IPG PR firms register mid-single-digit growth in Q4 and 2023

The holding company posted organic net revenue growth of 1.7% for Q4 and a 0.1% organic decrease of net revenue for the full year.

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NEW YORK: The PR firms in Interpublic Group’s Specialized Communications and Experiential Solutions division registered mid-single-digit growth on an organic basis in Q4 and for the full year, according to an IPG spokesperson.

In comparison, the agencies saw mid-single-digit growth on an organic basis in the year-ago quarter and high-single-digit growth for the full year 2022.

The Specialized Communications and Experiential Solutions group includes Dxtra Health and agency brands The Weber Shandwick Collective, Golin, Current Global, DeVries Global and R&CPMK, as well as sports and events specialist shops such as Jack Morton, Momentum and Octagon.

The holding company posted organic net revenue growth of 1.7% for Q4 2023 to $3 billion, and a 0.1% organic decrease of net revenue for the full year to $10.9 billion. This compares to Q4 2022, when IPG posted organic net revenue growth of 3.8% to $2.5 billion and 7% for full year 2022 to $10.9 billion.

The holding company’s Q4 net income as-reported was $463.2 million, compared to $297.2 million in 2022, $357.9 million in 2021, $117 million in 2020 and $342.2 million in 2019. For the full year, net income was $1.09 billion, up from $938 million in 2022. In 2021, full year net income was $972.8 million, in 2020 it was $354.2 million and it was $673.9 million in 2019.

Interpublic Group’s Specialized Communications and Experiential Solutions segment overall posted a 2.9% organic revenue increase in Q4 to $369.8 million, on top of 3.6% a year ago. For the full year, the segment’s revenue went up 4.1% organically to $1.4 billion, compounding 8.6% organic growth in 2022.

Growth was across all segment disciplines, including PR, experiential and sports marketing, said an IPG spokesperson.

Among the company’s PR firms, Golin had “exceptionally strong growth” in Q4 2023 and for the full year, said the spokesperson. In October, financial services giant Fidelity Investments hired Golin and Bully Pulpit Interactive to bolster its U.S. PR efforts after a months-long competitive review.

The Weber Shandwick Collective, which houses Weber Shandwick, United Minds, Powell Tate, Resolute Digital, Flipside, ThatLot, KRC Research and Cappuccino, saw “strong mid-single-digit growth” globally in Q4, said the IPG spokesperson. This was driven by its healthcare portfolio, including a key AOR appointment from Walgreens and a new engagement from an existing client, Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

“Weber Shandwick orchestrated a highly successful Pop-Tarts Bowl campaign — generating substantial buzz and becoming Kellanova’s most successful earned campaign to date,” the spokesperson said.

Additionally, Weber Shandwick's Futures team launched its AI Accelerator, aimed at helping communications and marketing leaders advance their organizations’ unique GenAI journeys.

In November, Weber Shandwick sold healthcare specialist agency Revive to BPD, a health-focused marketing agency and a portfolio company of private equity firm WindRose Health Investors.

In 2023, Octagon secured $4.5 billion in talent contracts and sponsorships, notably a three-year $186 million contract extension for NBA legend Giannis Antetokounmpo with the Milwaukee Bucks. In Q4, Octagon also onboarded new brand clients including Subway and “significantly expanded” its work with existing clients such as Snickers and the Premier League, said an IPG spokesperson.

Meanwhile, R&CPMK continued to work with major names in the entertainment industry, securing new talent and brand clients such as Whoop, Moonbug Entertainment and Real Mesa. Additionally, the firm’s clients received more than 85 nominations across awards such as the Golden Globe, Emmy, Academy and Grammy Awards, featuring notable names such as Brie Larson, Michael B. Jordan, Elton John and The Rolling Stones, the IPG spokesperson said.

In Q4, the holding company reported an organic increase in revenue of 0.1% in the U.S., 15% in Latin America, 0.4% in the U.K., 11.7% in Continental Europe, a decrease of 1.5% in Asia-Pacific and a fall of 1.4% in all other markets. For the full year, IPG reported an organic decrease in revenue of 1.1% in the U.S., increases of 8.2% in Latin America, 1.8% in the U.K, 2.2% in Continental Europe, 2.4% in all other markets and a fall of 2.7% in Asia-Pacific.

IPG CEO Philippe Krakowsky said in a statement that the company expects organic net revenue growth for 2024 in a range of 1% to 2%.

Rival holding company Omnicom Group’s PR firms posted an organic revenue decrease of 2.9% in Q4 2023 to $417.4 million and a fall of 0.8% for the full year to $1.58 billion. Omnicom’s PR firms include FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, Mercury, Porter Novelli and Cone. WPP is set to report its Q4 and full year earnings this month. Publicis Group, which does not break out revenue for its PR firms, reported its earnings Thursday morning.

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