BBDO creates new UK direct agency

LONDON - BBDO is conducting a major shakeup of its UK below-the-line operations to create a new agency called Proximity London.

BHWG Proximity, the direct marketing agency, sales promotion agency Clarke Hooper Momentum and interactive agency Traffic, are merging to create a single agency. The move follows the creation of the Proximity global network last year.

Simon Hall, the chairman and chief executive of Proximity Worldwide, will be chief executive of the merged agency. Barry Clarke, the chairman of Clarke Hooper Momentum, Colin Bareham, Clarke Hooper's managing director, Mark Wooding, client services director at Traffic and Warren Moore, creative director at Clarke Hooper, will all take board positions in the new agency alongside senior BHWG staff.

The agency has been formed to offer clients direct marketing, sales promotion and interactive solutions under one roof. Account handling, planning and creative departments are being fully integrated.

The move has resulted in around 30 job losses across the three Proximity agencies owing to duplication of some roles. The merger will create an agency with 335 staff and clients including Volkswagen, Alliance & Leicester, COI Communications,, and British Telecom.

Hall said: "What I hope is that this creates an agency with a breadth and depth of skills. Increasingly clients want to go to agencies that can fill their communications needs and what this does is bring together three best-of-breed agencies."

The three agencies will retain their brands under the Proximity name until the new agency becomes established.