Possible Worldwide Absorbs Zaaz

Shane Atchison replaces Trevor Kaufman as CEO

Less than 13 months after forming from the merger of four WPP agencies, Possible Worldwide has added Zaaz to the fold, with the sibling agency’s cofounder and CEO Shane Atchison joining as Possible’s CEO. Atchison replaces Trevor Kaufman who will stay with Possible as chairman.

Zaaz, which had operated within WPP’s Wunderman network since being acquired in 2006, will be a standalone brand within Possible. The agency will serve as Possible’s performance marketing unit, specializing in search, analytics and optimization, said Atchison, who started in his new role last week.

“We have a very distinct point of view that Possible stands for one [profit-and-loss statement], one set of capabilities,” he said. “The Zaaz brand coming with Possible doesn’t dilute it; it’s really just a matter of specialization and really equating Zaaz to performance marketing. But you’re not going to see a Possible network with five or ten brands like you see in other agencies.”

Zaaz’s organization structure will remain intact with Martha Hiefield remaining as president and reporting to Atchison. Through Zaaz, Possible adds offices in Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Helsinki.

One of Atchison’s toughest tasks as CEO will be altering perceptions of Possible. Since the agency’s launch, chief strategy officer Bob Gilbreath and global president Jay Woffington have left the shop, leading to questions of the agency’s viability. Atchison said a valid criticism of Possible is “they haven’t integrated the business.”

“To me there’s a clear fundamental focus to say, ‘What’s the brand stand for, how do we work together, how do we service our clients in the best way, how do we differentiate.’ It’s matter of executing on those fundamentals. That is the opportunity but also admittedly a criticism of what hasn’t happened in the past year,” he said.

As part of Atchison’s execution plans, Possible will announce later this month a marketing sciences practice focused on analytics, optimization and search, he said. Atchison is also looking to expand Possible’s footprint and capabilities this year with “multiple acquisitions.” He said the agency would eye firms in Russia, China and India as well as U.S. shops that can add “new competencies.”

Possible has already been angling itself as somewhat of a digital specialist. In January word leaked that Possible had agreed to partner with Grey’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division to support the Procter & Gamble account, among other clients. Kaufman described that partnership to Adweek as “Grey powered by Possible,” with Possible’s digital capabilities supporting Grey’s client work.