Dentsu Group North America advertising & marketing assignments

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Selected Dentsu Group North America advertising

Japanese marketing giant Dentsu operates in North America through a number of subsidiaries, several of whom were for many years largely reliant on Japanese clients. All that has changed since 2008 when Dentsu kicked off a series of bold acquisitions in North America (and elsewhere), starting with highly regarded New York agency McGarryBowen. That deal effectively doubled the Japanese group's US revenues, and was followed by several other purchases including the digital agencies 360i and Firstborn. Together these agencies transformed Dentsu's North American presence and paved the way for the parent group's subsequent purchase of UK media group Aegis in 2013. That deal added not just the Carat and Vizeum media networks but also digital specialists such as iProspect and Isobar. The group has been further expanded by a series of additional local acquisitions including design agency Character, PR agency Mitchell, sports marketer Mktg, Gyro, multicultural agency Gravity (now Dentsu x) and Canadian creative agency Grip. However, perhaps the most significant has been CRM & data agency Merkle, which has steadily expanded to become one of the parent group's biggest global brands. Following the acquisition of Aegis, Dentsu's North American operations were consolidated under the umbrella of Dentsu Aegis Network, but the Aegis brand was finally discontinued in 2020 in favour of a global unfied Dentsu brand. At around the same time, McGarryBowen adopted the name Dentsu McGarryBowen, and several other agencies in the portfolio have been combined to create a much smaller roster of global brands. Dentsu's declared revenues from the US were around $1.95bn in 2019, or around 23% of the group total, compared to 40% of the total from the domestic Japanese market. (US revenues for 2020 have yet to be broken out by the group). The group's single biggest agency by US revenues is Merkle. As a result of a series of bolt-on acquisitions, and the absorption of other group subsidiaries, among them Gyro, its US revenues have grown significantly since it was acquired in 2016. AdAge estimated US revenues of $854m in 2020, compared to less than $200m for all other local subsidiaries, including Carat and McGarryBowen. Nick Brien stepped down as CEO Americas at the end of 2019, to be replaced by Jacki Kelley. Wendy Clark joined the group in 2020 as global CEO of Dentsu International.

Capsule checked 28th June 2021

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Historical snapshot information for Dentsu North America

Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 13th May 2020: Dentsu has begun the process of consolidating its non-Japanese operations with the creation of the uncomfortably named Dentsu Mcgarrybowen network. This will combine all creative operations outside Japan under what was previously the McGarryBowen banner. Key additions will be the parent group's several creative outposts across Asia Pacific, not previously part of McGarryBowen. The resulting business will have more than 3,000 staff spread between 33 offices in 24 countries. Merlee Jayme, previously chair and chief creative officer of Dentsu Jayme Syfu in the Philippines, was appointed as global co-president alongside McGarryBowen's Jon Dupuis. Gordon Bowen remains global chairman with Ned Crowley as chief creative officer.

Adbrands Daily Update 29th Aug 2019: Latest addition to Dentsu's US portfolio is Los Angeles-based MuteSix, a full-service agency that specialises in brand response advertising on Facebook, Google, Instagram and other social channels, often for smaller-budgeted clients and start-ups. Despite its comparatively small size - revenues around $17m last year - MuteSix manages an extensive roster of around 270 clients. The agency will operates under the umbrella of Dentsu's iProspect.

 Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Dec 2017: The week's most significant account assignment was Subway's appointment of a new dedicated entity within Dentsu Aegis Network to handle creative and media for North America, the first time, the US and Canadian accounts have been bundled as one. New unit The Franchise will drawn upon McGarryBowen and Canada's DentsuBos for creative, and Carat for media, as well as other group-owned agencies. Billings are somewhere in the region of $500m annually.

Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Jun 2017: Former McCann chief Nick Brien returns to the industry's top table after several productive years as CEO of digital specialist iCrossing. He was named as CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network US & Americas, overseeing all that group's networks in the region from Carat and Vizeum to McGarryBowen, Merkle and Isobar. Brien takes over from DAN US CEO Rob Horler, who recently announced his departure, and outgoing Americas CEO Nigel Morris, who moves up to a new role as chief strategy & innovation officer. Originally head of IPG's UM media network, Brien was appointed as CEO of the McCann Worldgroup in 2010. However the next two years were marked by a series of challenges, prompting his departure in 2012. He is succeeded at iCrossing by US president Mike Parker.

Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Aug 2016: Hot on the heels of its deal for Gyro, Dentsu Aegis Network added another string to its bow with the acquisition of US CRM giant Merkle. The purchase will fill a significant hole in the group's US portfolio, which currently lacks strength in data-marketing. Terms were not disclosed, but media reports identified a valuation for Merkle of $1.5bn including debt. Dentsu said Merkle has revenues of $436m last year. DAN is buying out Merkle's majority shareholder, the investment fund Technology Crossover Ventures, and other investors. However, management and employees will collectively retain a minority holding in the business.

Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Jul 2016: Another independent bites the dust. Dentsu Aegis Network announced the acquisition of global B2B network Gyro for an undisclosed sum. The group had been jointly owned by private equity investors and management. CEO & CCO Christoph Becker will remain at the helm of an expanded network, which will absorb DAN's existing Interprise business. The latter's Stuart Giddings becomes global president, reporting to Becker. Gyro will also expand its presence into Latin America and Asia via DAN's other units in those regions, including Carat, iProspect and of course Dentsu itself. "We currently partner with independent partners [for media] and that is not ideal," said Becker. "This gives us a media powerhouse and propels our offering."


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