Interpublic Targets P&G With DeVries Global Rollout
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Interpublic Targets P&G With DeVries Global Rollout

Interpublic Group is aiming to broaden its business with Procter & Gamble through the expansion of its third international PR network, DeVries Global.

Arun Sudhaman

NEW YORK--Interpublic Group is aiming to broaden its business with Procter & Gamble through the expansion of its third international PR network, DeVries Global.

DeVries, which is believed to earn as much as $20m of P&G income in North America, is to be transferred considerable resources and assets from other IPG PR agencies, in a bid to develop its 26-year relationship with the FMCG giant into a truly global business.

Over the past three years, it is understood that IPG has serviced P&G globally by combining DeVries’ US offer with Weber Shandwick’s global network. That situation will now change, led by a dedicated DeVries “micro-network” with separate offices in Europe and Asia, building on DeVries’ status as P&G’s largest agency partner in North America.

In Europe, this means that IPG’s Slam PR will be rebranded DeVries Slam, led by Slam MD Helena Bloomer. It is understood that Slam recently won a P&G assignment in London.

Perhaps the bigger development, though, is in Asia, where P&G is Weber Shandwick’s largest regional client. Weber’s P&G team will now shift to DeVries Global, under the leadership of account lead Michelle Tham.

In addition to Singapore, where Tham is based, DeVries will operate offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, supplemented by satellite offices in India, Japan and Taiwan. All told, at least 40 Weber staffers are expected to transfer to the firm.

Key P&G brands that DeVries currently handles include Olay, Pantene, SK-II, Head & Shoulders, Wella, Downy and Tide. At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, it helped create and launch P&G’s now-iconic ‘Thank You Mom’ campaign.

The firm will also aim to build a combined offering with two IPG sister firms - sports marketing shop Octagona and experiential agency Jack Morton - to provide P&G with a broad range of marketing and communications services.

The agency’s expansion is headed by long-term leader Jim Allman, who was announced as chairman of DeVries Global earlier this year. Tham and Bloomer join a leadership team that also includes New York-based CEO Stephanie Smirnov, global CFO Michael Thomas and Ivette Sanz Osso, senior director of global client services.

“Both DeVries and Slam have deep expertise in the consumer and lifestyle categories,” said Harris Diamond, CEO of the CMG group in which IPG houses its public relations and specialist marketing firms. “That knowledge, along with Michele's leadership in Asia, Helena’s in London and Stephanie’s  in the US, will give global marketers an extra edge in the ever-changing consumer space.”

The move comes after Edelman’s recent global rollout of Zeno, which also saw staff and resources transfer around the world. While Edelman is a Unilever roster agency, the expansion of Zeno allows it to handle P&G business in China.

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