2001 Rating: 2 stars
Economically challenging for most, 2002 was the reverse for Grey. The Grey Global Group agency logged $430 million in net new billings, winning additional assignments from longstanding client Procter & Gamble Co., including Clairol, Torengos and Zest. The New York-based agency also seized new business in several significant sectors-airlines (Frontier Airlines), telecommunications (BellSouth Corp.) and network services (Cisco Systems). New offices opened in Atlanta, with the acquisition of 360 Thinc, and Seattle. Creatively, a fun "Isn't life juicy?" Starburst campaign for Mars combated threats from Kraft Foods' LifeSavers and Hershey Foods' Jolly Rancher.
Contrasting the upside: Cisco moved from Grey's San Francisco office in late August to WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather. A U.S. Justice Department investigation has resulted in indictments of three former Grey employees. Charges include bid rigging and contract allocation. One has pled guilty. In November, Justice ordered a former Grey vendor, The Color Wheel, to pay Grey $1.1 million as restitution. Grey management is cooperating with Justice Department investigators.
Expect the probe to continue in 2003. P&G keeps Grey attractive to suitors, but rumors of a possible sale won't whirl till the Justice Department investigation wraps up.