Last December, an agency with no name, no office and no full-time employees shocked the media buying and planning world, without warning, by scooping up the lion’s share of the North American business of Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser. It followed that coup this past August by winning AT&T, the second-biggest media client in North America. The pair of wins encompassed approximately $5 billion in annual billings for two highly visible accounts that had been with Publicis and WPP, respectively, before moving on to their main rival, Omnicom (Dentsu Aegis’ Carat retained some P&G business).
It seemed like a modern miracle. But the agency, Omnicom’s Hearts & Science, is anything but an overnight success story.
New York’s 7 World Trade Center rises 52 floors above the footprints of the former twin towers, where thousands flood into lower Manhattan daily. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the shop’s headquarters on the 36th floor look out onto the Hudson River and beyond. Several blocks and more than a century removed from here is the American Telephone & Telegraph Building at 195 Broadway, which for years served as AT&T’s home base. The neo-Classical icon, which hosted history’s first intercontinental phone call in 1927, now houses the common thread weaving through this story’s key players: a little-known data analytics company called Annalect.