Deal Further Deepens WPP's Relationship With P&G

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Wunderman has acquired Bridge Worldwide, giving parent WPP Group another major marketing services foothold with the world’s biggest marketer, Procter & Gamble Co.
Bridge has been among Cincinnati’s fastest-growing marketing-services agencies in recent years, with 120 employees and estimated revenue of $12 million.

Top interactive shop
Bridge is among the top interactive shops for P&G, handling Web and other relationship-marketing programs for around 30 P&G brands, including PG.com and the multibrand PGBrandsaver and Health Expressions Web sites. The agency also handles work for Ross Products’ Ensure and Glucerna brands and Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Endosurgery and earlier this year joined the relationship-marketing roster of ConAgra Foods.

Terms of the Wunderman acquisition were not disclosed. The deal ultimately brings together the two agencies that handle PGBrandsaver; WPP's Landor Associates handles the offline newspaper insert and Bridge handles online work.

Bridge has been among Cincinnati’s fastest-growing marketing-services agencies in recent years, with 120 employees currently and estimated revenue of $12 million. Sales have doubled in the past four years and are on pace to triple in five, said Jay Woffington, president-CEO of Bridge Worldwide, who will maintain that title as his shop also maintains its name under Wunderman.

In 2005, he believes Bridge may surpass in terms of employment and revenue Cincinnati’s largest advertising agency, Northlich, which in 2001 tried to acquire Bridge in a deal that ultimately fell apart.

Serving P&G
WPP already does extensive work for P&G through Grey Global Group, acquired by WPP last year, and Landor, which also maintains a fast-growing Cincinnati office primarily to serve P&G. But WPP competitors had made major inroads in recent years on P&G’s marketing services business, including Omnicom Group’s Integer and Interbrand, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Draft Worldwide and Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi X.

Joining with Wunderman, with its network of 76 offices worldwide, gives Bridge an opportunity to expand its mainly North American relationships with P&G and its other Fortune 100 clients globally, Mr. Woffington said.

“This takes Bridge to the next level,” he said. “This really gives us the ability to fulfill on the worldwide aspect of Bridge.”

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