Agencies

This year’s biggest agency news, executive moves, and account changes

Shifts at Havas, Spotify, and more.
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Hannah Minn

3 min read

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Between industry scandals, major agency restructures, and AI crashing the party, 2023 proved to be eventful for adland. Marketing Brew compiled some of the biggest happenings from the past 12 months.

Hires and departures

February: UM tapped Sasha Savic, a Mediacom alum, to be its global CEO—but he left the role just a few months later in June.

July: Jon Dupuis joined independent agency PMG as its first president. He was formerly CEO of Dentsu Creative Americas and global president of Dentsu McGarryBowen.

October: WPP fired Chief Investment Officer Rycan Di over alleged bribery after Chinese police raided GroupM’s Shanghai outpost.

Also in October, McCann’s Pierre Lipton left his co-CCO role at its New York arm to become global ECD of McCann Worldgroup. The shift came after he was embroiled in scandal for typing “this is so f***ing boring” in the chatbox of an internal DE&I webinar.

And in the same month, DDB Worldwide brought on Alex Lubar as its global CEO and chairman. He was formerly its global president and COO.

Account wins, losses, and reviews

May: Publicis Groupe beat out incumbent Dentsu for LVMH’s North American media account, overseeing brands like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.

June: Deutsch New York lost its lucrative PNC Bank account to ad outfit Arnold Worldwide, after which it fired nearly 20% of its workforce in October.

September: Uber chose Omnicom to lead its $600 million ad-buying account, replacing EssenceMediacom.

Also in September, Havas won Shell’s account worth approximately $240 million, after climate activism groups protested the agencies participating in the oil company’s review. GroupM formerly held the account.

In the same month, Amazon began a review of its global media account. The incumbent was IPG’s Mediabrands.

October: MullenLowe re-upped its military recruitment marketing contract with the Department of Defense; it totals up to $454 million.

November: Spotify started shopping for a new global AOR, parting with IPG Mediabrands’ UM.

Also in November, Barbie’s creative account went into review. The Mattel brand’s previous affiliated agencies include BBDO and R/GA.

New divisions, offices, acquisitions, etc.

January: EssenceMediacom debuted after WPP announced the merger of marketing shops Essence and MediaCom last year.

August: Dentsu underwent a restructure affecting roughly 1,000 roles.

Also in August, influencer agency Captiv8, which spearheaded the controversial Bud Light partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, made workplace cuts. The beer brand, meanwhile, worked with marketing outfit Anomaly on a summer campaign as it sought to rehabilitate its image.

October: Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R merged to form VML.

Also in October, Omnicom undertook its largest acquisition ever, buying e-commerce ship Flywheel Digital for a cool $835 million.

November: Speaking of acquisitions, Stagwell purchased creative and social agency Movers+Shakers—and the newly acquired firm’s owners promptly had to distance themselves from the NXIVM cult after they admitted participating in one of its leadership training courses in the 2010s

Get marketing news you'll actually want to read

Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.