Integrated agency Iris maintains its HQ in the UK but has established a global network of 13 other offices spanning mainland Europe, Asia, Australia and the US. Iris offers a full range of services including traditional advertising, direct & digital, sales promotion and experiential, and also sponsorship and public relations. It boosted its data analytics services, marketed under the Concise brand, with the acquisition of UK company Datalytics in 2013. It has also elevated its B2B offering with the acquisition of creative agency Founded. In 2011, Iris agreed an alliance with US media group Meredith to serve as global partner for that group's MXM subsidiary, which acquired a 20% stake in the business. However the partnership yielded few results, and in 2014, the Meredith shares were sold on to Cheil of Korea, which then acquired majority control at the beginning of 2015, and then gradually accumulated the remaining shares to take full ownership in 2020. Iris's own founders Ian Millner and Stewart Shanley had remained with the company, based in London and New York respectively, as CEO and non-executive chairman. However, Shanley departed in 2020, and Millner moved up to chairman in 2021. Steve Bell was named as global CEO. The business was launched in 1999 when Millner, Shanley and several other senior managers jumped ship from D'Arcy's below-the-line agency IMP with founding client Sony. The relationship with Sony lasted until 2014, when it was replaced as a client by Cheil's effective parent Samsung. The Korean electronics giant and Adidas remain Iris's most significant global clients. Reported group turnover for 2016 was £118m, up almost 30% on the year before, while gross income rose 17% to £73m. The agency no longer reports revenues. However, AdAge estimated global revenues of $96m in 2020.
Capsule checked 13th August 2021
Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets.
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Marketer Moves 28th Jun 2021: New global CEO at Iris. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 21st Jan 2021: "Activate You+". Adidas has rolled out its entire roster of global football stars (and even, for a different sort of football, Patrick Mahomes from the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs) in this imaginative spot from Iris, which also offers a glowing halo to WhatsApp. (Did they require permission?) The idea of David Beckham managing a WhatsApp group for all his fellow Adidas sponsorees is very cute. We so wish that it's true, and that they really chat amongst themselves like this. Somehow, though, despite its inventiveness, the spot feels a little lacking in energy, even by comparison with previous Adidas campaigns, and especially in the wake of LaFourmi's blistering spot for rival Puma last week.
Adbrands Social Media 31st Jul 2019: "The Deal". Iris has steadily edged out TBWA and 72andSunny to become Adidas's main global partner in football, and clearly has its eyes set on an even larger prize. This latest stitches together contributions from all 21 of the brand's most famous player partners - we don't envy the poor soul in charge of coordinating the diaries of the world's top footballers - to form a trippy warning of what it takes to become one of them. Selling your soul to the football devil may well be part of the deal.
Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Mar 2018: Ads of the Week: "Watch Me Create". Iris keeps it tricky in the new campaign for Adidas in which star players Paul Pogba, Leo Messi (or is that actually actor Christian Bale?) and Luis "Bitey" Suarez have been invited to direct (supposedly) their own commercials, here mashed up in a three-way compilation. Our guess is that this is probably the football equivalent of the celebrity novel. The boys no doubt had more than a little ghost help from real director Gerson Aguerri. We noted last week how the rough and ragged style adopted in Europe by Adidas over the past couple of years, of which this is another great example, has slowly bled through to Nike's latest ads as well, not least that splendid LDNR spot.
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Nov 2017: It was a busy week for direct & digital network Iris, which unveiled a new brand identity, finalised the acquisition of London digital tech agency Atom 42 and secured a role as regional digital and social media agency for Starbucks across the Asia Pacific. The latter appointment follows Iris's confirmation as Starbucks' creative agency across the EMEA region as well. The network also launched a new positioning tag, 'For the Forward'. "We asked ourselves, how can we be the most valued and valuable partners our clients can have?" said founder & CEO Ian Milner. "Networks are struggling to grow; consultancies are coming in, insourcing is growing. For the Forward is representative of our belief that in these unstable and disruptive times the last thing a client should do is play it safe. Our promise to clients is that we will move their business forward and navigate this new landscape. The ability to evolve and move forward is one necessary for survival, and it is something we share with the clients we work with."
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Mar 2016: Ads Of The Week: "The Mouth Boggles". Here's a delightfully insane spot for Dominos in the UK from Iris Worldwide, using some deeply disturbing visual trickery to suggest the effect of a mouth-watering (their words, not mine) Domino's pizza on your average human. Weird but wonderful! MmmmmAhhhBlblblb....
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