In the UK, the two businesses can trace their roots back to the Eighties and Nineties – the heyday of direct marketing agencies – when the “young upstarts” of Barraclough Hall Woolston Grey would regularly lock horns with the established chiefs at WWAV and fight to be crowned the biggest DM agency in the land.
Omnicom snapped up WWAV in 1994, and Barraclough Hall a year later. Both agencies then went through a series of mergers and rebrands, WWAV became WWAV Rapp Collins before reverting to just Rapp in 2008. Meanwhile, Barraclough Hall become BHWG Proximity and then Proximity in 2001.
Under the new structure, Rapp global chief executive Marco Scognamiglio (pictured) remains head honcho, while Proximity global CEO Mike Dodds becomes boss of Rapp EMEA. Currently Rapp has 19 offices, it is understood that Proximity’s 24 offices will now fold into these. In the UK, the agencies are based in separate buildings on Bankside in London.
The UK business will be led by the Rapp CEO Chris Freeland, who becomes executive chairman, and Proximity CEO Gabby Ludzker, who continues in her current role.
It is not known who will lead the UK business on the creative side; John Treacy is Proximity ECD, while Al Mackie is Rapp’s creative officer. In total, the UK agency will have 500 staff. It is not known how many redundancies will be made across the group.
Scognamiglio said: “Unifying these agencies under the Rapp brand accelerates the opportunity for our clients and our talent to benefit from a breadth of skills that rival any agency’s.
“We already partner together on a number of clients globally and this will clearly establish our UK office, with more than 500 employees, as a flagship agency within the Rapp worldwide global network.”
Omnicom Precision Marketing Group CEO Luke Taylor said: “We are always strategically reviewing how we can deliver a more competitive and relevant offering to our clients. This union aligns highly complementary skills and services, and will benefit both our people and clients worldwide.”
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