Frohlich: Ogilvy PR name to go within two months, but earned to remain 'incredibly important'

Ogilvy PR and other Ogilvy brands will likely disappear in the next couple of months in the UK, although earned media will remain "incredibly important" in the increasingly integrated business, new UK CEO Michael Frohlich has told PRWeek.

Michael Frohlich: Market conditions are 'quite buoyant'
Michael Frohlich: Market conditions are 'quite buoyant'

Frohlich, former EMEA CEO of Ogilvy PR, confirmed that the WPP agency’s UK business will follow moves elsewhere in the world and remove the sub-brands with the Ogilvy stable.

In January last year, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide chairman and CEO John Seifert said the global array of Ogilvy brands would consolidate into "a single, branded, integrated operating company", starting with the US and rolling out across other regions.

Announcing Frohlich’s appointment this week, Seifert said one of his goals was to drive home the One Ogilvy integrated operating system through a new brand proposition and identity that will be unveiled in the spring.

Frohlich told PRWeek: "Ogilvy will be known as Ogilvy; that means the Ogilvy PR, Ogilvy One, the Ogilvy advertising logos will be replaced by one single Ogilvy brand. That’s coming in the next couple of months, we hope.

"We are known as Ogilvy. Most people, most clients know us as Ogilvy, most of the world just knows us as Ogilvy. So we are reacting also to what our clients want and the ways our clients see us."

It means a top 10 UK PR agency will disappear as a standalone entity. Ogilvy PR was listed ninth in the most recent PRWeek UK Top 150 Consultancies table, with estimated revenue of £32.8m and headcount of 264 in 2016.

Frohlich said the idea of teams from different Ogilvy practice areas working together is "not a new way of working for us".

"What we will do is accelerate that, though, and look to do that across more clients that want it," he added. "But equally, there are clients that just want us to work on their PR business, and that’s totally fine too, and we’ll continue to do that."

Asked about priorities and new hires under his tenure, Frolich said: "In terms of our capabilities, in terms of everything from PR, digital, UX, brand, martech, our government area, health and wellness… all of them we will continue to focus on.

"An integrated business is only as good as its specialist capabilities. We will continue to invest, we will continue to grow. What that means, for hiring and new people, we’ll see."

He said the PR element of Ogilvy will remain "incredibly important", adding that "we are moving more and more to a fast, earned world".

"Having those earned capabilities embedded in the agency has been hugely important to us. And it’s something I’ve been proud of trying to build over the past six years, since I’ve been here. But the key is to focus on the commonality between all the specialities and capabilities, to be able to deliver for clients."

Frohlich was upbeat about recent trading, saying Ogilvy had a "great year last year" and "we are keeping that momentum going".

"We are finding the general market conditions actually quite buoyant at the moment, which is great. There’s a lot of opportunity, particularly around integrated pieces of work."

WPP is set to announce its full year results on 1 March. In its most recent results update, the company followed its rival holding groups in announcing a dip in revenues from its PR firms in Q3.

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