Grey Stays a Force in Agency Wars as G2D2

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Grey Direct is adding more color to its personality.

The agency now calls itself G2 direct & digital -- or G2D2. The "G" stands for Grey, "2" for the next-generation version 2.0, "direct" for the shop's ongoing commitment to direct marketing and "digital" for interactive work that's core to its service offering.

"We wanted to augment the world's understanding that we're also a leading digital agency," said Larry Kimmel, worldwide chairman of G2D2, New York. "We're also aligning all of Grey's below-the-line business around the world under the G2 branding.

"Some of our operations had migrated to other names in the past few years," he said. "Now, all promotion, direct, retail marketing, interactive and brand design units will fall under the G2 master brand."

G2D2  serves clients like Pfizer, United Airlines, Procter & Gamble Co., BellSouth, Adobe, GlaxoSmithKline, Xerox and Princess Cruises. Services offered to these marketers include creative, strategy, media planning and buying, data analytics, sourcing and print production, Web site development and online marketing.

This is the first name change for Grey Direct since its founding in 1979. The agency's Grey Global Group parent in March 2005 was sold to British agency holding company WPP Group PLC  for $1.7 billion.

WPP, London, owns JWT and its RMG direct unit; Ogilvy & Mather and its OgilvyOne Worldwide and Ogilvy Interactive arms; and Young & Rubicam Brands and its Wunderman and RTCRM DM agencies.

Grey Direct's new G2D2 brand was unrelated to the WPP purchase, Mr. Kimmel said.

Meanwhile, sibling unit Grey Interactive also undergoes a makeover to G2 Interactive. The digital side of G2D2 will focus on its healthcare, financial services, business-to-business technology, retail, travel and loyalty practice areas. G2 Interactive works on online marketing for packaged goods clients.

"The changes include what's been happening over the past couple of years, but we've never publicized, including our growth as an interactive agency, our business vertical structure," Mr. Kimmel said. "Also, we're now better aligned to take advantage of our sister G2 company's capabilities in branding and design, promotion and retail marketing."

Wunderman was the last major DM agency to change its name: from Wunderman Cato Johnson to Impiric in 2000 during the dot-com heyday and finally to Wunderman in June 2001.

"The world is changing," Mr. Kimmel said. "Communications consumption and efficiency have changed dramatically ... those agencies that don't evolve risk becoming irrelevant."

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