WPP shutters Grey Vancouver

WPP has closed Grey Vancouver, saying that it had become “financially unfeasible” to continue operating the seven-person agency.

Owen Dougherty, chief communications officer for Grey Group in New York, confirmed on Friday that the agency—which had been seeking a senior account director as recently as August—closed on Dec. 31.

In an e-mail statement to The Message, Dougherty described Grey Vancouver as a “service agency,” and said that Grey Group hopes to transfer some of its client work to its Grey and Tank operations in Toronto and Montreal.

The agency’s Vancouver office had done work with OK Tire, as well the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCHF) and B.C. Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA). It won a pair of awards for the latter two clients at the 2017 Western Canada Marketing & PR Awards: Integrated Campaign Led by PR for its “#JeanUp” campaign for the BCCHF, and Digital—Online Film Campaign for its “One Drop” campaign for the BCUOMA.

Helen Pak, president of Grey Toronto and chief creative officer for Grey Group Canada, said that Grey West—which consists of two offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles—will be “establishing a presence” in B.C. with some of its existing clients. Grey West is led by Alex Morrison.

Dougherty said that Grey Vancouver staffers were given one month’s notice of the closure, and that the company is working to find positions within WPP for laid off employees. “These decisions are never easy, and we appreciate the dedication and commitment of all involved,” he said.

WPP has been undergoing significant restructuring and cost cutting in recent months. Iconic agency brand J. Walter Thompson was merged with Wunderman and Y&R folded into VML. Last month, CEO Mark Read outlined a three-year plan that focused on cost savings and a simplification of the entire business, including eliminating 3,500 jobs and closing under-performing units.

David Brown