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ABR 2011: Promixity Worldwide

Principals: Andrew Robertson, CEO, BBDO Worlwide and former chairman of Proximity (pictured); Chris Thomas, global chairman; Andrew Bailey, North America chairman
Ownership: BBDO Worldwide (Omnicom Group)
Offices: 62 majority owned globally; 4 in US


Proximity Worldwide, the digitally focused direct marketing arm of Omnicom Group’s BBDO Worldwide network, made a major move into the US market two years ago when it aligned with Atmosphere BBDO in New York.

Founded in 2000, Proximity grew up in the digital age and offers the full spectrum of digital creative work, including digital advertising, search, strategy and planning, email, data and analytics and design. Unlike some of its competitors, it does not want to be known as a technology firm, says Andrew Robertson, CEO of BBDO Worldwide. [Editor’s note: As we went to press, Proximity added a new worldwide and North American chairman. Both executives are listed on left.]


Proximity has picked up new accounts from BlackBerry, Western Union Holdings and Warner Music Group Digital. Last summer, it helped BBDO win a major account from Johnson & Johnson for its baby care products. It also grew work from existing clients, such as new social media responsibilities with State Farm Insurance. Account losses included some digital duties for The Hertz Corp.


Proximity had roughly 70 people in the US prior to joining with Atmosphere. Today, it has 390 employees across its six North American offices.


The majority of Proximity’s revenues continue to reside outside of the US. Robertson declined to provide exact figures, but says the agency had a “strong year.” Platform-based digital CRM, showed particularly good growth he says, while direct mail showed the least. Organic growth remains a vital part of its strategy, he adds. “When you look at the top 20 clients around the world, 17 of them grew in 2010 compared with 2009.”

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