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the showcase 2023

A New Shot Of Confidence: FCB London's 2023

From new global business win to an agency rebrand, 2023 has been a shot in the arm for CEO Katy Wright and her team

By creative salon

A rebrand reveal this year - from FCB Inferno to FCB London. A huge global win when Volkswagen-owned Škoda appointed the agency as its global creative lead agency partner following a four-way pitch earlier this year. There's been some real fire in the furnace at the agency in 2023 - first ignited when Katy Wright was promoted to CEO in late 2022, joining CCO Owen Lee and CSO Ben Jaffé.

We caught up with Wright to explore the agency's 2023.

Katy Wright, CEO at FCB London, on the agency's 2023

What 3 words would you used to describe 2023?

Relentless. Transformative. Fleeting.

Talk us through some of your agency’s highlights this year?

Winning Skoda.

Opening an office in Prague.

Hiring new talent.

What one thing are you proudest of this year?

Growing in a shrinking market.

And what’s been your biggest challenge?

Hiring more diverse staff.

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

Bouncing off the springboard we created in 2023.

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

Bringing the fun back to the work, the office and the industry.

Creative Salon on FCB London's 2023

In May, FCB Inferno rebranded its London office to FCB London - weeks after Škoda appointed the agency as its global creative agency. The name change marked 150 years of its parent company FCB, owned by IPG since 2001, and cemented FCB London’s role as the EMEA hub for the network’s global clients.

The name change was also a nod to the quietly confident London leadership team - Wright, Lee and Jaffé - that has been busy recharging the business. The launch of its creative data and CRM practice, FCB/Six in the UK last year is proving to be a powerful play in terms of business growth and creative impact.

This year, the agency's work for This Girl Can, Sport England’s award-winning campaign to help women get active, turned its attention to tackling the exercise Enjoyment Gap. The powerful new campaign was based on extensive consultation and research with women from communities across the country and identified four action areas that can help dismantle the barriers faced by women and close the enjoyment gap: activities for women must be social, suitable, self-affirming, and safe.

From winning the Titanium for at Cannes last year for 'Dyslexic thinking' to scooping a Grand Prix for eCommerce with The Big Issue ‘Raising profiles’ work the year before, Owen Lee and his team at the agency have been showcasing their creative chops. This year FCB London's ambition for creative renewal was realised when it scooped a D&AD pencil for its work on Kleenex.

The 'Save the Sleeve’ campaign for Kleenex Balsam tissues was based on insights that showed that although we all find tissues useful, we tend to reach for substitutes in the most crucial moments. In its own right the campaign became a movement to save the sleeve, your trousers, scarf, hair, or whatever else people might be inclined to use to wipe their nose.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin, and global charity, Made By Dyslexia, once again joined forces to launch a new campaign, DyslexAI, as they call upon every workplace across the world to commit to empowering Dyslexic Thinking in the workplace. FCB London shows AI being asked to think like famous Dyslexic Thinkers to try to recreate some of their most incredible accomplishments.

The campaign built on the success of the 2022 campaign which saw Richard Branson and Made By Dyslexia collaborate with Global partners to recognise Dyslexic Thinking, adding it as an official drop- down skill on the LinkedIn business platform, and an official term on Dictionary.com. Over 10,000 individuals added the skill to their profile within a week of launch, which continues to grow daily, and received the Titanium Lion at Cannes for ‘Game-changing creativity’.

This slightly quirky campaign for Intuit QuickBooks brought the UK’s number crunchers into the spotlight. ‘For the Hero behind the Heroes’ shows warrior Queen Boudica talking to her accountant about sharpening her acquisitions strategy, the Three Bears getting their payroll just right, Hercules strengthening his personal training business, and Sleeping Beauty relaxing during tax season.

The agency, meanwhile, continued to advance and nurture talent from within. It recently promoted Laura Pirkis to head of strategy, reporting to Ben Jaffé. Pirkis had been deputy head of strategy since 2020, working as strategic lead on FCB’s government portfolio, Sport England and Kimberly Clark. The agency also appointed Jack Walker as head of art to oversee the design team alongside FCB Inferno’s design director, Becci Salmon, and reporting to Owen Lee. Walker began his career at FCB and moved to Who Wot Why before building his freelance career.

Creative Salon Says: There should be no stopping this agency going into 2024. Wright continues to excite and energise - both the agency and the industry. And teamed with Lee and Jaffé, they will together create a culture that that will match energy with experience. The agency should look back on 2023 with immense pride, and we cannot wait to see what the year ahead brings.


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