Proximity was traditionally BBDO's subsidiary digital and direct marketing network. Originally set up to offer a full range of below-the-line disciplines including direct, digital, sales promotion and event marketing, it gradually came to specialise in digital marketing, with an emphasis on customer relationship management. In 2017, it was transferred out of BBDO and into a newly created umbrella unit, Omnicom Precision Marketing, alongside Rapp, Targetbase, Critical Mass, Organic and the group's other digital & direct agencies. However some international offices continue to work closely with the local BBDO outpost. Luke Taylor was appointed as divisional CEO of OPM. Doug Worple is global CEO of Proximity. Eva Santos is global chief creative officer. The network has shrunk slightly as a result of reorganisation, to 24 offices in 20 countries. AdAge estimated worldwide revenues of $506m in 2018, including $136m in the US. The original core of the Proximity network was UK-based direct marketing agency Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray (BHWG), previously part of the AMV group. It adopted the name BHWG Proximity in 2000, and a series of other offices were established in mainland Europe, mainly from direct marketing agencies already associated with BBDO. Over the following decade several more units were absorbed including Clarke Hooper Momentum, Traffic and Craik Jones. The first branded US offices were launched in 2007; Cincinnati creative shop Barefoot Advertising - now Barefoot Proximity - was acquired in 2008. New York's Atmosphere BBDO joined in 2009, rebranding as Atmosphere Proximity. In 2012, Clemenger Group's second-string agency in Australia, Clemenger Harvie Edge, was also folded into the Proximity network, becoming CHE Proximity. All other outposts carry just the Proximity name.
Capsule checked 29th May 2019
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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.
Adbrands Social Media 20th Feb 2019: "I Saw An Online Tutorial...". Watching a YouTube tutorial doesn't make you an expert at DIY, and it might also give you a misplaced confidence in your own abilities. That's the warning offered by this funny new spot from BBDO Proximity for Saint Maclou, the French interior design chain that forms part of the vast Mulliez retail conglomerate (which is also home to Auchan, Decathlon and Leroy Merlin). Rather than sell you furnishings for you to install yourself, the store sends in its own craftsmen to do the job for you. The comic vignettes are well-conceived building nicely from moderately challenging to seriously dangerous.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Sep 2017: Omnicom launched a new dedicated CRM division under the umbrella of its DAS Global entity, which houses its vast collection of diversified agencies. Omnicom Precision Marketing will take on oversight of all direct & digital brands, including Proximity Worldwide, which transfers from a long-established reporting relationship with BBDO. Former DigitasLBi CEO Luke Taylor joins Omnicom as CEO of Omnicom Precision Marketing Group. Proximity will continue to be led by Doug Worple, as chief executive, and Mike Dodds as president.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Mar 2014: BBDO Proximity in Duesseldorf was awarded pan-European duties for Imperial Tobacco, whose cigarette brands include John Player Special, Gauloises and West. The account was previously with Deep Blue Networks, a through-the-line unit of WPP's Scholz & Friends. No budget was disclosed, and the majority of Imperial's European marketing budget is spent on CRM, because of restrictions on tobacco advertising, but some advertising is still allowed in Germany. That country has the least binding restrictions on tobacco marketing of any EU country, with out-of-home advertising still allowed, as well as cinema advertising after 6pm, and no prohibitions on experiential marketing. Only two of Germany's 16 states have an outright ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Nov 2013: Andrew Bailey has jumped ship from BBDO's Proximity Worldwide network, where he was North America chairman, to lead the US operations of The & Partnership, a newly created holding company for CHI & Partners and its various affiliated units. CHI & Partners already has a New York office, a joint venture with Ogilvy, but Bailey's brief will be to expand that footprint and presumably build a US presence for CHI's other partner agencies, which include direct/digital marketer Rapier and PR firm Halpern. WPP owns just under 50% of CHI & Partners and will retain a similar stake in the new umbrella group. Johnny Hornby is global CEO of The & Partnership, which also houses Asian joint venture Bates CHI & Partners.
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