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Stack of Books
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Report by Jim Heekin (below)
Chairman and chief executive officer
Grey Group and Grey
In 2009, Grey’s revitalization delivered on every key measure: new business success, growth from existing clients, improved profitability, a soaring creative reputation and the opening of a state-of-the art new world headquarters in New York. And we achieved this momentum in one of the worst economic downturns on record.
We adopted a new agency mission: “Grey Famously Effective Since 1917.” It leverages our heritage of producing communication that gets results, a 93-year track record of helping to build many of the world’s great brands, while acknowledging our creative ambition, our growing cachet for famous work that permeates popular culture and engages people.
The linkage between excellence in our offering and positive growth was undeniable in 2009. Grey delivered one of its best new business years ever. We were proud to win such new clients/brands as Allianz across the globe; the NFL, T.J. Maxx, Sargento Foods, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Reliant Energy, Bosch Purolator, Mayflower/United Van Lines, TruTV, TOTO USA in the US; Scotiabank, Translink, Four Seasons (digital) in Canada; Honda and Samsung in the UK; Panasonic and Yello Energy in Germany; ING and Mobitel in Asia Pacific; Alcosto in Columbia, La Preferida in Chile and Nestlé in Mexico.
The foundation of Grey is its enduring, dynamic partnerships with global clients. Many of our top clients grew in agency revenue, some by double-digits, and we were awarded more than 30 significant new brand assignments from Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Diageo, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Playtex and Coca-Cola.
Grey New York and Grey London made enormous strides on their trajectory to enhanced growth and success. Once again, the famous E*TRADE ‘Talking Baby’ TV campaign, guided by Tor Myhren, Grey New York’s chief creative officer, set new records for popularity and effectiveness in the SuperBowl, as did commercials for the NFL and TruTV. Together, they dominated social media, generating millions of dollars in free publicity and critical acclaim from Advertising Age, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times and sites ranging from YouTube to Hulu. World-class campaigns for Cover Girl, starring Ellen DeGeneres, Diageo and Canon achieved global awareness and record sales success.
Grey New York today is delivering multiplatform creative excellence and the world is taking notice. Grey worldwide and Grey New York were named to Advertising Age's prestigious A-List, comprising the best agencies in the business. Fast Company, the respected magazine devoted to the business of innovation, honored Grey New York as one of ‘The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies,’ the only advertising agency to be named to the list. And Creativity magazine, part of Advertising Age, chose Tor Myhren as one of its ‘Creative 50,’ those influential and inspiring leaders who have made the biggest impact across all areas of creative culture.
Grey London, led by David Patton, CEO, continued its resurgence winning one of the biggest pitches of 2009, the global Allianz account, among other high-profile additions. Campaign magazine gave the agency its best report card ever. Breakthrough work for Toshiba, Samsung, Women’s Aid and the British Heart Foundation have underscored its growing creative momentum.
We strengthened our global leadership in 2010 with the appointment of David Patton as president and CEO of Grey Group EMEA. Chris Hirst, managing director of Grey London, was promoted to CEO. Both have played pivotal roles in building the agency into one of the UK’s most dynamic. Riccardo Ferraris was appointed chairman of the Grey Latin America Leadership Council and CEO of Grey Brazil after a track record of success in Mexico. These promotions are part of our commitment to growing our best talent.
Tim Mellors, vice chairman of Grey Group and worldwide chief creative director, who leads our Worldwide Creative Council, made significant strides in elevating our creative performance and award recognition. Last year, Grey doubled its Cannes Festival showing, winning 18 Lions. The agency also had its best showing ever at the London International Awards, Clios, One Show and D&AD.
Grey’s P&G CoverGirl campaign, starring Queen Latifah, won the Grand Prix as the most effective magazine ad of 2009, ranking first on an Affinity Vista index of ad recall, brand association and actions taken among 30,000 ads. Our ads for P&G’s Pantene and Allergan’s Latisse took the top rank in their categories.
Among the hundreds of pro bono campaigns Grey contributes to its communities around the world, one deserves special mention. Grey New York has created several national public service efforts for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the Ad Council, to raise awareness and action to address mental health problems among young adults in the African-American community. We were pleased to receive the HHS Voice Award in 2009.
Wing, our multicultural communications agency, was named ‘Best Hispanic New York Marketing Firm Using Social Media’ by Latinos in Social Media (LATISM), the largest organization of social media professionals of Hispanic origin.
Once again, Grey’s Eye on Asia proprietary trends study opened a window into the region’s psyche and provided our clients with actionable information on coping with the recession. This project, spearheaded by Nirvik Singh, chairman and CEO of Grey Group Asia Pacific, continues to showcase Grey’s thought leadership via millions of readers of the world’s media and has become a model for future global efforts.
Suresh Nair, director of global strategic planning, Grey Group, launched our Worldwide Planning Council. The council, building on Grey’s long tradition of pre-eminence in consumer insight, is refining our common strategic platform, tools and language to create communications that resonate across every channel.
Grey continues to rank among the top tier of global advertising agencies because of the reach and resources of our network in 96 countries. Our blue-chip client roster counts one-fifth of all Fortune 500 companies and our legacy of launching and sustaining leading brands continues to progress in today’s media landscape.
Today, we are producing some of the most leading-edge creative work across platforms, breaking new ground in brand experience and building relationships. Please go to www.grey.com to see our successful case histories across countries, cultures and the media spectrum.
We added to our digital marketing offering by recruiting renowned digital creative leaders and expanding our digital centers of excellence in Latin America and Asia Pacific. Importantly, we have strengthened our synergy with G2. We are delivering a seamless, integrated offering that unites the creative expertise of Grey with the activation marketing expertise of G2. This powerful competitive advantage resulted in dozens of joint new business wins across the globe.
During the past three years, we have welcomed a tremendous infusion of world-class talent to our ranks in creative, planning, digital and management worldwide. To keep pace with the warp-speed change in communications, we have expanded our comprehensive leadership development and training programs and launched innovative internet learning and knowledge sharing programs.
In 2009, we turned challenge to opportunity and prospered in the face of tough economic conditions. We led the way and exceeded the expectations of our clients. As the world recovers, we expect Grey to set the pace and excel in 2010.
G2 (Activation Marketing)
Report by Joe Celia (below)
Chairman and chief executive officer, G2 Worldwide Vice chairman, Grey Group
In 2009 we experienced the toughest global economic environment that the world has seen since the Great Depression. With marketers under considerable pressure to reduce costs, we, in turn, felt that pressure as clients reduced budgets and asked agencies to do more for less.
Yet during this challenging period we experienced a positive side with many of our key clients reaffirming the strength of our relationships. The drive and commitment of the people who comprise the G2 organisations around the world was more apparent than ever. We made positive strides both in winning business and in raising our standing in the industry.
G2’s top 20 clients account for the lion’s share of our total global revenue. I’m happy to say that these critical client relationships remained strong even in the face of the recession. We were given incremental assignments from P&G and BAT around the world for a range of brands and expanded our relationship with Heineken both in LatAm and the US. Also in the US, we won new assignments from Adobe, Liberty Mutual, Boehringer Ingelheim, Time Warner, Allergan, Kraft and MARS. Additional work was awarded by Nokia to G2 Interactive in Spain; by Volkswagen in Germany, China and Spain; and by Coca-Cola to argonauten G2 in Germany. We take great pride in the fact that our clients value what we do and even in a tough economic environment are willing to invest their money in our expertise.
Despite the overall decline in pitches being held in 2009, we were fortunate to be able to add several new major brands to our portfolio. In the US, our promotional marketing group won a significant assignment from Waste Management and our digital team brought new client Electronic Arts (EA) Gaming on board. In EMEA, G2 UK won a major integrated marketing project for Nectar (loyalty cards) and G2 Amsterdam won an assignment from Unilever. In LatAm, Natura (Brazilian cosmetics company) tapped MDS–Brazil for a database and loyalty program. In APAC, G2 Japan won work from Glacéau vitaminwater and Cadbury; G2 China from Hallmark and G2 Vietnam added Bayer to its client roster.
In 2009, Advertising Age magazine published its 65th Annual Agency Report. G2 made a good showing, and moved up in all key rankings:
- Marketing Services Agency Networks – G2 retained its ranking among the Top 5 worldwide.
- Promotion and Event Marketing Agencies – G2 ranked No.6 worldwide.
- Digital Agencies – G2 moved into the Top 25 worldwide.
- Direct Marketing Agencies – G2 moved into the Top 15 worldwide.
In The Hub magazine, a US publication dedicated to retail and shopper marketing, G2 made a good showing in their Best of the Best Agencies report as one of the Top 10 shopper marketing agencies. In B to B magazine’s Direct Agency of the Year competition, G2 was first runner-up against the best direct agencies in the business. These rankings were the result of a combination of great work, new business wins and recognized talent.
For the third year, G2 partnered with The Economist to sponsor the Media Convergence Forum, an event dedicated to discussion and debate surrounding the rapidly changing media and marketing landscape. We gathered a unique group of thought leaders, including CMOs, media executives, marketing psychologists, technology experts, futurists and other communications professionals to peer into the future to consider the ideas, technologies and tactics that are changing our industry. As part of the event, G2 hosted a panel discussion on the challenges facing marketers bombarded with a plethora of new media alternatives, a subject well-suited to G2’s expertise. The panel included senior executives from Google, MySpace and Twitter.
Hiring, retaining and utilizing the best talent continues to be a priority for our organization. After five years as CEO, Grey Group Central & Eastern Europe, Pietro Leone joined our G2 global management team as chief operating officer, G2 EMEA. Pietro also joined G2’s Global Management Board alongside myself, Matthew Schetlick, Jonathan Dodd, Ken Levy, Nirvik Singh and John Paulson.
Jim Taylor, formerly of MEC, where he was the agency’s communications retail director and planning partner, joined G2 in the newly created role of global communications planning director. In Jim, we now have one of the world’s leading authorities on communications planning, an increasingly vital element of G2’s offer. In North America, Marty Laiks was promoted to director, strategy, in our Relationship Marketing group, driving the growth of this important area of the business.
In LatAm, G2’s Steve Stroud, who has led G2 Mexico very successfully since 2007 and was instrumental in our growth and success in that market, was promoted to president and CEO of Grey Group Mexico, overseeing both G2 and Grey in this market.
At G2, we believe that companies should bring more to the world than just their commercial offering. In 2009, G2 partnered with Save The Children to build a school in Mali, Africa. By the end of the year, the school was up and running and filled with young students. We are now working to build a well to provide fresh water for an entire village.
Looking ahead for 2010, I think we can be cautiously optimistic. The consensus seems to be that the worst of the recession is behind us in most parts of the world. While that would certainly be welcome news, there are still tough challenges to overcome.
In 2010 we will be focusing on driving home to clients and prospective clients the value that we bring to their business. We as marketers have developed great expertise in convincing consumers that our clients’ brands provide greater value than their competitors. That is how we make our living.
The agencies that succeed in the long run will be the ones that clients perceive offer greater value, not necessarily the ones with the lowest cost. They will equate value with positive impact on their business. Therefore, we will put increased focus on making G2 invaluable in the marketplace. We will do that via creativity, superior skill in our core disciplines, of Retail & Promotional Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Data & Analytics, and all things digital. That, coupled with our superior ability to bring multifaceted programs together will be our winning formula.
This year we will also be rolling out a new and exciting process and set of tools, proprietary to G2 and unique in the marketplace, which will become the underpinning for our positioning in the marketplace. This has been a tough time, but the future is looking bright, or at least brighter. We are getting stronger every year, and will continue to do so.