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GGH MullenLowe (Germany)

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The Lowe & Partners advertising network re-established a directly controlled presence in Germany in 2014 after an eight year absence. Previously, between 2007 and 2011 Lowe Deutschland was controlled and managed by independent local group Scholz & Friends, primarily handling selected Unilever accounts under license. The Lowe network had originally a much larger direct presence in Germany, but scaled this down dramatically in early 2007, following its decision to reduce its global network. The Scholz arrangement was terminated in 2011 following that group's acquisition by WPP. In summer 2014, Lowe returned to Germany with the acquisition of independent Grimm Gallun Holtappels, now GGH MullenLowe.

Clients

Click here for a GGH MullenLowe Germany client listing from Adbrands Account Assignments

Competitors

See ranking of Leading Agencies in Germany

Lowe first established a presence in Germany in 1983 with the purchase of the local office of the fledgling Marchalk Campbell Ewald network in Europe. The business was greatly strengthened in 1986 when Lowe recruited leading German creative director Walter Luerzer to become a partner. (Luerzer had made his name at Luerzer Conrad, the German agency subsequently acquired by Leo Burnett, becoming Michael Conrad & Leo Burnett). Lowe Marschalk Germany was renamed Lowe Luerzer. That business prospered, spinning out subsidiary agencies in Frankfurt and Duesseldorf, and was later responsible for making the first ad to run on newly commercialized East German television in 1990.

In 1998, Interpublic announced plans to merge Lowe globally with its sister network, Ammirati Puris Lintas. This created a number of problems in Germany where the Lintas name carried a significant amount of baggage. Originally the inhouse marketing department if Unilever, the Lintas agency had dominated the German advertising industry since the 1970s, consistently ranked as the country's biggest agency, before a steady decline through the 1980s and 1990s. This created a significant problem for Lowe client Henkel, also Unilever's arch-rival in Germany. Henkel was unhappy about having any connection with the Lintas brand, and its decision to move its Persil account away led to the closure of Lowe's Duesseldorf office. The three account directors who had worked at Lowe on the Persil account established their own agency under the Brand Lounge brand, with partial financial backing from Lowe. Shortly afterwards they persuaded another Lowe client, Coca-Cola, to shift business for its secondary brands to them. Lowe struggled on for several years, becoming almost wholly reliant on Unilever business. Eventually, Interpublic took the decision to close the office to reduce costs.

Although the new Scholz-run Lowe agency was launched with a fanfare, it actually did little more than service a handful of Unilever accounts. By 2010, most creative work originated outside Germany at other Lowe offices, with the local outpost merely adapting it for domestic use. The acquisition of Scholz by WPP made any further cooperation impossible and the Lowe brand was terminated in Germany.

By this time, Hamburg independent Grimm Gallun Holtappels had begun to develop a growing reputation as one of the country's more interesting creative boutiques. The agency was originally established by Nils Gallun and Benedikt Holtappels in 2003, but got a considerable lift from the arrival two years later of Florian Grimm, one of several top executives then jumping ship from fast-fading creative powerhouse Springer & Jacoby. The relationship with Lowe commenced in 2013 when the Interpublic-owned network began looking for a local partner to pitch for the Seat Auto account.

In 2016, GGH Lowe teamed up with IPG-owned PR network Golin to open a German office of that network as a joint venture. It also opened a second office for the main advertising agency, this time in Frankfurt.

Benedikt Holtappels remains CEO of GGH MullenLowe; co-founder Nils Gallun stepped down as chief creative officer in 2016; his role was absorbed by Florian Grimm, but he too departed the agency in 2018.

Last full revision 18th July 2016

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