Flamingo Group, the international consultancy that became part of Omnicom just over 10 years ago, has moved to close 7 of its 8 offices around the world. The reason for the move is the organization’s inability to reach unspecified revenue goals.
Omnicom acquired Flamingo in January of 2007, paying an estimated $18+ million for a network that had offices in Singapore and San Francisco beyond its London headquarters. The company, which was founded by market research veterans Maggie Collier and Kirsty Fuller ten years before the sale, was in the process of opening its Tokyo office at the time.
A holding company spokesperson provided the following statement:
Omnicom has decided to close Flamingo’s underperforming offices in New York, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Mumbai and Jakarta to focus on growth opportunities in London. The agency is working closely with its people and clients in those offices to ensure a smooth transition. Flamingo will be placing a renewed focus on its presence in London, building on its foundation of a strong agency culture and great client work.
The parties who brought the news to our attention claimed that the network was going through “serious financial difficulties,” and the statement above would appear to back that up.
As soon as Omnicom bought Flamingo, it began an Asian expansion with offices in Shanghai, Mumbai and Jakarta.
Despite the closings and aforementioned revenue problems, Flamingo’s London office announced major hires as recently as last month, when Desiree Lopez—former CEO of UK-based market research firm TNS BMRB—came aboard in the newly created role of head of behavioral and social strategy.
The company’s self-description read:
The world’s most successful businesses shape culture, enrich lives and evolve behaviours. So we work at the intersection of culture, people and brands. We draw on our specialisms – from People Insight, Semiotics, Cultural Intelligence and Digital Forensics – to provide a unique and informed lens on the world.
Flamingo was brought on to provide qualitative and other research services for Omnicom clients like Unilever and Pepsi, but also had its own client roster with a particular focus on local businesses in the regions represented by its various offices. It also worked on internal Omnicom research projects like recent initiatives regarding women in leadership positions.
According to its LinkedIn page, Flamingo employed more than 200 around the world, though we hear that most individual offices were far smaller. Some of these employees may be relocated to London in the weeks to come.
The exact reason for the larger network’s financial underperformance is unclear at this time.