Masius Wynne-Williams (UK)

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The Masius advertising brand had a distinguished heritage in the UK before being finally phased out in 2017. A New Yorker by birth, Leonard "Mike" Masius originally came to London in the 1930s to run the local office of famed American agency Lord & Thomas, later Foote Cone & Belding. Following owner Albert Lasker's decision to sell the business to his senior managers, the London outpost of Lord & Thomas was bought out by Masius personally. He recruited William Fergusson, then head of Colgate-Palmolive in the UK, as a silent partner, and relaunched the agency as Masius & Fergusson. Although the business did well over the next few years, it was largely dependent on the Colgate advertising account, which contributed more than half its billings.

In fact, the subsequent prominence of the business was achieved not by Masius himself, but by his successor, Jack Wynne-Williams, who took it over in the 1950s and established it as the country's second-largest agency behind J Walter Thompson. Wynne-Williams had held a number of positions in marketing during the 1930s before he secured a position at the tender age of just 23 as managing director of the British subsidiary of American toothpaste giant Pepsodent. After World War II, he quit that job and set sail for Brazil to become managing director and minority partner of the country's biggest department store, Mappin's, earning himself a small fortune in the process. In 1951 he returned to England and was recruited by Mike Masius, an old friend now in poor health, to take over the day-to-day running of Masius & Fergusson.

The agency flourished under Wynne-Williams' management. A key development was his capture of a string of accounts from Forrest Mars' UK-based Food Manufacturers Ltd (now Mars). Masius & Fergusson launched that company's Kit-E-Kat and Pal petfood products and on the back of their success, added a series of its other brands including Mars Bar and Maltesers. Other wins included Nescafe and Hoover, and the agency masterminded the enormously successful launch of sparkling pear cider Babycham, the first alcoholic beverage aimed directly as women.

Mike Masius died in 1963. (A keen golfer, he suffered a fatal heart attack at Sunningdale golf course after six unsuccessful attempts to chip his ball out of a bunker.) Wynne-Williams acquired full control of the agency and renamed it Masius Wynne-Williams in 1964. By mid-decade, it was the country's second biggest agency after JWT. Masius Wynne-Williams also established an extensive international network, including outposts in South Africa and Australia, as well as a New York office. In 1973, Masius Wynne-Williams was acquired by D'Arcy MacManus International. A subsequent merger created D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles or DMB&B. When DMB&B later rebranded as D'Arcy, the Masius name was readopted for its corporate communications subsidiary DMB&B Financial. In 2001, the standalone Masius agency in London established an office in New York, absorbing Clarion Brand, the B2B arm of fellow D'Arcy subsidiary Clarion Marketing.

Following the acquisition of D'Arcy and Leo Burnett by Publicis Groupe, the Masius brand drifted. D'Arcy was itself carved up, leaving Masius as a separate standalone unit. Its New York office was folded into Leo Burnett in 2009, and the London agency aligned with MSL Group. The agency was realigned once more in 2013 to become part of the Saatchi & Saatchi network, and was merged into Team Saatchi, a specialist unit handling smaller clients, to create Saatchi Masius. Another change of name in January 2017 led to the removal of the Masius name in favour of Saatchi & Saatchi Pro.

Last full revision 15th August 2016


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