Grey Global Group

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Grey Group
Industry Advertising, Marketing
Founded 1917 (1917)
Headquarters 200 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
, U.S.
Key people
James R. Heekin III, Chairman & CEO
Services Brand management, Marketing strategy, Creative development, Direct marketing, Public relations, Public affairs, Digital marketing, Production
Revenue 1.307 billion USD (2003)
Number of employees
Parent WPP plc
Subsidiaries Grey, G2, GHG, GCI Group, MediaCom Worldwide, Alliance, G WHIZ, WING, Grey EMEA, ArcTouch

Grey Group is a global advertising and marketing agency with headquarters in New York City, and 432 offices in 96 countries, operating in 154 cities[1] — organized into four geographical units: North America; Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.[2]

As a unit of communications conglomerate WPP Group, Grey Global Group operates branded independent business units in many communications disciplines including: advertising, direct marketing, public relations, public affairs, brand development, customer relationship management, sales promotion, interactive marketing — through its subsidiaries: Grey, G2, GHG, GCI Group, MediaCom Worldwide, Alliance, G WHIZ, and WING.

Grey Group’s international clients include: Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Nokia, British American Tobacco, Diageo, Volkswagen, Novartis, Wyeth, Canon, DirecTV, and 3M.[3]

The company has won: 10 Cannes Lions; beside the Addy, Clio and one Emmy Award.[3] Grey Group's European network, Grey EMEA, won 26 Euro EFFIE awards, and is the five-time Euro EFFIE Agency Network of the Year, in four consecutive years of 2005–2008 [4] and again in 2012 [5]


Founded in 1917 (1917) by Larry Valenstein and Arthur Fatt, Grey Global Group began as a direct marketing company named Grey Studios, reflecting the color of the wall of its original quarters, changing to Grey Advertising in 1925.

In 1956 (1956), Grey acquired its first major client, Procter & Gamble. Through the 1960s and 1970s, Grey continued to acquire such major accounts, and grew into related communication fields. In 1970 (1970), Edward Meyer became CEO and would remain in that position for 36 years.[6]

In 1988 (1988), the offshore operation, London-based Grey Communications Group, recruited Barry Chapman as Group IS Director. In 1989 (1989) Chapman developed the New Media Experiment. Chapman explored the use of the internet as an alternative to traditional advertising media putting Grey at the forefront of the internet revolution.

In 2000 (2000), Grey Advertising became Grey Global Group. On March 7, 2005 (2005-03-07), WPP Group beat out Havas in a race to acquire Grey Global, the seventh-largest advertising agency at the time,[citation needed] for approximately $1.3 billion USD.

In late 2005 (2005), James R. Heekin III became CEO of Grey Worldwide, Grey Global Group's traditional advertising agency. On January 1, 2007 (2007-01-01), he became Chairman and CEO of Grey Group, the renamed agency holding company.[3] He reports to Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group.

Grey Group, Grey Advertising New York and G2 moved to a LEED certified building at 200 5th Avenue in New York in November 2009, after 45 years at their previous location.[7]

Grey San Francisco is the company's San Francisco-based West Coast headquarters[8] Grey San Francisco's clients include Symantec,[9] LendingTree,[10] Pernod Ricard,[11] and SunEdison.[12]

In 2016, Grey acquired ArcTouch, a mobile design and development studio, which it operates as a subsidiary.[13]


In 2010, Grey was listed on Fast Company's "50 Most Innovative Companies". In 2010, it was added to Advertising Age's "Agency A-List". In 2006, Grey was awarded 12 "Spots of the Week" by Ad Age, which placed it second-highest overall.


In 2016, Grey for Good, Grey Group's philanthropic communications division, created a hoax app, called "I SEA," that claimed to use crowdsourcing to help the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.[14] After it was debunked by developers, Apple store pulled the app on the same day it was awarded a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Lions festival.[15]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the AMC series Mad Men, Duck Phillips joins Grey Advertising after being dumped by Sterling Cooper. The agency is frequently referenced as a chief competitor of Sterling Cooper throughout the series.
  • In episode three of the 2010 series of BBC Three's Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum, the young adults spend a day at Grey Advertising working on a mock sexual health campaign.
  • Lana Del Rey was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant in New York City on June 21, 1985, to former Grey Group copywriter turned entrepreneur, Rob Grant, and former Grey account executive, Pat Grant.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nirvik Singh appointed Chairman & CEO of Grey Group Asia Pacific" (Press release). WPP. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  2. ^ "Grey Company Profile". WPP. Retrieved 5 January 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Grey Global Group appoints James R. Heekin III Chairman and CEO" (Press release). WPP. 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  4. ^ "Grey EMEA named Agency Network of the Year" (Press release). WPP. 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  5. ^ "Grey EMEA scoops Agency of the Year Award" (Press release). EACA Euro Effies. 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  6. ^ Elliott, Stuart (2006-12-12). "After 36 Years at Grey, Time for Life No. 2". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  7. ^ "Grey Global Moves Into LEED-CS-Hopeful Toy Building at 200 Fifth Avenue". gbnyc. 2009-11-02. Archived from the original on November 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  8. ^
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  13. ^ Group, Grey. "Grey Group Acquires Mobile Experiences Studio ArcTouch". Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  14. ^ Hern, Alex (2016-06-21). "Refugee rescue app pulled from App Store after it is outed as fake". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  15. ^ "Apple Pulled This App From iTunes the Same Day It Won a Lion at Cannes". AdWeek. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 

External links[edit]