Advertising firm DDFH&B sees revenue fall by a third after losing clients

Dublin creative agency ‘disappointed’ by loss ahead of restructuring and rebrand

An image from the National Lottery’s 2014 ad  ‘The Guru’ by creative agency DDFH&B, which lost the account to rival Rothco in 2017.

An image from the National Lottery’s 2014 ad ‘The Guru’ by creative agency DDFH&B, which lost the account to rival Rothco in 2017.

 

Dublin advertising company DDFH&B slipped into a loss in 2017, its last financial year before a merger of its creative agency with sister company Target McConnells and their subsequent rebranding as JWT Folk.

Accounts filed at the Companies Office for DDFH&B Limited show the company recorded a net loss of almost €1.5 million in 2017, compared to a profit of €277,612 the previous year.

The company was co-founded in 1983 by Jim Donnelly, who retains a controlling stake.

While it survived the sharp declines suffered by the Irish advertising sector during the recession, DDFH&B ended 2017 on a negative note after it lost key accounts with Eir and the National Lottery to rival Rothco.

In a report accompanying the accounts, the directors of DDFH&B Limited said they were “disappointed with the group’s performance” in 2017.

“The company lost major customers during the year which significantly impacted revenue and profit,” the report states.

However, “a modest profit” is expected in 2018, as a result of its restructuring and cost-cutting, which included a change of premises as well as the merger and rebrand.

Former DDFH&B chief executive Miriam Hughes resigned as a director of the company earlier this year, while the average number of employees fell to 107 in 2017, down from 119 the previous year. In 2017, it incurred redundancy costs of €853,245.

Revenue decline

DDFH&B’s turnover fell by a third to about €17.2 million in 2017, the accounts show. This breaks down into €9.6 million from fee and media income and €7.6 million from production billing. Both forms of revenue were lower than they were in the previous year, when its total turnover had been almost €26 million.

Since the completion of the merger of DDFH&B’s creative advertising business with Target McConnells earlier this year, the rebranded JWT Folk has been led by chief executive Abi Moran, who came from the Target McConnells side. J Walter Thompson, a company owned by advertising giant WPP, has a minority interest.

The client list for the agency, which employs about 80 people, includes Diageo, An Post, Vodafone, Brennan’s Bread, Littlewoods Ireland, Irish Life, Liberty Insurance, Circle K, Lucozade, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and SafeFood.