Will WPP end up with AKQA Grey after all?

Some of the troops at WPP are seemingly revolting over new entity AKQA Group (which has absorbed venerable 100-year plus agency Grey) and, more worrying for CEO Mark Read perhaps, biggest client of the merged agency Procter & Gamble is reportedly not best pleased either.

P&G and pharma giant GSK have been the mainstays of Grey over the years and the chief reason founder and former CEO Sir Martin Sorrell bought the agency for $1.5bn back in 2004.

We don’t know why P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard is displeased: maybe it’s just the Grey name being ‘retired,’ more likely it’s a fear that if AKQA is the senior partner in the internal merger it will bear the brunt of the job cuts and general retrenchment that usually accompany such moves.

When the merger was announced it seemed odd that WPP hadn’t gone for AKQA Grey, which trips off the tongue rather more easily than VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson. And Group doesn’t mean anything really.

Soon after the merger was announced WPP said that the Grey brand would hang around for a while in some parts of the world, testimony perhaps to the discontent. WPP CEO Read and AKQA Group boss Ajaz Ahmed might do well to essay some quick backtracking, embarrassing although it will be.

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