Polansky: IPG PR firms register high-single-digit growth in Q1

The holding company also reorganized its agencies into three groups in the reporting period.

Polansky is set to retire in June.
Polansky is set to retire in June.

NEW YORK: The PR firms in Interpublic Group’s Specialized Communications and Experiential Solutions segment registered high-single-digit growth on an organic basis in Q1, according to Andy Polansky, Dxtra CEO and Weber Shandwick executive chairman.

That compares to low-single-digit growth in Q1 2021.

The Specialized Communications and Experiential Solutions segment posted a 12.5% organic revenue increase in Q1 2022 to $336.3 million.

“In the segment, events and sports and entertainment led the way, driven by a return of live events, continuing as we emerge from the pandemic,” Polansky said.

The PR firms’ growth was driven by a particularly strong performance in North America. From a sector perspective, automotive, consumer packaged goods, financial services and healthcare were the strongest performers, Polansky said.

The Golin Group’s agency brands, including Golin, Virgo Health, The Brooklyn Brothers and DeVries Global, registered double-digit growth in Q1, he said.

“They have been a standout performer with respect to new business over the past two years,” he added.

In Q1, Golin won work from Grubhub and NAPA Auto Parts. The firm promoted George Bryant, founding partner and chief creative officer of The Brooklyn Brothers, to the newly created role of group chief creative officer.

The Weber Shandwick Collective, which houses Weber Shandwick, United Minds, Powell Tate, Revive, Resolute Digital, Flipside, ThatLot, KRC Research and Cappuccino, also saw a “strong performance” in the quarter, Polansky said. Its top 40 client portfolio and more than 20 of its units achieved double-digit growth, he added.

Key hires at Weber Shandwick in Q1 included Chris Deri as chief corporate affairs officer and president of its C-suite advisory service and Ridhi Malhotra as global head of analytics and intelligence. 

“We continue to see robust growth in United Minds,” said Polansky. “Weber Shandwick also won significant new assignments from a number of brands including a new assignment from GSK for the global launch of a new treatment for chronic kidney disease anemia.”

Highlights for Current Global included winning GSK’s research and development business and working on a campaign with Hidden Valley Ranch that revealed “The Ranch Diamond.”

Rogers & Cowan/PMK saw double-digit organic growth in Q1, Polansky said. One of the firm’s highlights was launching the four-part Apple TV+ docuseries “They Call Me Magic,” about NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Polansky added that Dxtra Health Integrated Solutions continues to see “strong momentum.

IPG has a new financial reporting structure, which took effect in Q1. The company previously was comprised of two units, Interactive Agency Networks and Dxtra, but it broke its agencies into three groups in Q1: Media Data and Engagement Solutions; Integrated Advertising and Creativity Led Solutions; and Specialized Communications and Experiential Solutions.

The Specialized Communications and Experiential Solutions segment houses IPG Dxtra and includes brands such as Weber Shandwick, Golin, DeVries Global, Current Global, Rogers & Cowan/PMK, ReviveHealth, United Minds, Jack Morten, Momentum, Octagon and Dxtra Health Integrated Solutions. FutureBrand, which used to sit under Dxtra, was moved under the Integrated Advertising and Creativity Led Solutions segment. 

“The new segments aggregate like-with-like units to help investors understand how the company is performing,” Polansky said. “But this doesn’t reflect how we go to market. We continue to provide integrated solutions segments across IPG as part of our open architecture solutions.”

The holding company overall reported net revenue of $2.23 billion, up 11.5% on an organic basis year-over-year, and net income of $159.4 million.

In Q1, geographically, the holding company experienced an increase in revenue of 12.2% in the U.S., 21.5% in Latin America, 1.5% in the U.K, 9.4% in Continental Europe, 9.2% in Asia Pacific and 19.9% in all other markets.

Polansky is set to retire in June from his roles as Dxtra CEO and Weber Shandwick executive chairman. 

“As I prepare to retire from the business, I am continuing to work with [IPG CEO Philippe Krakowsky] on transition issues and I feel terrific about the strong teams we have across the portfolio,” Polansky said. “This is a strong start to the year, and as we look to the future I feel really bullish about how we are positioned in the marketplace and the momentum we are seeing in the business.”

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