S4 Capital posted a 53% gain in total revenue in the third quarter to £86.4 million ($115 million) with a 13% hike in organic revenue, which strips out the impact of M&A and currency fluctuations.
The company also disclosed winning two “whopper” accounts, as S4 leader Martin Sorrell likes to call them, which he describes as accounts worth $20 million or more in annual revenues.
Those accounts included a BMW win that consolidated much of the automaker’s marketing account in Europe, handled by a bespoke agency called The Engine and led by S4’s MediaMonks.
The other big win was T-Mobile’s in-house digital media account, which will be managed by Mightyhive, S4’s programmatic media agency. And another “whopper” is “in sight” the company said.
While the major holding companies said during their third-quarter briefing calls that the fourth quarter was too uncertain to provide much of an outlook, S4 said its fourth quarter was on track to deliver “strong double-digit” revenue and profit results — in part because of the newly won BMW and T-Mobile accounts.
Through the first three quarters of the year, revenue is up 58% to £228 million ($302.4 million) with a 9% jump in organic revenue.
Company staff is also growing along with revenue.
Total headcount at the end of the third quarter was 2,870, up 26% on a “like for like” basis versus a year ago. On a call with analysts, Sorrell said 300 people were being hired for the BMW account alone. The company also won business from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Hasbro, Fidelity, Whirlpool, Shopify and others.
Sorrell said the company was “well positioned in the digital sweet spot of an otherwise stagnant advertising and marketing industry.” The pandemic, he added, has served as an “accelerator for search, social and ecommerce.” The company’s big wins “signal that we are achieving client conversion at scale … Our mantra of ‘faster, better, cheaper,” and single P&L model “are clearly resonating with clients and differentiating our offer.”
The company also said that next year looks to be as strong a recovery year as 2010, after the Great Recession of 2008-'09 and that it expects to double in size organically from 2021 through 2023.