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Grey (Advertising)

Report by Jim Heekin

Chairman and chief executive officer
Grey Group

“The New Grey' you say? Look no further than the 2008 Superbowl game broadcast. Grey New York's “talking baby' TV commercials for new client E*Trade were the highest rated (Advertising Age), most watched (TIVO survey), most popular ( poll), triggering an avalanche of free publicity, new customers and pop culture stardom across the internet.

In 2006, Grey recommitted itself to creative excellence. In 2007, we made good on that pledge by undertaking the most sweeping recruitment of top talent ever. More than 20 new creative directors were appointed worldwide and new management teams were named in the US, UK, France, Italy, Spain, China, India, Brazil and other markets.

The re-engineering of Grey New York and Grey London ranks among the most comprehensive transformations of large flagship headquarters. Steve Hardwick of Strawberry Frog became president, Grey New York and partnered with Tor Myhren as chief creative officer, a talent from Leo Burnett. They were joined by new directors of Content Development, Account Management, Context Planning and Marketing as well as a new president of Alliance, our branded entertainment company. David Patton of Sony became CEO of Grey UK and built the top-flight team of Jon Williams as chief creative officer and Neil Hourston as chief strategy officer.

Tim Mellors, vice chairman of Grey Group and chief creative officer, focused on elevating our creative performance across the network. We continued to win more and more prestigious creative awards: Cannes (11), Clio (5), London International Awards (5), One Show (3), D&AD (3) as well as Addys and Effies in many markets. Notably, Grey EMEA became the first agency to win the Euro Effies Agency of the Year honor for the third consecutive time and was a big winner at the Eurobest and Epica Awards. Globally, we doubled our award performance in the past two years.

Increasingly our awards are coming not just from North America and Europe but from Asia Pacific and Latin America, demonstrating a growing depth and breadth of creative strength.

Grey today is producing some of the most leading-edge creative work across platforms, breaking new ground in brand experience and building relationships as exemplified by:

  • Billboard magazine called our multi-channel branding campaign for Procter & Gamble's Cover Girl, “the hottest branding deal of the year.' A print, TV and internet advertising campaign launched the first new single of Rihanna's new album, which has topped the music charts.
  • The total Tanqueray brand experience we designed for Diageo has solidified its category leadership. Tony Sinclair, the off-beat hipster, has connected with young adults in TV, print, the web, special events, out-of-home, point of sale and branded content from music CDs to mini-movies.

Grey's strength has always been the longevity and dynamism of its partnerships with global clients. The agency's vitality was represented in the new assignments we received from Procter & Gamble, Diageo, Wyeth, Ocean Spray, Volkswagen, Boehringer Ingelheim, 3M and AXA Insurance.

We were proud to win such clients/brands as E*Trade Financial (North America), Fortis (global), Toshiba (pan-European) as well as Eli Lilly's Evista and Strattera drugs, GlaxoSmithKline's Breathe Right line, Terlato Wines, Goya Foods and Playtex's Hawaiian Tropic line in the US and Glentel in Canada.

New management, new talent, a new agency platform, creative and integrated marketing successes have signalled that our company is on the move. At the end of our 90th year, a new Grey has emerged to compete and win in the digital age with ideas that accelerate our clients' brand potential.