Grey Group

G2 (Activation Marketing)

Joe Celia, Chairman and chief executive officer, G2 Worldwide, Vice chairman, Grey Group

Report by Joe Celia (above)
Chairman and chief executive officer, G2 Worldwide
Vice chairman, Grey Group

I am pleased to report G2 continues with solid progress, and is ranked among the top five marketing services networks globally. The network now numbers 86 offices in 42 countries and over one-third of the top 100 global brands choose us as an agency partner.

We enter 2009 with the strong foundation needed to face a tough business environment. We will continue to rely on the key pillars which have brought us this far, to see us through the challenges that lie ahead.

We experienced solid growth with our top five key global clients, BAT, Procter & Gamble, Adobe, Aetna and Campbell Soup Company, with over half of these experiencing strong double-digit growth. We expanded our business significantly with other long-standing clients, notably Volkswagen, Kraft, Nestlé, Boehringer Ingelheim and ABN Amro. Globally, our relationship with BAT reached new heights. In EMEA, Joshua G2 in London and Argonauten G2 in Germany collaborated to win and work together on a digital assignment from Heineken, promoting the most recent James Bond movie. In the US, G2 was appointed promotional marketing agency of record for Heineken USA. G2 today serves Heineken in five key markets across all major regions around the world.

In 2008, we added key engagements to our roster across a range of sectors and geographies. Significant new brands included in the US, ING Direct and Kraft’s South Beach Diet; in EMEA, UBS, a second major brand, Juvena, from La Prairie, Samsung, Danone, Sara Lee and Vodafone; in Latin America, Google, St Regis Luxury Hotels, Playtex, Hasbro and Amstel Light; and in APAC we added Visa and Baskin Robbins to our roster.

In April 2008 we acquired a majority stake in the leading events marketing agency in India, Chateux Hospitality, better known as RAMS Relationships, driving the expansion of our global activation marketing capabilities and forging our position as a key player in total communications in the APAC region. We continued to build our capabilities in this region, deepening our relationship with marketing services agency, Star Echo, a 2007 acquisition, partnering with them on multiple engagements in this market.

We constantly strive to stay ahead of a fast-changing marketing environment. In 2008 we fielded a Global CMO Study, to gain an insight into the minds and hearts of marketers, helping us to better match and develop our capabilities to the needs of the marketplace and our clients.

In addition to our top five position among the global marketing services networks ranked in Advertising Age, G2 was recognized with a range of industry accolades and rankings. We climbed 60 places to rank No.5 in the PROMO magazine Top 100 Agency (US) ranking and were placed 13th in the global WON Report for our digital creative awards. Individual agencies in the LATAM region, Colombia and Brazil, each received Agency of the Year awards from important regional bodies. Throughout the world, G2’s work received recognition from a range of industry awards including the Effies, the WEBBYs, The Art Director’s Club, The One Show and Cannes Young Lions.

Other major initiatives in 2008 included our second G2/Economist Conferences – Annual Media Convergence Forum in the US, where the world’s best-known chief marketing officers gathered to discuss the critical themes affecting marketers today; a panel at Cannes in June on Sustainability and the Shopper, debating the recent rise in ethical and environmental concerns; and in EMEA, the Annual Brand Survey: ‘Brands We Love’ in partnership with UK publication, Marketing.

We consolidated management of all US operations under a new position, CEO G2 US, elevating John Paulson from his role as president of our G2 Interactive group to bring his multidisciplinary marketing expertise to bear across all our North American businesses. Wendy Lurrie joined G2 from her position as general manager, DraftFCB, to lead G2’s Relationship Marketing group. Tom Conti expanded his role to head G2 Interactive across the US. Jay Farrell, former vice chairman of OgilvyAction North America, was named president of G2 Promotional Marketing in the US, taking over from Nick Hoadley who returned to England, to assume the role of managing director of Joshua G2, a cornerstone agency within our network.

Additional new leadership roles in 2008 included Will MacKenzie moving from Russia to a new role in Australia and Jeremy Powell taking on the country manager role in Russia after a successful period in Japan. Sergio Brandao, CEO G2 Brazil, was elevated to role of regional director for BAT, after 18 months of successful leadership of our Brazil office. In Italy, WPP company Promotions Italia, the No.1-ranked agency in that market, was formally aligned within the G2 network and its president, Diego Masi, joined our management team.

Our industry and clients are facing difficult times. In addition to being challenged with severe economic pressures, our clients are also faced with a myriad of new communications tools and channels. The G2 model, a multidisciplinary service portfolio combined with a clear discipline-neutral approach, enables us to offer clients a way to navigate this new world and bring solutions to meet their marketing challenges.

We will continue to break new ground in shopper marketing, digital communications and relationship marketing, all areas in which we excel, and deliver on our mission to build profitable and sustainable customer engagements, while growing our clients’ brands and businesses. We are committed to continuing our progress in the years ahead.