Integrated agency Iris maintains its HQ in the UK but has established a global network of 14 offices spanning mainland Europe, Asia, Australia and the US. In 2011, it agreed an alliance with US media group Meredith to serve as global partner for that group's Xcelerated Marketing subsidiary, which acquired a 20% stake in the business. However that partnership yielded few results, and in 2014, the Meredith shares were acquired by Cheil of Korea, which then acquired majority control at the beginning of 2015. It now has 95% of equity. Managers share the remaining 5%. 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. Founders Ian Millner and Stewart Shanley remain co-CEOs, based in London and New York respectively. They and several other senior managers jumped ship from D'Arcy's below-the-line agency IMP in 1999 to launch Iris, with founding client Sony. The relationship with Sony last 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. Adbrands does not currently offer a business profile for Iris but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
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Capsule checked 10th October 2017
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....
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Jan 2015: Ads of the Week "There Will Be Haters". Adidas Group seems to be on a creative roll at the moment. After two great spots last week for Adidas Originals and Reebok, here's another, for Adidas Football. Almost as surprising is that it's from Iris, not always the most exciting agency creatively, but here delivering a stylistically bold, very in-your-face spot. Mind your backs, TBWA! The ad features endorsement partners Luis "Bitey Biterson" Suarez (just look at those teeth!), Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Dec 2014: Korean group Cheil has acquired a significant minority shareholding in UK-headquartered integrated network Iris Worldwide. Full details of the deal have not been disclosed, but Cheil is understood to be buying out all the shares previously held by US media group Meredith Corporation, and has an option to take full control within five years. Meredith's MXM marketing division secured a shareholding in Iris in 2011, but the visible benefits of that partnership have been limited. Meanwhile Cheil has been steadily building a presence in key Western markets through self-branded offices in the US and UK and elsewhere but also through selected acquisitions such as McKinney in the US and BMB in the UK. However, the purchase of Iris, with 17 offices around the globe, would represent its most significant deal to-date. Cheil's biggest global client is its former parent Samsung.
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