Interpublic (IPG) was the first of the world's multi-brand marketing organisations, created in the mid-1950s as the holding company for a collection of rival agencies acquired by what was then McCann-Erickson. It is still one of the 'Big Four' alongside WPP, Omnicom and Publicis. However, it struggled for most of the early 2000s with challenges in different parts of its portfolio. Initially, these difficulties stemmed from a string of expensive acquisitions in 1999 and 2000: Interpublic was plagued by problems as it attempted to integrate its new purchases. Matters were made worse by a disastrous investment in UK motor-racing and accounting errors which led to repeated restatements of the group's financial results. Meanwhile, there were significant client losses within its UM and Initiative media networks as well as from core creative agencies Lowe and McCann. A shake-up of senior management in early 2003 failed to put an end to these problems, which dragged on through 2004 and most of 2005. There was a further restructuring in 2006 which led to the merger of FCB with integrated network Draft to form Draftfcb, but that network too shed several key clients. In 2009, Interpublic slipped below Publicis for the first time to become the #4 ad organisation worldwide, and for the next few years struggled with yet another decline at lead network McCann. A series of management changes across the main agencies, and the relaunch of Draftfcb under its old name of FCB seemed finally to have drawn a line under past troubles by 2014, and Interpublic has in fact generally performed better than its peers in the face of the several challenges that have bombarded the industry since 2018. The group has for the most part steered well clear of big acquisitions since its troubles in the early 2000s, but notable recent additions to the portfolio were digital agency Huge in 2008 and data manager Acxiom in 2018. Michael Roth, CEO since 2005, passed over that role in 2021 to longtime lieutenant Philippe Krakowsky, though he remains executive chairman. Group revenues peaked in 2019 at $8.6bn before slipping back in 2020 to just under $8.1bn.
Capsule checked 12th March 2021
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Chart Interpublic's quarterly organic growth since 2016 (subscribers only)
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Historical profile information for Interpublic
Adbrands Daily Update 21st Oct 2020: Interpublic took a bit of a step backwards in 4Q, with organic decline increasing to -5.4%. However full year performance is still better than most rivals at -4.8%. (Publicis, the only other group to have reported so far was -6.3% for the year). Reported revenues for the year were $8.06bn, with net income of $354m. International markets continued to be the hardest hit in 4Q, down -10.5% organic combined compared to -1.8% in the US. On a region-by-region basis, Continental Europe slipped -7.3%, the UK -9.7% and Asia Pacific -17.4%. Latin America was actually up 2.3% but is Interpublic's smallest region by some margin.
Adbrands Daily Update 21st Oct 2020: Interpublic is in a strong position to once again top the class among marketing groups for organic performance. It's a reminder that you don't necessarily need Publicis Groupe's "unique" structure or expansive Marcel AI system to weather the Covid storm. Organic decline for 3Q was -3.7%, bring the 9-month figure to -4.5%. Both figures bested Publicis. The US-only slide of -2.4% was the same as the French group. Reported revenues of $1.95bn slipped -5.2% against the year-ago period, while a tax gain lifted net income by two-thirds to $280m. Separately, IPG announced that Michael Roth will surrender the role of CEO at the end of this year to longtime lieutenant Philippe Krakowsky, currently COO. Roth will become executive chairman.
Adbrands Daily Update 29th Jul 2020: Interpublic jumped straight to the top of the class among marketing group with 2Q results that were substantially better - or at least less terrible - than either of the two peers to have reported so far. Interpublic's organic decline for the peak lockdown second quarter was -9.9%, three points ahead of Publicis and 13 better than Omnicom. Reported revenues were $1.85bn but a sharp rise in "restructuring costs" (ie staff layoffs and lease surrenders) resulted in a net loss for the quarter of $43.9m. The US market did rather better than elsewhere with an organic decline of -8.0%, compared to -14.5% in the UK, -11.1% in continental Europe and -14.0% in APAC.
Adbrands Daily Update 27th May 2020: Weeks after its peers, Dentsu finally published financial results for 1Q. With all results now in, surprise leader of the pack for 1Q was MDC Partners at 2.0%, while Omnicom and Interpublic both weighed in at 0.3%. Dentsu came next at -0.8%, followed by Publicis at -2.9% and WPP and Havas both on -3.3%.
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Apr 2020: Interpublic certainly began to feel some pain from the Coronavirus crisis during 1Q with organic growth of just 0.3%, which represents the group's worst quarterly performance for five years or more. The US managed 0.8% but was undercut by a combined -0.7% decline from international markets. Unsurprisingly, Asia Pacific fared worst at -5.3% but the UK was also poor at -1.8%. Continental Europe was satisfactory at 1.2% but the combined decline in all other global markets was -2.4%. Latin America was unusually strong at 10.7%, but that contribution in dollar terms was comparatively small. Reported total revenues dipped slightly to just under $2.0bn (compared to just over a year ago). The most noticeable change was a jump in group net income, even after amortisation costs and losses on divested businesses. An $8m loss in 1Q 2019 turned into a $4.7m profit. Before expenses and tax, operating income was up by an impressive 50% year-on-year.
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