The need for the role came as the agency seeks to be more proactive about how it prospects new business. The agency’s founders and other executives previously approached new business organically.
“We can reach out into the community a lot better than we’ve been doing, and kind of know people [more] and put our names in front of people better than we’ve been doing,” said co-founder Jeff Goodby in an interview.
Berger joins amid a competitive new business environment for agencies, especially as clients have trimmed budgets throughout the pandemic. Despite those challenges, there has been some pick up in opportunities recently, according to consultants, who are looking to the end of this year and the beginning of 2024 for bigger creative opportunities.
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“We could talk for decades about how clients’ budgets are getting smaller and paying agencies less,” Berger said. “Those are the challenges that I think all agencies face. There are plenty of big juicy accounts out there. You just have to be able to compete for them and then ultimately win. For me it’s more about a competitive landscape and making sure that you’re on the radar for clients when they are looking for new partners.”
Berger helped Grey achieve its biggest new business year in a decade in 2021, when it picked up clients MassMutual, Modelo, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, IHG Hotels, Activision Blizzard and Georgia Pacific.
Goodby said that there are “misconceptions” about the agency that Berger will be tasked with changing as he approaches new business opportunities. “All agencies have reputations [that they are] ‘this or that’ that they have to overcome,” Goodby said.
For GS&P, he said, they include the misguided belief that the agency is too traditional, too focused on Super Bowl ads and that it isn’t sufficiently equipped to handle global clients.
Goodby said that far from being traditional, the agency was one of the first to launch a campaign using generative AI tools. Goodby himself was also on a panel at Cannes this year with OpenAI Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap.