Ogilvy & Mather and Malone Advertising Announced a Joint Venture in North America

OgilvyAction, the activation arm of Ogilvy & Mather, and Malone Advertising, the retail marketing unit of JWT, both part of WPP Group, today announced a joint venture in North America to form the first fully integrated, end-to-end shopper marketing and experiential marketing agency.

JWT/OgilvyAction, Inc., the new legal entity that will conduct business under the OgilvyAction and JWT Action brands, is a new model in shopper marketing designed to help brands and retailers reach and influence consumers at every touchpoint along the path-to-purchase. One of the venture's key points of difference is its ability to link brand strategies, shopper insights and retail opportunities.    

The new venture represents the first time that clients will have access to the complete range of shopper and retail marketing services — shopper marketing, retailer relationships, retail sales programs, consumer promotions, local and retail media and media buying, direct response advertising, planning, creative services, digital activation and experiential marketing all with deep research, analytics and measurement, from a single source.

This will immediately become one of the largest agencies of its type, with 400 full-time professionals and 3,000 part-time staff in main offices in New York, Chicago and Akron, Ohio, as well as in field offices across the country.  Clients will include Kimberly-Clark, American Express, SC Johnson, Nestle, John Deere, Unilever, Sara Lee, Kraft and others.  OgilvyAction will continue to serve its legacy clients as OgilvyAction.  Malone will do the same, though now rebranded as JWT Action.

Fred Bidwell, formerly president of Malone, where he has served for 20 years, will act as Executive Chairman of the joint venture.  He shares leadership responsibilities with Sheila Hartnett, CEO of OgilvyAction, North America, who will now also serve as CEO of the new entity.  The joint venture of WPP agencies will be governed by a Board of Directors from both networks consisting of Bob Jeffrey, Global CEO, JWT; David Eastman, CEO, JWT North America; Nick Read, CFO, JWT North America;Miles Young, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather; Steve Goldstein, CFO, Ogilvy & Mather; and John Seifert, Chairman/CEO, Ogilvy & Mather North America.

OgilvyAction was formed in 2007 as the activation arm of Ogilvy & Mather, serving as an integrated marketing company with strengths in experiential and digital marketing, analytics and consumer promotion.  Founded in 1943 and acquired by JWT in 2005, Malone Advertising specializes in retail marketing with expertise in trade marketing, shopper marketing, shopper/customer research and insights, and local and retail media and communications planning.  

The two agencies decided to pursue the joint venture following their successful partnership on shopper marketing duties for Kimberly-Clark, a Malone client for 18 years, which they have shared and serviced jointly for the past year.

"This move was based on client need," said Fred Bidwell.  "With all the changes in the retail space and consumer buying habits, clients told us their brands now require a wider range of resources and a truly holistic approach to shopper marketing, brand activation and integration.  The joint venture is not focused on a marketing discipline, but instead on what a client needs.  Then we build a media agnostic program from that base."

"Our killer app is the ability to impact with consumer shopping experiences every step of the way: before they shop, while they are at retail, and after they leave the store with deep measurement tools," said Sheila Hartnett.  "No other single entity has that 'before, during and after' market capability under one roof, driving value and insight to really leverage the shopper channel for marketers."

Hartnett sees this area growing in importance on a corporate level.  "Shopper marketing is becoming a key element of a client's business model," she said.  "Progressive companies are starting to bring it to the center of their planning process.  Shopper marketing has transformed from a sales-driven activity to a critical corporate focus."

Bidwell said the recession has prompted dramatic, and perhaps permanent, changes in consumer shopping behavior.  "Shoppers are planning more, doing more research and making more selective, informed choices," he explained.  "Because of these changes, influencing shopper behavior is more important than ever, both in-store and pre-store.  Our new structure now enables us to develop effective strategies that can impact the shopper at any point along the path to purchase no matter where it might lead her, all validated by proprietary ShopperSight research."