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WPP strengthens Korean presence with Diamond Ogilvy tie-up

LONDON - WPP Group is to open a joint office between its South Korean ad agency Diamond Ad and international network Ogilvy & Mather, in an attempt to make inroads in to the local market.

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South Korea is the eighth largest advertising market in the world, but one that the international ad holding companies have struggled to crack with their existing brands.

WPP said it was the first time a Korean agency had fully joined with an international ad network. Known as the Diamond Ogilvy Group, it will bring together Diamond Ad and four companies of Ogilvy & Mather: O&M Advertising; OgilvyOne; and Ogilvy PR; as well as a new start-up office of Ogilvy Healthworld. The group will be headed by Miles Young, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, and will share back-office functions.

Diamond Ad is to be renamed Diamond Ogilvy, and will operate separately from O&M Advertising, working on its primarily Korean brands.

The agency was founded by Korean car giant Hyundai 20 years ago, in a country where it is commonplace for the big conglomerates to start their own, in-house ad agencies.

It was bought by Cordiant Communications in 1999 and separated from Hyundai shortly after. It became part of WPP when it took over Cordiant in 2003.

Hyundai remains one of its biggest clients, although it no longer has dibs on every piece of the carmaker's ad business after a contract with Diamond finished late in 2004.

Young siad: "Korea is still a unique market in Asia, but we believe the time is ripe for something genuinely new."

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