New Grey CEO Likes What He Sees

Grey Global Group has undergone big changes in the past year, from the merger with WPP to the more recent appointment of CEO Jim Heekin, former head of EuroRSCG, who takes over the reins from founder Ed Meyer. Appearing at AdForum's World Summit 2005 when he had been in the job for a matter of days, he already had many reasons for optimism.

"Grey is known as a smart firm, a competent firm, that gets great results for prestigious clients," Heekin said. "It has built marketing capabilities outside of advertising and can offer a holistic approach that will benefit clients."

Although Grey has not been known for its creative strength, Heekin said he was "delighted to find a wonderful creative vitality and freshness in New York," giving much of the credit to Tim Mellors, Creative Director, who has been with Grey for just a year.

Mellors then took the microphone to introduce the reel. After noting a few recent prestigious awards Grey had won, Mellors pointed out that business has always been at the heart of Grey. To prove his point, he sited the Ideas for Life campaign for Panasonic HDTV that took share from 12% to 58%, a Dairy Queen campaign that led to a 15% uplift in sales, and a Pringles repositioning that inspired a brilliant collaboration with Trivial Pursuit, a brand owned by Hasbro, another Grey client.

Representatives from Grey Synchronized Partners (G2 Worldwide, Grey Direct and Grey Interactive then showed their multi-faceted approaches to revitalizing the Kmart brand in the retailer's back-to-school campaign and the delivery of integrated marketing to Bell South through Grey Atlanta.

Heekin closed the presentation by defining his areas of focus: teamwork, collaboration and mutual respect; capability to develop brilliant strategies; demand magnificent ideas; relentless pursuit of talent; and winning. "Think of us when you want a firm that will win pitches by doing great work for your clients," he told the consultants.