the showcase 2023

Louder and Prouder: AMV BBDO's 2023

A busy year for AMV BBDO ... but also a hugely successful one

By creative salon

AMV BBDO’s 2023 was filled with big accounts wins, big people hires and big campaigns. Outgoing-CEO Sam Hawkey bolstered and established a strong leadership team and the raft of work produced across the year - ranging from singing pints of Guinness to allergy-prone pet owners - exemplified the shop’s creative excellence.

We caught up with managing director Carmen Vasile to explore the agency’s year.

Carmen Vasile, managing director at AMV BBDO, on the agency's 2023

What three words would you use to describe 2023?

Ambition. Togetherness. Success.

Talk us through some of your agency’s highlights

We were busier, louder, and prouder of what our team has achieved together, and we are looking forward to having more of that in the new year. Our strategic focus on new business has yielded remarkable results, propelling our outstanding new business conversion rate. This feat is emblematic of our team's prowess in navigating the ever-changing landscape of the industry. Among some stellar victories is Vodafone's Gen Z brand VOXI and Luxottica's new ground-breaking Ray-Ban Meta. The magnitude of our success was further underscored when Mark Zuckerberg himself presented the launch work for Ray-Ban Meta at his annual conference—an accolade that resonates with the calibre of our creative prowess. In addition to these important wins, we won Lay's business in Europe, RSPCA and four other accounts that are still confidential.

But our journey doesn't stop at business wins alone. We helped Guinness become the UK’s no.1 beer brand in the on-trade for the first time ever in 2023 and captured the hearts of Ireland Rugby fans with a viral campaign even though the brand was not a World Cup sponsor.

To demonstrate the wonder of human creativity we partnered with someone who isn’t and took over the London Design Museum and the Chelsea Factory in NY with the Bombay Sapphire “Saw This, Made This”, bringing together the world’s first robot artist and film director Baz Luhrmann and putting the brand at the heart of an art exhibition.

We launched a campaign starring two brains having fun on social media on our first work for VOXI and built Halloween billboards in London for Meta Quest 3 that people could actually step into and experience the worlds of Ghostbusters and The Walking Dead available in the new headset. We also created work that’s empathetic and spoke with the nation for Smart Energy GB, Maltesers, and Royal Mail.

We helped athletes to feel more confident to push limits and try something new by offering them Rexona protective billboards that they could safely fall into. We also helped Sheba show how far pet parents can go to demonstrate their love of cats, even if it means allergy outbreaks for devoted loving owners.

We are also incredibly happy to be approaching the tenth anniversary of working with both Essity and Currys and are looking forward to the next ten years as we keep launching work that we’re incredibly proud of. Tena #NoLoveLikeIt beautifully shone a light on the different experiences of caregiving to encourage greater support for those looking after loved ones, while Currys’ Beyond Techspectations took humour to the next level to showcase how the brand and its experts consistently go the extra mile to deliver the best expertise and tech knowledge to their customers.

As we increase our capabilities, we’ve launched AMVxGreen, our new sustainability creative consultancy, which stands as a testament of our belief that we can change the world through the work we do. Our talented and multidisciplinary team is equipped to respond to diverse briefs, supporting companies and brands wherever they are on their sustainability journey. The effort was already rewarded with a Gold at Ad Net Zero Awards with the Cash For Trash campaign for Currys. We’ve also launched Red Studios, a cutting-edge content and production division in collaboration with our sister company Redwood BBDO, where we bring together the world's most awarded creative agency with the UK's largest content studio as we keep pushing the boundaries of creativity and effectiveness for our clients.

In 2023, we won a total of 36 awards, including:

  • 13 gold wins from 7 brands at 7 award shows (2 Gold Lions, 1 D&AD Yellow Pencil)

  • 13 silver wins from 5 brands at 9 award shows (5 Silver Lions, 1 D&AD Graphite Pencil)

  • 10 bronze wins from 5 brands at 8 shows (2 D&AD Wood Pencils)

We’ve also been named one of the Best & Bravest agencies on the planet for the third consecutive year (2021, 2022 & 2023) by Contagious Pioneers.

As we reflect on this extraordinary year, the pages of AMV’s success story continue to unfold, driven by the indomitable spirit, creativity, and dedication of our incredibly talented team.

What one thing are you proudest of for 2023?

We’re proud of how our team came together in different moments throughout the year. We always say that what makes AMV successful is all our people. It’s never been and will never be about one person, it’s about the collective of talents. The wins, the insane body of work, all the accolades are the result of all the brilliance and the passion of people at AMV.

And what’s been your biggest challenge?

In a landscape of long-lasting uncertainty, growing pressures and short-term strategies, the delicate dance between being constantly pitching and giving people the time they need to create great work was certainly the biggest challenge.

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

Seeing all the brilliant ideas in our Wall live in the world.

And what one change would you most like to see in our industry next year?

More sustainable pitching practices to allow for more great work to shine.

Creative Salon on AMV BBDO’s 2023

In 2023 AMV BBDO strengthened its offerings across the board by hiring fresh talent at leadership level. The appointment of Martin Weigel to the position of chief strategy officer bolstered the agency’s planning department while the hiring of Robyn D’Arcy as head of data boosted the agency’s data offering. In the creative department, Laura Rogers was also selected to be the shop’s newest executive creative director, strengthening the creative leadership spearheaded by chief creative officers Nicholas Hulley and Nadja Lossgott.

The agency also partnered with Redwood BBDO to launch a new content and production division named Red Studios, bringing together the creative agency’s offerings and the UK’s largest content studio. “Creating this new capability within the agency gives us the chance to leap forward in what we can bring to clients in the future,” CEO Sam Hawkey said.

It also seems that investment in people has paid off as AMV’s 2023 was rich with exciting, innovative and effective campaigns - not to mention humorous. Work for Guinness, Currys, Maltesers and Sheba brought smiles to consumers across the UK. AMV marked St Patrick’s Day with pints of singing Guinness holding out for a ‘0.0’ - the brewer’s latest no-alcohol offering.

Later in the year, the creative shop and Guinness also responded to Ireland being hailed as favourites to win the Rugby World Cup by exploring the superstitions held by Irish rugby fans.

A plethora of campaigns for tech retailer Currys also used humour to cut through, with spots featuring old appliances taking matters into their own hands and Currys staff members going the extra mile for customers - literally eating up all the knowledge they could to help.

The agency also built on the Maltesers brand platform and honest tone of voice to shine a light on mothers in its ‘Motherlover’ campaign. The work responded to the insight that 55 per cent of mums in the UK say they need more help from employers and colleagues to be the working mum they want to be.

The ‘You’ll Do Anything For A Kitten’ campaign for Sheba also revealed a funny take on the fact that pet owners will even tolerate allergic reactions to ensure their feline friends feel the love. “This insight confirms that people will do anything for their kitten – including enduring sneezing, itching, and swelling,” creative partners Polina Zabrodskaya and Andre Sallowicz said at the time.

As well as humour, AMV BBDO developed some powerful campaigns to spotlight the products and services of Ford, Bombay Sapphire, Smart Energy GB, the Royal Mail and Tena. For Ford, the agency created a pan-European campaign for the 2023 Ranger pickup truck and also celebrated the first woman to drive around the world - Aloha Wanderwell - all in a Ford Model T.

AMV and Bombay Sapphire also partnered with world-renowned film director Baz Luhrmann to unveil the ‘Saw This, Made This’ campaign which celebrated creativity. Luhrmann himself said: “I want to encourage people everywhere to think about how they can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary and share this inspiration to make the world a more creatively nurturing place.”

The Smart Energy GB campaigns also witnessed the continuation of the Albert Einstein Smart Meter platform, the latest spot of which included Dragons' Den investor Deborah Meaden.

For the Royal Mail, the creative shop encouraged UK consumers to send their parcels greener with its ‘Footprints’ campaign which used £250,000 worth of media value that Royal Mail won from the Sky Zero Footprint Fund in 2022. AMV also shone a light on its hardworking posties in a Christmas spot that also marked the first major new campaign featuring the end line 'In Good Hands'.

Most notably, AMV BBDO collaborated with oscar-nominated writer and Sound of Metal director Darius Marder for the ‘#NoLoveLikeIt’ campaign for Tena. Through an intimate, honest look into what caring for a loved one is really like, the campaign highlighted how caregiving situations can be simultaneously rewarding and challenging.

With the agency’s diverse and innovative campaigns to one side, 2023 was also a year of impressive wins for AMV BBDO. One of the most interesting wins was the Ray-Ban Meta brief, but there were many more. In February, Vodafone youth brand VOXI appointed the shop as its new strategic and creative lead agency. Months later, the agency unveiled the brand’s 'The Fun Never Ends' campaign, promoting its unlimited social media proposition.

In August, the RSPCA selected AMV as its creative agency and in November the creative business rounded off an impressive year by being appointed to the Lay’s Europe account.

With regards to awards, the agency won two Gold Lions and five Silver Lions at Cannes and four D&AD Pencils (one Yellow, one Graphite and two Wood). The launch of the shop's sustainability creative consultancy, AMVxGreen, which aims to support brands on their sustainability journey, also involved an award in the shape of a Gold at the Ad Net Zero Awards.

Creative Salon says: 2023 was a very solid year for AMV, with the campaigns, new business, awards, senior hires and innovations to prove that the agency is properly back on track and thriving. CEO Sam Hawkey, CCOs Nicholas Hulley and Nadja Lossgott and the newly appointed CSO Martin Weigel can be rightly proud of the year they had.

With Hawkey set to move on in 2024 (to run Digitas in Europe), the agency is well set to weather a transition in leadership; Hawkey leaves behind a reinvigorated team and a future-fit agency positioning. It’s going to be an exciting year for AMV.


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