After its NY office closure, the Martin Agency's London arm will now only service UPS

Martin revamps London offering

The Martin Agency has drastically altered the offering of its London outpost as it stops pitching for new work in order to solely service UPS, The Drum has learned.

The shake-up will see the agency's staff move out of its Belgravia office and into a shared space with parent holding company Interpublic Group (IPG).

It follows a tumultuous year that saw the Virginia-headquartered shop shutter its New York office in April 2017 and lose its chief creative officer in a storm of sexual harassment allegations.

The London arm was Martin’s first agency outside of the US. It launched in June 2014 as a full-service advertising business and set an ambitious target of £5-10m in revenue for its first year in business.

Industry talent including the likes of Adam&Eve/DDB's deputy executive creative director Daniel Fisher and Brian Williams (now of Karmarama) came through its doors as it won clients including Tetley, the WWF, Manpower Group and Education First, as well as project work for the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and Netflix.

However, reports filed with Company House showed the agency made an operating loss of £1.4m for the year ending 31 December 2016.

It also lost its first managing director, Olivia Browne, to Grey London last April.

Moving forward Martin London will exclusively serve UPS, its delivery service client since October 2016, with a strong focus on performance metrics marketing across the UK, Europe and Canada. The US team previously serviced the brand from 2000-09.

This switch in strategy will see Martin reconfigure the London team and its skill sets.

It would not confirm if jobs would be lost, with chief executive Kristen Cavallo simply telling The Drum that it's "going to make staff changes”.

“As we expand the relationship we may contract personnel as well as grow it, depending on the ROI models that we meet and if we can expand the relationship to other markets,” she said.

“So, I would say [the staffing situation] is fluid.”

Ian Davidson, Martin’s managing director, international – who is based in London – said that although the office will focus on UPS marketing, that “doesn’t mean to say some of those people won’t be able to help with some of the capabilities for other clients”.

“We might be able to tap London talent for other opportunities,” he added.

Based in Richmond, Virginia, the IPG closed its New York office last April after a decade in business. December saw Cavallo take over as chief executive after chief creative officer Joe Alexander departed under a cloud of sexual harassment accusations.

Former executive creative director Karen Costello was promoted to fill the role last Friday (26 January).

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