TBWA London merges with U.K. creative hotshop

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LONDON -- TBWA, the Omnicom-owned international network, is linking with London creative hotshop Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson in a move that will propel the new joint agency into the U.K. top 10 with claimed billings of around $350m.

This is the latest in a string of 21 acquisitions, mergers or start-ups by TBWA in the U.S., South America, Australia, the Far East and Eastern Europe that has seen the network triple in size over the past three years - the most significant of which was its merger with Chiat/Day in 1995.

Simons Palmer will bring a client list that includes Sony Playstation, Nike and Fuji to the new TBWA/Simons Palmer London, where it will meet TBWA's international accounts such as Nissan, Absolut Vodka, Wonderbra and Nivea. Paul Simons, chairman of Simons Palmer, who will be CEO of the new operation, claims the client lists "mesh perfectly".

"Like our marriage with Chiat Day in the U.S., this totally vindicates our global positioning as an international agency, to be the 'Challenger Brand'," says Alasdair Ritchie, CEO of TBWA Europe. "(This is) one of the strongest international creative networks strengthening even further one of its major strategic countries with the best young creative agency here. It's a case of Nike meets Wonderbra."

Simons Palmer was set up in 1988. It has helped establish other companies in the marketing sector such as media independent Manning Gotlieb Media (its stake will pass to the new agency), plus integrated ad agency Maher Bird Associates, predictive research company Headlight Vision and film production company The Mission, all of which are not involved in the merger.

Jonathan Hoare, chairman of TBWA, will become group chairman of the merged agency.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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