MWW: Agency Business Report 2015

MWW continued its international growth spurt in 2014, focused to this point on the UK market, and entered new specialty verticals in the US, as well.

CEO Michael Kempner
CEO Michael Kempner

Principal: Michael Kempner, CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: US: 8; Global: 1 in London
Revenue: Global: $56,715,000; US: $53,517,000
Headcount: Global: 248; US: 224

MWW continued its international growth spurt in 2014, focused to this point on the UK market, and entered new specialty verticals in the US, as well. After launching its UK presence in November 2013 by acquiring Parys Communications, MWW bought Braben Communications, a firm focused on the media, technology, and advertising sectors, a year later.

Stateside, the East Rutherford, New Jersey-based agency acquired digital agency Ideation in October, bringing on founder Robert Dilio as chief technology officer in the process.

Expanding its footprint
In March 2014, MWW grew its footprint in the LGBT market by acquiring Macias Media Group, with founder Stephen Macias joining MWW as SVP and LGBT lead. The deal quickly paid dividends when Hilton Worldwide brought on the firm to handle LGBT marketing and PR efforts across its brand portfolio. And, last summer, gay social network Scruff brought on MWW as AOR.

The firm also added technology, media, and advertising and technology innovations and development practice areas last year.

In terms of practice areas, MWW says its Bay Area-headquartered tech team was the best performing, with revenue up 18% from 2013. Consumer lifestyle marketing, up 14%, and corporate communications, increasing by 8%, were also key performers. Overall, the agency’s revenue was up 18.1% internationally from 2013 to $56.7 million, and increased 14.8% in the US to $53.5 million.

"The hardest thing about the Bay Area is creating a reputation as a firm where people want to work," he adds. "The competition for talent is so great."

To that end, MWW hired Molly Mulloy from Zeno Group in April of last year to co-lead its global technology practice. Other key hires included Lori Robinson, formerly of Spong, as a consumer SVP in New York; Bob Knott as EVP of marketing leadership and issues management; and Paul Tencher as SVP and national director of public affairs. MWW veteran Joe Cohen moved to Kind Healthy Snacks as SVP of comms in August.

Client wins included "a very significant win" as Red Lobster’s agency partner after the restaurant chain separated from former parent Darden Restaurants last summer, replacing Edelman, says Kempner. The firm was also named US AOR for Chinese 3D printing company XYZ and won work that includes a major consumer-focused campaign for Men’s Wearhouse this summer. Accounts lost in 2014 included Blackhawk Network, which took its comms in-house, and Sbarro, which entered Chapter 11. Seventy percent of accounts are on retainer.

"I’m very happy with our 2014 performance. I expect to do that well, if not better in 2015," he adds. 

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