At the time, Grey hailed the idea as a radical rethink, which would offer the personalised client service of a small agency within a big agency structure, and hoped that the move would help to bury the agency's reputation, which had long been synonymous with its name.
The offices of each new unit were painted in the appropriate colour and lights in the lifts even changed colour as they moved between floors.
The idea was even mooted as a template that other Grey agencies around the world could follow.
But Grey confirmed this week that it had ended the experiment because it was hampering the free flow of good ideas across the agency. The creative department, which had been divided between the units, has been reunited.
However, Steve Richards, Grey's managing director, dismissed suggestions that the initiative had been a failure.
"It was right for the time but we have to move on, he said. "We have learned a lot from working this way - but it is a system which we will never return to."
The decision to rethink the initiative has been prompted partly by the need for the agency to capitalise more fully on the specialist expertise of its offshoot Grey Desire, a customer relationship marketing specialist agency, which has been folded in to the main agency, and its recently acquired healthcare operation, PTK.
"Our talent is for big ideas which cross borders, so it's important we share what we know, Richards added.