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Geometry Global

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Geometry Global was created in June 2013 from the merger of three promotional marketing networks within WPP: Ogilvy Action, Grey's G2 and JWT Action. The resulting giant is the world's biggest activation agency, offering a wide variety of services including sales promotion, shopper marketing and experiental, with operations in 56 markets and around 4,000 staff.

Clients

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Competitors

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Brands & Activities

Geometry offers a broad range of promotional marketing services such as shopper and trade marketing, experiential and digital marketing and retail design, and the group also has plenty of experience in digital and other CRM disciplines. All these disciplines are brought to bear to influence what the group calls consumers' "Purchase Decision Journey". In addition to the old Ogilvy Action and G2 networks it has also taken charge of JWT Action, the existing US joint venture between JWT and Ogilvy Action. The network operates independently within WPP, working with all the group's other units, although it is closely aligned with Ogilvy, not least because its HQ is located in the same building. It also works with various other agencies from within WPP, not least as a cornerstone to Team Unilever Shopper which handles all activation for that group's products in North America.

Geometry took home the Grand Prix for Product Design at Cannes Lions 2015 with the "Lucky Iron Fish" charitable project.

Advertising Age estimated global revenues for Geometry Global of $610m in 2014, including $190m in the US.

Background

The creation of Geometry is the latest stage in a long and complex restructuring of WPP's various promotional marketing operations. Several of these trace their roots back to 141 Worldwide, the sales promotion unit which joined WPP as part of its acquisition of Cordiant.

141 was first established in 1993 as a small London-based sales promotion shop, part of the Bates Dorland advertising agency at 141 Westbourne Terrace in London (still the European HQ for Ogilvy Action). Over the following years 141 gradually absorbed other below-the-line businesses within the portfolio, culminating in 1999 in a merger with Bates Communications and Bates Interactive. The latter combination proved deeply unpopular with staff, and led to a string of resignations of senior managers. In 2000, Communicator, then the sales promotion, sports marketing and event marketing businesses of Lighthouse Global Network, was also merged into 141 Worldwide, significantly enhancing its capabilities in the UK and US, but triggering another set of resignations resulting from management conflicts.

In Cordiant's wholesale restructuring in September 2002, 141 lost its independent status within the parent company and was merged into the enlarged Bates Group, along with healthcare agency Healthworld, design agency Fitch and interactive network CCG.XM, to form a single fully integrated offering. There was further upheaval as a result of WPP's acquisition of Cordiant in 2003, and the subsequent elimination of the Bates brand. In 2005, 141 acquired US field marketer K&L and British sales promotion outfit Tarantula International. A sports marketing unit was established in the US as a joint venture with UK-based PSM, under the name 141 Premiere. Bates' worldwide XM interactive network was also absorbed into 141. In 2006, the whole business was aligned with Ogilvy, and the 141 name began to be phased out during 2007 in favour of the Ogilvy Action banner. (Some offices of the old 141 Worldwide continued to operate under that name as part of Bates 141 Asia, although several of their biggest clients were transferred to the Ogilvy Action brand). The resulting business was headed up for the next few years by Rick Roth. He left in 2009 following the appointment of Miles Young as Ogilvy Group's new worldwide CEO.

The group steadily engulfed a string of other former standalone units within WPP. BEN Marketing became part of Ogilvy in 2006; Einson Freeman, a US promotional marketing agency with a distinguished heritage dating back to 1909, was absorbed into Ogilvy Action in 2007. JWT Action was established in 2011 as a joint venture with JWT's shopper marketing unit, formerly known as Malone advertising. The merger with Grey's sister network G2 was announced in Spring 2013.

G2 was then the integrated marketing services or "activation" network of Grey Global Group. In recent years the network had already slimmed down a little, with several smaller offices merged into the local outpost of the main Grey agency. It was originally formed in 2006 from the merger of a set of separate global businesses, including the Grey Direct, Grey Interactive and the G2 design agency networks, together with their numerous local subsidiaries and affiliates. Although these had all previously worked together under the loose umbrella banner of Grey Synchronized Partners, they each operated more or less autonomously, with their own reporting structure. Complicating matters further, the group had also housed a number of independently branded regional specialist agencies. In the UK, for example, Joshua was the name of the group's marketing services division, formed in 1998 from the merger of Grey Direct with sister shop Grey Integrated. The equivalent arm of Grey France operated as Grrrey! while Grey Brazil housed Grey Zest. Other units included retail sales promotion agency J Brown, Grey eMarketing and database marketer MarketData Solutions in the US.

Under the 2006 restructure, all of these disparate units around the globe were combined under a single reporting structure, headed by group chairman & CEO Joe Celia. Several regional units retained their old names alongside the G2 brand, including Joshua G2 in the UK (it relaunched with the Joshua tag in 2011 after a year as plain G2 London) and argonautenG2 in Germany. Grey has continued to strengthen its offering with additional acquisitions around the world. In 2007 it acquired US based web design agency Refinery, which was merged into G2 Interactive. Following the 2012 merger with Ogilvy Action, all local offices of G2 adopted the uniform Geometry brand.

Last full revision 6th April 2016

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