Global Creative and Media New Business Landscape Relatively Muted in 2023

The US invests in creative, while Asia looks to media according to the latest insights from R3.

According to R3,  Global Creative and Media new business landscape for 2023 proved to be relatively muted despite marque accounts like Pfizer, Uber, and Kimberly-Clark being put under review.

While the number of total accounts awarded decreased by 2.9% year-on-year overall value increased by 5.3%, with Publicis Groupe leading the New Business League holding group rankings for 2023, with its win of Pfizer pushing it past WPP; its closest competitor for the last eight years.

R3 said that the value of Creative accounts globally rose in 2023 by 8.4% across a 13.7% decrease on volume. Holding companies accounted for most of the wins led by Publicis Groupe, WPP, and Interpublic Group leading in that order.


Three independent agencies (Wieden+Kennedy, M&C Saatchi Group, and Mother) rounded the top 20 Creative New Business League.

Media contributed less to revenue, with 17.1% more accounts awarded on a value that increased only 0.4% on the previous year with Publicis Media, OMD, and Zenith leading in Media volume, and Publicis Groupe, Omnicom, and WPP taking the top three places for Media in the holding company rankings.

“China and Asia-Pacific are two examples where media revenue is strong, and less investment finds its way to creative partnerships.”

US Invests in Creative, While Asia Looks to Media

According to R3 findings, the global trend of higher-value Creative accounts most relevant in the US (+28.9%). In Europe, Asia Pacific, and China, Creative new business recovery was slow with companies putting fewer accounts into review and allocating smaller budgets.


R3 added that the inverse can be said for Media, with the US registering a 187% increase in the number of media reviews at a 14.5% decrease in overall value.

China’s Media landscape remained strong with fewer accounts competing for 38% more Media revenue.

“It’s becoming clearer where marketers prioritize Creative and Media,” said Greg Paull, Principal & Co-founder at R3.

“In the US and Europe, there’s growing interest in the impact of creative effectiveness on overall business growth and cultural relevance; placing a premium on impactful and innovative creative work.”

“In regions where connected platforms are more critical to customer engagement and conversion, media is more important. Particularly with partners that can offer CRM and data solutions. China and Asia-Pacific are two examples where media revenue is strong, and less investment finds its way to creative partnerships.”

Looking ahead to 2024

R3 provided the following insight for the coming year

  • A New Leaderboard: Network consolidation in 2023 will change the new business landscape going forward. Titans – whoever is the biggest or with the most integrated offerings – are likely to dominate the top 3 rankings, with overall year-to-date revenue significantly dropping after the top 10.
  • Account Values Being Disrupted by Gen AI: Marketers are already working hard to understand the implications of Generative AI on account resource and fees. “The affect will be incremental and hugely dependent on how quickly we can establish a benchmark for the industry,” says Paull. “Once marketers get visibility on its impact, we’ll start seeing changes in scopes of work and value.”
  • Relationships Trump Size & Tech: The time-tested KPI of good relationship management will determine the longevity of partnerships. “Empires are not sustained by words, but by action,” says Paull. “The most advance platforms and the greatest diversity in capability won’t be able to salve poor account management. The aim of any agency should be to prevent their clients from falling out of love with them. This is the secret power of independents.”

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