Must-know: An overview of Interpublic Group’s businesses

Interpublic Group’s (IPG) companies specialize in consumer advertising, digital marketing, communications planning and media buying, public relations, and specialized communications disciplines.

Samantha Nielson - Author

Oct. 29 2019, Updated 11:22 p.m. ET

Interpublic Group’s businesses

Paul Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management disclosed an activist position in the advertising firm Interpublic Group. According to unconfirmed sources it’s looking at pushing to sell the company.


Interpublic Group’s (IPG) companies specialize in consumer advertising, digital marketing, communications planning and media buying, public relations, and specialized communications disciplines. The company oversees 95 agencies in total.

The company has two reportable segments—Integrated Agency Networks (or IAN) and Constituency Management Group (or CMG).

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  • IAN comprises McCann Worldgroup, Foote, Cone & Belding (or FCB), Lowe & Partners, IPG Mediabrands, digital specialist agencies, and domestic integrated agencies.
  • The Marketing services division CMG comprises Weber Shandwick, Golin, Jack Morton, FutureBrand, Octagon, and other specialist marketing services offerings.

Interpublic’s three global networks, McCann Worldgroup, FCB, and Lowe & Partners provide integrated, large-scale advertising and marketing agencies. The company’s domestic integrated independent agencies also include some of advertising’s most recognized agency brands, including Carmichael Lynch, Deutsch, Hill Holliday, The Martin Agency, and Mullen.

  • Among Interpublic’s creative agencies, McCann Worldgroup is a leading global marketing solutions network that operates in more than 100 countries, with many of the world’s most famous brands as its clients. The agency includes McCann Erickson, which focuses on digital communications and customer relationship management, Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s largest public relations firms, and FutureBrand, a brand consulting and design company. It also includes Momentum, which oversees event marketing and promotion, McCann Health, which directs professional and consumer healthcare communications, and Craft Worldwide, which is the network’s global adaptation and production arm.
  • FCB is a modern agency model for clients seeking creative and accountable marketing programs. It has its roots in both creative, brand-building consumer advertising and behavioral, data-driven direct marketing. In 2013, FCB saw management changes and acquired Inferno, a premier creative agency, which will enable the network to better serve global clients.
  • Lowe and Partners is a premier creative agency with global creative rankings and strong local operations in major key markets.

Interpublic’s media operations are reorganized under IPG Mediabrands, which is a global media holding company and a full-service media network based upon a “Pay-for-Performance” model. IPG Mediabrands manages and invests $36 billion in global media on behalf of its clients. It operates businesses in more than 127 countries. Its roster of specialty service agencies including Magna Global, Mediabrands Audience Platform (Cadreon, Reprise Media, Ansible, Spring Creek Group), IPG Media Lab, Ensemble, and Identity. Its portfolio of agencies including UM, Initiative, BPN, ORION Holdings, ID Media, and Media Partnership.

Agencies see management changes

In November, 2012, Interpublic announced a number of senior management changes at its McCann Worldgroup unit. The changes were brought about as McCann and FCB, which accounted for around 45% of Interpublic’s revenue, were seeing key client losses and were unable to win new accounts. Interpublic said in its 2013 annual filing that it moved Lowe to a hub model, focused on a smaller and more strategic global footprint, and revamped its management team in an effort to turn around its operating performance. Once this approach began to yield positive results, Lowe’s capabilities were enhanced in the key Brazil and UK markets through acquisitions. In the U.S., Lowe was aligned with Campbell Ewald to service and source multinational clients.

In 2013, the company’s five largest clients were General Motors (GM), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), L’Oréal (LRLCY), Microsoft (MSFT), and Unilever (or UL).




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