Shopper marketing firm Saatchi X enjoys rapid growth in Blue Ash

Local arm of global agency hired 20 in two months

CINCINNATI - Anyone who doubts Cincinnati's credentials as a consumer-marketing hub should talk to John Yengo, executive vice president and managing director at Saatchi & Saatchi X Cincinnati.

The Arkansas-based agency, which works with Procter & Gamble Co. and Wendy's International Inc. to improve in-store marketing efforts, has grown to 22 employees in Blue Ash since Yengo opened a local office last August.

"We got our first 20 people in 60 days," Yengo said. "This town has a lot of creative talent, whether it's through digital, branding or general marketing knowledge."

Saatchi X is part of the Publicis Groupe, the world's third-largest communications company. It is a leader in the field of shopper marketing, which involves the use of in-store displays, cross-marketing techniques and behavioral studies to get shoppers more engaged in – and buying – a particular product.

Former P&G executive Dina Howell was a pioneer in the field, when she worked on P&G's Walmart team. Now, she is worldwide CEO for Saatchi X, a global agency with offices in 12 cities.

Area economic development agencies have been selling Cincinnati as a center of excellence for consumer marketing for several years.

With P&G, Kroger and Macy's all based in Cincinnati and Wendy's up the road in Columbus, Yengo settled on Blue Ash as the best location for Saatchi X. The agency has done project work for Macy's and Kroger, but is hoping to deepen those ties.

"We were missing an opportunity by not being here," said Yengo, a former P&G executive who was a partner in the Barefoot advertising agency before the global agency Omnicom bought the agency in 2010.

Blue Ash Economic Development Director Neil Hensley said Saatchi is "a strong name to add to our global roster" of marketing agencies, including Nielsen and Dunnhumby USA, which added hundreds of jobs in downtown Cincinnati in the last few years.

"We're excited to welcome a globally-recognized name to Blue Ash and to the region," Hensley said. "It further validates that our region is a hub for consumer marketing expertise."

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