Rapp, previously known as Rapp Collins until a rebranding in 2008, is one of the world's best-known marketing services brands, but its global network was largely dismantled during 2015 to focus mainly on the US market. The business was formed from an amalgam of businesses which came together in the 1986 merger of BBDO, DDB and Needham Harper to form Omnicom. Original founders Stan Rapp and Tom Collins are generally credited with creating the format of what we now understand as direct marketing. The agency is a specialist in direct marketing and customer management, but also offers a variety of other below-the-line services. In recent years it moved strongly into digital CRM and related services, and bolstered its offering through the acquisition of a string of interactive agencies around the globe. Traditionally aligned with DDB, it loosened those ties during 2015 in favour of positioning as a much smaller standalone network within Omnicom. That move also involved the spin-off of much of its global network as Track DDB.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Jun 2016: Alexei Orlov has resigned as CEO of Omnicom's CRM network Rapp, two months into a lawsuit brought by former US president Greg Andersen for wrongful termination, retaliation and discrimination. According to Andersen, Orlov cultivated "a hostile work environment". Although this has been denied by Omnicom, several former employees of Rapp London have alleged to trade bible Campaign that a similarly bruising culture was prevalent in the UK too. One suggested that serving under Orlov was "like being in Henry VIII's court". Omnicom denies all the allegations, and said Andersen's termination was "lawful and appropriate" because he "failed to perform basic duties during his short tenure" as president. Yet Orlov has now resigned, and will be replaced as acting CEO by long-serving executive Marco Scognamilio, formerly president EMEA & APAC.
Adbrands Weekly Update 19th May 2016: Now it's Omnicom's turn to deal with a hot potato employee lawsuit. With J Walter Thompson's Gustavo Martinez suit already awaiting its day in court, Omnicom's Rapp network has been sued by its former US president Greg Andersen for wrongful termination, retaliation and discrimination. The filing alleges "repeated failures to show basic respect for the civil rights of various employees" and accuses Rapp CEO Alexei Orlov of creating "a hostile work environment" by subjecting staff members to "sexual and racial harassment, gender and age discrimination, and retaliation for trying to put an end to such injustices." Perhaps the most entertaining snippet in the filing was Andersen's claim that Orlov once told a meeting of more than 70 Rapp staff and other individuals "[If you] mess with my brand or my direction… I will break off your finger and shove it up your ass." In a statement, Rapp acknowledged the filing of the lawsuit but denied any unlawful conduct.
Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Sept 2015: In a surprise defection, Ian Haworth, global chief creative officer of Omnicom's Rapp network, has jumped ship to become executive creative director for Wunderman EMEA. His move comes amid the wholescale dismantling of the Rapp network, the bulk of which is being split off as separate network Track.
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Jul 2015: Omnicom appears to be rolling out a dramatic reduction of its global Rapp network. Following the elimination by WPP of the Y&R name in English-speaking Canada, Omnicom has followed suit by shuttering the Rapp brand locally. Instead that office has rebranded as Track DDB, in a similar move to the renaming of Rapp Germany earlier in the year. Other selected Rapp offices around the world will be realigned under the Track DDB name to strengthen the main network's CRM capabilities. Omnicom plans to split out the remaining Rapp network as a separate full-service agency, severing ties with DDB, into which it currently reports. As of this morning Rapp's website listed only nine offices globally, compared to around 50 a year ago. Separately, DDB Canada's ShopperDDB unit adopted the Tracy Locke name, aligned with Omnicom's US promotional marketing agency of the same name.
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Mar 2015: In a slightly surprising development, Omnicom's CRM network Rapp has spun off its two German offices in Hamburg and Berlin and rebranded them under the new name Track. Though the business is still wholly owned by Omnicom, the joint managers of the relaunched agency will no longer work as part of the DDB Germany group but instead report directly to DDB Europe. No clear reason was given for the change. DDB CEO Chuck Brymer said merely that "The novel and unique performance profile of the agency simply requires a separate agency brand." Rumours of such a move have been circulating for some time; the surprise is that, for the time being at least, Rapp will no longer have a direct presence in one of Europe's biggest markets. The German trade press have speculated instead that the network might now seek to apply that brand name to Torben Lucie und die Gelbe Gefahr, the social media shop it acquired earlier this year.
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