Cheil Worldwide is South Korea's leading advertising agency, more than three times the size by billings of its nearest domestic rival. Advertising and digital are its main disciplines but it also offers a broad range of other services, including sports sponsorship. Like many of South Korea's leading agencies it began life as a subsidiary of one of the chaebol, the diversified industrial conglomerates who have traditionally driven the Korean economy. Cheil's biggest individual shareholder is still Samsung, undoubtedly the country's most powerful business. It holds around a quarter of Cheil's equity; the remaining shares are publicly quoted. The agency's size derives largely from the fact that it supervises much of the global Samsung Electronics account, often in partnership with local agencies. In the late 2000s Cheil set out to strengthen its profile through selective strategic acquisitions of Western agencies, such as Barbarian Group and McKinney in the US, BMB in the UK and global network Iris in 2014. Hakuhodo Cheil, also based in Korea, is a joint venture with the Japanese agency Hakuhodo. It was originally set up as a joint venture with US agency Bozell. Following the restructuring of Bozell's international network, the US agency sold its 51% stake to Hakuhodo, and Cheil Bozell became Hakuhodo Cheil. By the beginning of 2020, Cheil had more than 53 offices spread across 43 countries worldwide. Group revenues (gross profit) were approx $1.0bn in 2018 with net income of $120m. The main Cheil agency accounts for around two-thirds of total revenues. Jeong-keun Yoo is global CEO. In a rare exception to what is now an executive board composed of mostly Korean nationals, New Zealand-born Malcolm Poynton is global chief creative officer.
Capsule checked 7th January 2020
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Historical profile information for Cheil
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jun 2018: Ads Of The Week "Travelling Circus". Gin has become one of the global drinks industry's strongest growth segments, encouraging the emergence of a multitude of unusual or artisanal niche brands, rather like vodka a decade or so ago. One such is Old Blood Gin, a new brand launched - slightly improbably - in Canada by a Singaporean company, Rivalry Spirits. That improbability is the springboard for a trio of origin stories from Cheil Canada, recounted by different incarnations of the same bartender. Here's our favourite; see two more over on our Facebook page. We're as enchanted as the bartender's various idiotic customers.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Jan 2018: Ads of the Week "Lets You Be You". Samsung's global agency Cheil commissioned Shea Glover to re-create the 2015 social experiment in which she filmed people reacting to being called beautiful. In the intervening years, she has evolved from Chicago high school student to YouTube superstar, but the concept is just as charming and as moving as when she first came up with it. People are pretty wonderful, all things considered, and Glover's film serves as a fine illustration of that fact.
Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Jul 2017: Ads of the Week: "Fan The Fire: Nishchay Luthra". When it comes to global sportswear, football, basketball, tennis, all those big budget sports aren't the only game in town. Adidas has a new campaign out of Cheil celebrating what is probably India's only champion ice-skater. Nishchay Luthra is currently in training in the US for the 2018 Winter Olympics, all on his own, but with strong moral support from his mother and now a powerful endorsement from Adidas. Go Nishchay!
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jan 2016: It seems Maurice Levy still hasn't learned any lessons from Publicis Groupe's organic growth drought. Rather than focus on boosting new business and creative output, he's still distracted by acquisitions. According to Bloomberg, the group is currently considering an offer to acquire a 30% holding in Korean advertising network Cheil, the main custodian of Samsung's global marketing. Publicis-controlled Leo Burnett is also one of Samsung's main global agencies. Such a deal could cost Publicis between $550 and $600m. The group is already well on course to deliver the worst organic growth figures for 2015 of any of the major marketing groups, with virtually all increases in revenues driven purely by acquisition. With most of the group's agencies already distracted by acquisitions already made this year and by the new round of restructuring unveiled last month, this is not the right time to launch yet another deal. Put your chequebook away Maurice.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Jan 2015: Hot on the heels of the appointment of growth officer Lotta Malm Hallqvist last week, Cheil Worldwide continued to ramp up its global management team with the appointment of Malcolm Poynton, the former Ogilvy and SapientNitro creative leader, as global chief creative officer. Like Hallqvist, he will be based in Cheil's London offices, rapidly becoming a a key global focal point for the Korean network.
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