BBH (Bartle Bogle Hegarty), creators of iconic advertising campaigns such as “Vorsprung durch Technik” for Audi, “Keep Walking” for Johnnie Walker, “To Fly. To Serve” for British Airways, “The Axe Effect” for Axe and “The Web is what you make of it” for Google, have been fully acquired by Publicis Groupe.
The agency was founded in London in 1982 by John Bartle, Nigel Bogle and Sir John Hegarty – hence the name – and it soon became one of the most acclaimed advertising companies in the world. This year alone it won 21 Cannes Lions. During the past thirty years, the agency’s London branch was named by Campaign magazine ‘Agency of the Year’ six times, an absolute record. The list of accolades could go on.
Publicis Groupe previously held a 49% stake of the company, and has finality acquired the rest 51% of the shares of the Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) network. In a separate transaction, the group also acquired 100% of the shares of NEOGAMA/BBH in Brazil (34% from BBH and 66% from its founder, Alexandre Gama and his partners).
“Publicis Groupe has been a good partner to BBH and NEOGAMA/BBH over the past ten years; we’ve managed to understand the rare and special company ethos of BBH, its symbol (the black sheep) and its community of men and women, who are recognized as some of the best professionals in our industry. Faithful to our motto, “Viva la Difference,” we have decided, together with Nigel, John and Alexandre, to engineer an integration that will preserve and protect their specific culture, their working methods, and the characteristics of the agencies through an approach of “autonomy inside” the Groupe,” explained Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe.
BBH’s management will continue to be independent, continuing development of the network with support of Publicis Groupe’s resources, that will help accelerate growth both geographically and via the expansion of its capabilities into more diverse areas.
A few changes at management level have been announced: Alexandre Gama will succeed Sir John Hegarty as Worldwide Chief Creative Officer (WCCO); Simon Sherwood, previously Group Chief Executive Officer, takes over as Group Chairman; Gwyn Jones becomes Group Chief Executive Officer; and Neil Munn, CEO of BBH’s brand ventures company Zag, takes on the Group Chief Operating Officer role in addition to his current role.
The Board of the BBH holding company will consist of three members of the Publicis Groupe Management Board – Maurice Lévy, Jean-Yves Naouri, and Jean-Michel Etienne – as well as Steve King, Global CEO of ZenithOptimedia, Nigel Bogle, Sir John Hegarty and Simon Sherwood. Publicis of course owns MSL Group as well as other market-leading Public Relations companies.