Ad giant IPG merges embattled data unit Kinesso with media agency Reprise after major shakeup

  • IPG’s data unit Kinesso underwent a massive reorg, where many top execs departed.
  • That data unit has been merged with IPG’s media agency Reprise, and has been relaunched as KINESSO.
  • KINESSO will largely supplement the other IPG media agencies with data and tech expertise.

Ad giant IPG has finally decided what to do with its troubled data and technology unit Kinesso, which underwent a massive shakeup over the summer that saw many of its top executives depart, as Insider first reported.

Kinesso has now merged with Reprise, a media-buying agency within IPG’s Mediabrands group. Reprise CEO Jarrod Martin will lead the combined unit, which will be known as KINESSO.

Kinesso bought digital ads for IPG’s advertiser clients when it first launched in 2019. It included the media-buying platform Matterkind, as well as other data and adtech solutions to improve the targeting of the ads it purchased.

Unlike the original Kinesso, which worked directly with advertisers, the new KINESSO will primarily supplement IPG’s other media-buying agencies, such as UM, Initiative, and Mediahub, with expertise in areas such as AI, digital performance, and retail media.

“We’re trying to create an end-to-end media engine that fuels the rest of IPG Mediabrands,” Martin explained to Insider.

Martin added that the new KINESSO may still work directly with advertiser clients in some cases, such as on retail media projects — one of Reprise’s focus areas that is also a major growth area for the advertising industry.

According to Eileen Kiernan, global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, positioning the new KINESSO as a “ingredient” to help drive the performance of other Mediabrands agencies is meant to make it easier to harness data, media, and technology together, so IPG’s advertiser clients can see a better return on their advertising investments or more quickly activate marketing campaigns.

“The world of media is powered by a combination of data, media, and any friction we bring to the party where advertisers are expecting more value to be driven on their behalf just didn’t make sense,” Kiernan told Insider.

IPG has struggled this year because it has a large number of tech clients who have paused ad spend due to economic uncertainty, according to the company’s July earnings call. Revenue fell 2% from the same period last year, and IPG reduced its growth forecast to 1% or 2%, down from 2% to 4% previously.

However, the areas in which the new KINESSO specializes, such as data expertise, technology, and AI, are expected to be a source of growth. During a Bank of America media conference in September, IPG CEO Philippe Krakowsky stated that AI “will give us the opportunity to get paid for business outcomes or take some of the technology and think about whether it’s licensable to clients.”

KINESSO employs approximately 6,200 people, accounting for roughly one-third of Mediabrands’ global workforce of 18,000 people.

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