Grey London is one of Grey Global's biggest international outposts and was its first office outside the US in 1962. In 2007, Grey London also absorbed the remaining clients and staff of sister shop United London (formerly HHCL). Until recently, local subsidiaries included the integrated agency formerly known as Joshua, latterly part of Grey's worldwide G2 network. In a shift of alignments though, the G2 network was absorbed into what is now Geometry during 2013. Instead Grey is partnered across Europe with WPP's digital network Possible, now part of Wunderman. However, the most significant change at the agency in recent years has been an extraordinary improvement in the quality of its creative work, previously considered one of its weak points. In recent years, Grey London has earned a reputation as one of the UK's top agencies by creative output, although there has been a slight pause in that extraordinary turnaround since the exodus of several key managers in 2016. In 2017, the agency changed its name temporarily to Valenstein & Fatt - after the original founders of Grey Advertising - to highlight the need for a more ethnically diverse recruitment process across the wider marketing industry.
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Adbrands Social Media 3rd Apr 2019: "This Is Not Just Food...". A complete change of style here from Grey London for Marks & Spencer's food advertising. M&S has long been famous - even infamous - for its food porn ads from the 2000s. These featured lovingly photographed deliciousness, all oozing sauces and mouth-watering juiciness, accompanied by a fruity voiceover from actress Dervla Kirwan: "This is not just food, this is M&S food..." The style of those ads changed in the 2010s - no more voiceovers, and more arty than sexy - but people still affectionately recall and mimic the original ads. It's become a bit of a middle class British pop cultural meme, so it's a cute idea to recognise that fact in the new campaign.
Adbrands Daily Update 19th Feb 2019: Having already split its company structure into two separate teams handling general merchandise and food respectively, Marks & Spencer has also launched a search to find a new agency to handle general merchandise. Grey London, previously the retailer's sole creative agency, will retain its position on food, but a new agency will be appointed for clothing and home goods.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Dec 2018: In a surprise development, AMV BBDO's joint ECD Adrian Rossi has resigned to become creative chairman - a new role - at Grey London. That appointment brings to an end Rossi's 20-year working partnership with Alex Grieve, now sole ECD at AMV BBDO. Rossi will report to Grey's global CCO John Patroulis. Vicki McGuire remains CCO for Grey London. It is the latest in a series of resignations and retirements at AMV BBDO including group CEO Cilla Snowball and creative partner Rosie Arnold.
Adbrands Social Media 23rd Oct 2018: Considering how it wholly dominates the daily conversation in Britain at the moment, Brexit is an issue that few advertisers have dared to tackle, presumably for fear of alienating one or other half of the country. One of the only campaigns to have dared in recent months has been the one J Walter Thompson London was running for HSBC with the wonderfully eccentric Richard Ayoade. This has seemed in the past to be solidly anti-Brexit, but with this latest incarnation - developed this time by Grey, though in partnership with JWT - we're not quite so sure. We imagine Brexiteers will be claiming it for their own with its promise of new horizons to be conquered. In truth, though, it's just pro-business. What's best for business is best for HSBC and the bank seems happy to let you make up your own mind about which side of the argument that might be.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jun 2018: Grey London's co-chief creative officer Caroline Pay is leaving after a little over a year in her role to join Los Angeles-based Headspace, developers of an app that offers personal meditation and mindfullness courses. Vicki McGuire remains at Grey as sole CCO, though the agency is expected to recruit a new co-CCO in due course to replace Pay.
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