In a year in which two well-known advertising agencies closed their doors, survival in the sector has become a key issue — no more so than for DDB SA. Two years ago the agency, under the stewardship of CEO Emmet O’Hanlon, was flying high, with prestige accounts that included FNB, McDonald’s and Telkom, and a staff complement of more than 100. Then the bottom fell out as FNB moved to FoxP2, McDonald’s moved to Owen Kessel Leo Burnett, and Telkom — in a controversial pitch that caused DDB to be sanctioned by the Association for Communication & Advertising — switched to a trio of specialist agencies, including WPP-owned Wunderman. Now, through dogged perseverance, O’Hanlon says his claw-back strategy is paying dividends. In a tough four-way pitch, DDB has won the digital business of African Bank, worth about R8m/year. The agency is also handling African Bank’s above-the-line advertising. Other accounts in the stable include some Unilever brands, Nigerian Breweries and Honda. Speaking f...

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