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Craik Jones named top direct agency by Campaign

LONDON – Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel has been named Campaign magazine's direct agency of the year for 2003 for the second time in three years.

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The agency picked up the award because "in a tough year, it hit all its targets while turning out classy and effective creative work", according to the magazine.

It began the year by winning the £20m NatWest DM account from TBWA\GGT without a pitch. And, although it suffered a setback when it lost the creative team of Simon Kershaw and Phil Keevil, it swiftly replaced them with Mark Buckingham, David Brown, Rebecca Rae and Leigh Roberts as joint heads of the department.

The agency's ability to retain its creative flair in the face of a changing creative line-up was singled out for praise and its performance at last year's DMA awards, where it picked up a Grand Prix, contributed.

In the recent DMA Awards, held last week, the agency scooped Gold awards for its work on Orange, Land Rover and Lever Faberge.

The agency's creative highlights of the year were said to include "classy acquisition work for First Direct, cute and effective mailing campaigns for Virgin Trains and some impressive creative for the agency's flagship Rover account".

Archibald Ingall Stretton narrowly missed out on the award, taking the runner-up spot after a successful-new business year, which was consolidated with the £24m O2 account win.

AIS has hired creative team Chris Lapham and Debs James from Rapier and the car specialist account director Alistair Bryan from Craik Jones.

The agency of the year award went to Harrison Troughton Wunderman last year and Craik Jones won it in 2001.

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