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McGarryBowen London (UK)

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Dentsu London relaunched in 2012 as the UK office of highflying US agency McGarryBowen, now the most successful arm of Japanese giant Dentsu's international creative business. That marks the latest, and probably the final stage in a long and often bumpy journey for what was originally Collett Dickenson Pearce. Even under its new name the current agency bears little resemblance to that trailblazer of London 1960s advertising industry. Famed as London's most creative and prestigious agency for most of two decades, CDP subsequently suffered a number of setbacks, leading eventually to its acquisition by Dentsu. In 2001, the struggling agency's continuing decline was temporarily halted by its merger into fast-growing creative boutique Travis Sully to form the awkwardly named cdptravissully. However, the erosion of billings continued. The agency was restructured once again at the end of 2006, and given back its original name of CDP. It rebranded in 2009 as Dentsu London, and acquired digital agency Steak in 2011. It finally adopted the McGarryBowen name in Spring 2012.


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McGarryBowen London
22 Torrington Place
London WC1E 7HJ
United Kingdom
Tel: 44 (0)20 3640 5592

Brands & Activities

Dentsu London relaunched in April 2012 as the UK outpost of the Japanese group's high-flying US agency McGarryBowen. Until then, under any of its previous incarnations, Dentsu London had never been more than a minor force in the UK industry. Nielsen estimated billings of just £12m for 2011. That figure had steadily eroded every year from the late 1990s onwards until 2010. For example, as recently as 1998, Nielsen estimated billings for what was then cdptravissully of over £54m. In 2004, Dentsu transferred management control of the business into newly created Dentsu Cayenne Holdings, then a joint venture with German agency Cayenne. Nevertheless, billings continued to fall. By 2009, that figure had declined to £11m, making the shop the UK's #70 agency.

That year, Jim Kelly, one of the original founders of RKC&R/Y&R, was named as chairman and regional director of Dentsu Europe. He set in motion a slow but comparatively steady turnaround, assisted by several key management changes. However the most important development was the rebranding as McGarryBowen.

In Spring 2011, Dentsu strengthened its UK presence with the acquisition of digital media and search agency Steak for an undisclosed sum. It operates alongside the main agency and has smaller outposts in New York and Melbourne, Australia. In 2013, it also served as the platform for the launch of a London outpost of Dentsu's US-based digital agency 360i.

McGarryBowen London is still a minor player in the UK industry, but it has steadily rebuilt its reputation with some strong creative work, especially for key client Honda. For 2014, Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated billings of £20m, a 30% increase on the year before., but leaving the agency still just outside the Top 50.


Jim Kelly retired from the business in March 2013 at around the same time that managing director Ida Rezvani transferred to McGarryBowen New York. The UK office was led by Rick Hirst for several years. In 2016, he transferred to Carat UK, and Jason Gonsalves was poached from BBH to become UK CEO.

Other senior officers include Paul Jordan & Angus MacAdam (joint executive creative directors), recruited from Wieden & Kennedy. Nicole Reid is business development director. Rob Connolly is CEO of both 360i London and Steak.


See Collett Dickenson Pearce profile for full history.

Last full revision 17th February 2016

* Archive page for historical reference only. This profile is no longer being actively updated. See active page here *

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