Cohn & Wolfe (US)


Until recently, Cohn & Wolfe was among the world's Top 15 full-service public relations agencies, and the #4 in WPP's portfolio. It sat centrally within the group, although it tended to be associated with Grey Group, and was best-known for consumer or corporate PR and healthcare. In 2018, WPP announced plans to merge Cohn & Wolfe into its larger sibling Burson-Marsteller to create a new global Top Three agency, Burson Cohn & Wolfe. C&W CEO Donna Imperato becomes CEO of the merged business. Previously, in 2008, Cohn & Wolfe, then a unit of Y&R Brands, had absorbed GCI, the PR network then associated with Grey. As a result of strong growth in recent years, Cohn & Wolfe was recognised as 2016 North America Large PR Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report. It positioned itself as a slightly more unconventional or "challenger" PR network, with greater willingness than some to be entrepreneurial or take a few risks. The group also served as an umbrella for several standalone units, including public affairs agency Quinn Gillespie, interactive specialist Schematic, technology adviser AxiCom and mobile shop Joule. Industry watcher The Holmes Report estimated fee income of $224m in 2016. Adbrands does not currently profile this company 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. 

Capsule checked 13th April 2017

See also Top Global Public Relations Agencies index

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Mar 2018: In pursuit of further economies of scale, WPP announced the merger of two of its three biggest PR agencies, Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe. The new Burson Cohn & Wolfe (or BCW) will, said WPP, combine Cohn & Wolfe's expertise in "digitally-driven, creative content and integrated communications" in consumer, healthcare and technology with Burson's "strength in public affairs, corporate and crisis management, technology and research." C&W's Donna Imperato becomes CEO of the merged entity with BM's Don Baer moving up chairman. BCW will also jump several places up the revenue rankings. The Holmes Report estimated combined fee income for the two companies in 2016 at $704m, which would put BCW into third place behind Edelman and Weber Shandwick. Currently, BM and C&W rank 6th and 12th respectively. This latest consolidation follows on from the combination of MEC and Maxus to form Wavemaker, and the merger of five separate design agencies within the WPP to form SuperUnion.


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