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4 Stagwell agencies merge under Crispin Porter + Bogusky name, with new NA president

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By Kendra Barnett | Senior Reporter

April 24, 2023 | 6 min read

Stagwell aims to strengthen Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s integrated capabilities and supercharge growth as it lumps MMI, Observatory and Vitro into the CP+B brand.

Maggie Malek and Brad Simms

Maggie Malek and Brad Simms are ready to take on their newest challenge at CP+B / Stagwell

Three agencies from the Stagwell network are coming together under the Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) banner as part of the group’s efforts to evolve into a fully-integrated agency. The development will bring new media, influencer, creator and entertainment capabilities to the 35-year-old agency.

Stagwell announced today that it‘s bringing creative shop Vitro; entertainment, creative and strategy agency Observatory; and media, performance and influencer agency MMI together as part of CP+B. Under the new structure, Observatory will keep its branding as a unique offering, while the Vitro and MMI brands will be sunsetted.

The restructuring decision, CP+B said in a press announcement, was made “in response to the demands of modern marketers who are seeking simplicity, integration and breakthrough creativity.” The agency believes that the unique strengths of MMI, Vitro and Observatory will help CP+B deliver on these objectives.

“For the past six months, we’ve been reviewing our portfolio of brands in response to the growing demand for integrated solutions that perform across creative, media, and communications,” Brad Simms, CP+B’s global chief exec, said in a statement shared with The Drum. “This move reclaims CP+B’s transformational DNA, and integrates MMI’s media and performance marketing, Vitro’s boutique creative and Observatory’s branded entertainment capabilities.”

Simms’ confidence in the move is likely bolstered by the fact that all three agencies have seen significant growth over the past 12 to 24 months. Vitro picked up Holiday Inn and Bosch as clients and grew its business by 10%; MMI doubled its business from 2022 to 2023, winning 22 new clients; and Observatory recorded double-digit growth.

The newly revamped CP+B also comes with a new leader: Maggie Malek, the former chief executive at MMI, was today named North America president.

“As the forces around us spark new technologies, channels and demand for integrated solutions, it's invigorating to marry CP+B’s innovative creative spirit with complementary talent and capabilities across media, branded entertainment, content and creator marketing,” said Malek in a statement.

CP+B, the iconic Stagwell-owned agency that put Miami on the industry’s map in the late 1980s, has been on a roll in recent months. Since August 2022, the agency has snapped up a handful of high-profile clients including Dropbox, Nasonex and Plackers – building on its existing roster, which is moored by big names like Amazon, Marriott, Procter & Gamble and Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky.

Malek believes the new, bigger CP+B will only help to accelerate this growth. “Breaking through for brands requires the melding of performance and possibility. Our new CP+B team can do that like few others in the industry, and I’m eager to showcase what working with us can unlock for brands,” she said.

Joining Malek are a handful of other leaders coming on board from Stagwell. Tom Sullivan, the former chief exec of Vitro, will serve as chief growth officer for North America; Brendan Shields-Shimizu, the former chief exec of Observatory, will come on as chief innovation officer for North America; and Laura Eder, the former chief operating officer of MMI, will adopt the same role for CP+B North America. Josh Braithwaite will stay on board as CP+B’s chief creative officer for North America.

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The teams from MMI, Observatory and Vitro have already been working in collaboration with leaders at CP+B on a handful of projects over the last few months, for clients including Procter & Gamble and Chipotle.

Stagwell’s chief exec Mark Penn is bullish on the future of the agency. “CP+B is the original challenger brand and core to the fabric of Stagwell,” he said in a statement. “I’ve said it before and will say it again: we believe in the CP+B brand and with talented leaders like Brad and Maggie at the helm, I’m confident the future of CP+B is bright. Throughout the network, we continue to find ways to support our agency brands in their growth trajectory while building more seamless solutions for clients to help the modern marketer win.”

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