so it can be hard to keep track of who’s really leading the pack, but OMD UK has come out on top in the UK this year.

If new billings are the measure, OMD is winning: the agency won Lidl’s £70m media planning account as well as Barclays, Betway, Tourism Ireland, Activision, Daimler, and Marella. It also piched for and retained its Levi’s account, and claims £238m in new billings.

If creativity is the measure – which it isn’t often enough in media – then OMD has shown what a difference it can make to an agency, and its client relationships, particularly at a time when the industry is so commoditised.

To celebrate 50 years of McDonald’s, OMD dared to turn the outside of Waterloo’s Imax cinema into a giant Big Mac. For the launch of The Handmaid’s Tale season 2, the agency (with the always excellent 4Creative and Talon Outdoor) provided some stunning reminders of the horrors of Gilead: outdoor executions told female commuters that their place is in the home, and print reminded them they are not allowed to read.

The partnership with Lidl is already showing confidence through its campaign “sabotaging” upmarket rivals’ posters at Christmas.

CEO Dan Clays has done a great job of picking up the pieces after a dismal 2017 in which the agency lost Boots Walgreen, PSA, and Carlsberg, as well as some key staff. He made some smart internal promotions and created a leadership team (65 per cent female) that has quickly gelled into a powerful force.

OMD UK’s 2018 got a big boost when McDonald’s decided to call off its media pitch, leaving the agency mercifully unscathed by the vagaries of global media activity, for once.

As Clays told MAA: “It’s been an amazing year, I don’t really want it to end.” Not many business leaders can say that about 2018.

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