Grey Finally Makes the Big Move Out (Mid)west to Cincinnati and P&G

By Patrick Coffee 

The people over at Grey have been making quite a few changes lately, haven’t they?

First there was “the progress brief,” a project created in collaboration with The 3 Percent Conference to ensure that all creative work “reflect[s] and respect[s] the world’s diversity.”

Then there was the news that the agency would offer all New York-based employees 4-hour “reduced work week” options to better manage that work/life balance… and a new mandate that at least 75 percent of all talent and resources investments “are creative-focused by 2019.

Now comes news that Grey will be opening its latest hub in the Midwest… Cincinnati, specifically. You know who else is based in Cincinnati? Why, P&G, of course!

On Monday we learned that the world’s biggest advertiser is forcing the three biggest holding companies to play nice together under the same umbrella. If you think you’ve seen silos, just wait. But Grey says this news isn’t just about the Procter or the Gamble.

From worldwide CEO Michael Houston: “As we conclude our 100th anniversary, the opening of this new office underscores Grey’s vitality and dynamism. We’ve broadened our definition of creativity and forged a unique end-to-end marketing model. This fully-integrated structure will deliver ‘Famously Effective’ ideas that break new ground in brand experience with the agility and speed our ‘always on’ world demands.”

And it won’t just be a new Grey creative office, either. Grey Midwest will ideally become a new center for Grey’s production division, Townhouse, as well as its consultancy Grey Commerce.

They’ll all be taking up residence in digital/performance marketing shop POSSIBLE’s existing Cincinnati offices, which will remain in operation. And what offices they are, gentle readers!

Check it out via architecture firm BHDP.

Also please note the creativity:

We asked the agency whether those purple walls will be repainted orange, but it all seems to be up in the air for now.

At its opening, Grey Midwest will have 80 employees led by Tony Desjardins, former MD of POSSIBLE Cincinnati. He reports directly to New York CEO Debby Reiner.

Much of the leadership will similarly come from the POSSIBLE team, including:

  • Executive director Adam Kahn
  • EVP of strategy and insights Brian LeCount
  • EVP of client services Christopher Reintz
  • VP of marketing science and customer experience Steve Noble
  • Senior director of technology Todd Barker
  • SVP of finance and operations Jamie Grady
  • Group director, project management Priscila Fernandes
  • Talent specialist Rachel Durden

So this is still very much a POSSIBLE joint, operationally speaking. WPP just looks to infuse it with a bit of that extra Grey magic in focusing on data, ecommerce and digital content production work.

As Desjardins put it: “The establishment of Grey Midwest is a vote of confidence in Cincinnati as a creative destination and in its business community. Grey Midwest’s Creativity to Commerce rigor will take the big idea and drill it down through the purchase funnel to make brands buyable.”

The clients currently listed are P&G, eyeglass company Essilor and Perrigo. Can you feel Marc Pritchard’s invisible hand guiding the whole operation?

Now sing along with us:

“Baby, if you’ve ever wondered

Wondered what ever became of me

I’m livin’ on the air in Cincinnati

In Cincinnati with my biggest client, P&G”

Apologies to all those who didn’t watch sitcoms in the very early ’80s or re-runs before baseball games in the mid-to-late ’80s. And please forgive us for this terrible dad joke.

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