Can Carat restore its lustre?


As agencies looked to stabilise their upended operations after a year under extreme duress due to Covid, Dentsu’s lead media agency Carat managed to see out the worst of the storm in 2020, backed by a new group-level media CEO in Prerna Mehrotra (who is also responsible for other agencies including iProspect and Dentsu X).

While the network has been busy consolidating its agency brands worldwide, Carat refined its process overhaul that kicked off two years ago, avoided the incumbent’s curse by retaining the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) contract, and saw strong growth in markets such as China, Australia and Korea.

Despite these gains, other measures suggested an agency struggling for serious traction. While it rose from 10th in 2019 to third in 2020 in R3’s New Business League, it seemed to spend most of 2021 defending accounts and therefore slipped seven places in the table by the conclusion of 2021.

How did we grade Carat? Our full report with the overall grade—plus scores and a detailed analysis of the network’s business performance; innovation; DEI and sustainability efforts; creativity and effectiveness; and management—is available only to Campaign members.

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