The Oxford English Dictionary defines Proximity as “nearness in space, time and relationships”. We have abbreviated this description down to one word. Closeness. It captures who we are and represents our origins in direct marketing and CRM. And it explains what we do. We bring you closer. We bring you closer to your consumers. And we bring consumers closer to your brand.
But we have grown bigger than just a name. We have built a global digital, direct and CRM network. A network with 67 offices, in 50+ countries and over 2,500 staff. A network with all the tools and processes you need to get closer to your consumers.
At Proximity, we help make brands more valuable to people. We do this by digging deep into data to find powerful insights that will lead to creative ideas. Ideas, content and experiences that are so powerful and magical that they change the way consumers think, feel and act about a brand. Ideas that bring brands closer to their consumers and make brands more valuable to people.
However, we don’t stop there.
Where Proximity really makes a difference is in the second part of our mission…we make people more valuable to brands. How do we do this? We help our brands understand their consumers better. Measure more of the data that matters. Identify consumer traits, behaviors and preferences. And the more we do this, the closer our clients get to their consumers. Whether that’s through finer targeting, tighter segmentation or better management of loyalty and lifetime value. We use all of the tools available to strengthen the relationship between brands and consumers. The closer the relationship between a brand and its consumer, the more valuable it becomes. Value is the currency. It’s what connects brands to people and people to brands.
This is what we do at Proximity. We make brands more valuable to people. And people more valuable to brands.
Andreas Combuechen is CEO & CCO of Atmosphere Proximity in New York and is recognized as one of the digital industry’s foremost creative branding experts. He’s renowned for his ability to aid both online and offline brands in establishing their identity, positioning, nomenclature and image.
Under Andreas’ leadership, Atmosphere Proximity has created some of the most admired and talked about work in the industry. Prior to Atmosphere Proximity, Andreas was Executive Creative Director at Frankfurt Balkind NY for several years. In his career, Andreas has supported a wide range of causes, including Atmosphere’s co-founding of the annual Big Ad Gig event with The New York Times and The Ad Council. He has also crafted efforts for Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard School of Public Health, Police Athletic League and, following 9/11, the New York Miracle Campaign. Andreas is on the Board of the AAAA’s New Media Committee, is frequently quoted in leading industry publications, and is a regular judge at high-profile creative award shows including The Circle lub, The ANDY Awards, The ONE Show, Cannes and The New York Advertising Festival.
Andreas lives in Manhattan with his wife Laurie and their two daughters Ava and Skye. He enjoys art and cooking.
Andrew Bailey is Chairman of Proximity North America. In this role, Andrew is focused on breaking new ground creatively and strategically, growing the leading digital and CRM global agency network in the region. In the US, Andrew has already taken Proximity from invisible to inspirational, with successful offices now in place in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, New York and San Francisco. He has attracted and inspired great talent, helped clients understand the ever evolving digital landscape, and set high standards for the evolution of the network.
Andrew’s ability to navigate the intersection of brand and digital has made him a leading advisor to some of the world’s most prominent brands. He has led and grown regional and worldwide clients like Visa, P&G, HP, Mars, Campbell’s and BlackBerry. His passion for strategic and creative excellence has produced results recognized by domestic and international shows like Cannes, DMA Echos, Caples and the EFFIE awards.
Andrew started his career in traditional advertising at Leo Burnett, but quickly understood where the world was moving and became an early advocate of the digital space. He held executive positions with DraftFCB and Deepend. Under his leadership as President and CEO of Proximity Canada from 2005-2011, the agency grew from a team of 28 to 200. The company earned Digital Agency of the Year honors in 2006 and then repeated in 2011, becoming one of the largest and most awarded offices in the Proximity Worldwide network.
Andrew lives in Manhattan with his wife and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When he’s not on a plane, he’s either in the gym or discovering a trendy new restaurant in the city.
Chris Thomas was appointed to the Chair of Proximity Worldwide in April 2011. This is in addition to his responsibilities of Chairman and CEO of BBDO in Asia, Middle East and Africa, which he was appointed to in January 2006, where he is responsible for all of BBDO’s advertising and Proximity’s integrated, direct and digital business in the region.
Chris graduated from Bristol University with a joint honors degree in History and English. He entered the advertising business at Dorlands in 1984. In 1986, he joined Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO as an account manager where he spent the next ten years. When he left the agency he had been new business director for three years. In 1997, Chris joined Ammirati Puris Lintas as Managing Director. Two years later, Ammirati Puris Lintas merged with Lowe Howard-Spink, and Chris was appointed Managing Director of the newly formed Lowe Lintas. The merger created a top 5 UK agency. In the year after the merger, Lowe Lintas was awarded Campaign Agency of the Year in 2000 and European Agency of the Year. In September 2003 Chris was appointed Chief Executive of Proximity London, which is a leading integrated, direct and digital agency in the United Kingdom. During his tenure at Proximity, the agency was the third most awarded direct agency in the world, top of the UK client satisfaction survey and voted IPA’s Best of the Best Integrated Agency. Chris sat on the worldwide board of Proximity from the outset and was one of the champions of building Proximity into a global network. During his time as Chairman and CEO of BBDO in Asia, Chris has launched Proximity in India, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines – and developed rapidly the existing businesses in Singapore, Japan and Malaysia. He has championed the launch of a Shopper Marketing practice in Asia – Proximity Shop and an experiential agency focusing on luxury brands in China – Proximity Live.
Chris is based in Singapore and is married with four children.
Doug Worple is the Worldwide Director of Commercial Innovation for BBDO/Proximity. Based in Barcelona, Doug supports the network in developing new models of agency revenue, including the development of new properties and platforms owned not by clients, but by the network (examples include Man of the House and CoachHub) and monetized in non-traditional ways. He is also the CEO of Barefoot Proximity, having founded the agency.
Doug has 25 years of CPG experience, beginning with roles on the client side at Procter & Gamble. Doug spent five years on P&G’s Finance & Accounting development track before moving into Brand Management. As Brand Manager of Crest Complete, Doug successfully launched the brand nationally and took advantage of a company program to spend a month as a copywriter at Leo Burnett. Suitably inspired, Doug left P&G shortly thereafter and launched Barefoot with a passion for great creative. This appreciation for great creative has been fostered throughout the agency, where Doug served as the keeper of the creative flame and earned countless accolades. Doug was also named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, INC. Magazine, Advertising Age and Adweek. In July of 2008, Doug guided Barefoot through an acquisition by BBDO/Proximity to establish Proximity’s presence in the United States.
When not at work, Doug enjoys spending time with his family at their summer cottage in Ontario, coaching basketball, and traveling to feed an insatiable desire to understand more about different cultures.
Fred Koblinger is the founder and CEO of PKP BBDO. The agency was launched in 1991 as Palla, Koblinger & Partner and joined the BBDO network in 2000, at which time Fred co-founded the Proximity network.
Fred is undoubtedly one of the Direct Marketing pioneers in Austria. In 2004 he was invited to the Austrian Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame and he frequently speaks at many major European Marketing and Advertising conferences. Two time jury member at Cannes, he was given the honourable title of Jury President at the Direct Lions awards in 2005.
Fred is a passionate collector of modern art, enjoys travelling, especially to Asia. He was born on skis and tries to improve his poor golf handicap.
Joaquim Ramis joined CP Proximity in 1998 as General Manager and founder of Barcelona office, before being promoted to CEO of CP Proximity Spain (Barcelona & Madrid) in January 2005. Since 2005 Joaquim has been member of the Proximity Worldwide board. He has been also President of the Spanish digital agencies association. CP Proximity is now recognized worldwide for its creativity, having won marketing awards at Cannes, Echo’s, Caples, El Sol, Fiap, Effie’s, among others. CP Proximity has won The Won Report twice.
Joaquim has 18 years of professional experience in marketing and communications, both agency and client side. His career began as Product Manager for Montblanc, before spending two years as International Brand Manager within the FMCG sector at Wrigley’s. Joaquim moved to agency side, to Euro RSCG, in 1997, before beginning his tenure at CP Proximity.
Joaquim is a fanatic of sports, outdoor activities and traveling, better with my family.
Marine Saffar is the Global Head of Technology, in charge of the technical component of new business, defining technical trends and innovations, sharing expertise in specific technologies across the network, helping defining technical teams and selecting technical partners.
Marine joined Proximity BBDO in March 2007 as International Project Director on the Procter & Gamble Western Europe CRM program (GHH). She was promoted in 2008 to Chief Technical Officer, overseeing the 70-strong technical department and in 2010 as Global Head of Technology for Proximity Worldwide. Before Proximity (in 1996), Marine joined Silicon Valley pioneer one-to-one e-commerce and e-marketing software company BroadVision. Her clients were Virgin.Net, Blackwell’s, RS Components, Siemens, Banco Santander, UBS, Club Internet. In 1998, Marine joined AGENCY.COM in London where she implemented www.guardian.co.uk, was part of the British Airways team and lead Interactive television and mobile developments. In 2002, she moved to AGENCY.COM in Paris to manage the technical team and build the worldwide Louis Vuitton e-commerce site. Marine joined FullSIX in 2003 as technical manager, looking after telecom operator SFR, Radio France, EDF and INSERM.
Marine loves ballet, skiing, yoga, Mad Men and books.
Mike Dodds joined Proximity London as CEO in December 2008.
Mike began his career on the client side working for telco giant GTE. He learnt the fundamentals of direct marketing at his first agency, DMB&B Direct. The next part of Mike’s career was spent at BBH’s below the line agency, where he was introduced to the fundamentals of brand and integration marketing from some of the best in the business. From BBH he joined Ogilvy where he added digital and international experience to the mix. Mike spent twelve years at OgilvyOne, first as Client Services Director and then as Managing Director and CEO. In 2007 OgilvyOne were Campaign’s Direct Agency of the Year. Throughout his career, Mike has been involved with award winning work, the biggest UK brands, long-term client relationships and complex, direct and digital assignments. He is a well known industry figure and a passionate spokesperson for the direct and digital sector.
Mike grew up in a sporting family. His father was a professional cricketer. Much to his disappointment Mike pursued a career in marketing however he has excelled on “pitches” of a slightly different nature! Some of the family heritage has rubbed off though as Mike is a keen sportsman and passionate supporter of Spurs. He is also a member of the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club for the non cricket fans amongst you). Mike devotes most of his time outside work to his family. He lives with wife Clare in Surrey and has two daughters and son. His eldest daughter is in her last year at university and is currently applying to the P&G graduate scheme. Maybe she will become a client one day. That would make for an interesting dynamic!
Nick joined Proximity as International Head of Data and Analytics in May 2010. Prior to joining he worked for 12 years at OgilvyOne, first as Director in Database Consulting and then as Managing Partner and Head of Consulting. He was seconded on two occasions to work client side, first as Sales and Marketing Director of Envision Licensing Ltd (a WPP led Consortium responsible for maximising TV licence fee revenue) and then as General Manager of the Jigsaw (FMCG) Consortium providing planning and data services to Cadbury, Kimberly Clark and Unilever brand teams.
Nick began his career at Beecham in brand marketing before moving to FKB where he became Board Director responsible for NatWest direct marketing output. From there he joined DunnHumby working across telecommunications and retail clients before joining OgilvyOne in September 1997.
He has a proven track record of helping companies, B2B and B2C, use their data assets to drive relevance in customer engagement and marketing efficiency.
Away from the world of data and analytics, Nick manages his son’s under 14 football team having recently qualified as a football coach.
Nick Williams is based in London and leads the P&G relationship for Proximity globally.
Nick joined Proximity at the beginning of 2007 to develop and lead the London agency’s digital and international clients including Kraft, P&G and Shell. He has a total of 17 years of digital and direct experience and was most recently Managing Partner heading up Shell for Proximity in WE and CEE and P&G Dish across WE and CEEMEA as well as the local P&G, Kraft, Shell and VW accounts. Nick’s previous experience includes international account management and planning for global brands such as Coca-Cola, Dell, Mercedes-Benz and Ford at Wunderman and before that, Ogilvy.
Originally from Durban, Nick has an honours degree in economics from the University of Cape Town. And although his recently born son, Tom, has interrupted his dream of one day becoming MotoGP Champion, Nick still enjoys the occasional Sunday ride and track-day.
Olivier Rippe is CEO of Proximity BBDO in Paris, having joined in 2004 as Managing Director of its digital subsidiary B2L. In 2005 Proximity merged the on and offline activities and Olivier became Managing Director of Proximity BBDO Paris before being promoted to CEO in 2007.
Olivier started his career in motion picture & TV production and went on to launch the French interactive agency ‘Voove’, later acquired by pan-European group Cell Network. Olivier then joined Lagardere / Accenture (a joint venture for digital TV) to head up business development. Olivier has over 12 years of experience in dealing with clients such as 3 Suisses, Peugeot Citroen, CanalSatellite, la Francaise des Jeux and IKEA.
‘Olivier is passionate about street art, loves travelling and says ‘he’s a bit of a geek!’
Richard is Regional Managing Director for Proximity in Asia, Middle East and Africa, and is based in Singapore, where he has held this role since 2008.
He is a Digital and CRM marketing expert whose 20+ years’ experience has been gained working in the United States, New Zealand, Canada and more than 20 markets throughout Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Richard has been part of the Proximity Network for nine years and is one of the five members of the Proximity Worldwide Executive Committee, who are responsible for the Network’s development globally.
In his regions he is responsible for leading and developing the Proximity Network’s capability, talent and growth and works closely with regional clients such as Visa, P&G, Aviva, Hewlett Packard, Volkswagen, Pepsi, and Mars.
Prior to his current role, Richard was National Planning Director at AIM Proximity in New Zealand - an agency consistently ranked in the top 10 digital and direct agencies globally by the WON Report. There he developed award winning strategies for many Clients including Toyota, Vodafone, Air New Zealand, and Yellow.
He launched his marketing career in 1991 in the US with leading direct marketing company, Affinity Group, where he became Marketing Director and in 1999 co-founded digital marketing agency, eGybe, in Los Angeles.
Simon Bond is the Chief Marketing Officer for Proximity Worldwide and is responsible for driving business development and innovation across the global network.
Simon has worked for Proximity since 1999 and has had a number of different roles across the network. He started working in the Proximity London office as Account Director on the Emirates Airline business and then moved to Dubai in 2001 to set up the Proximity Middle East and North Africa operation. After 3 years growing the MENA region, in 2004, he moved over to Asia as Regional Managing Director. Within 4 years, Simon helped set up 9 offices across the region and build strong client relationships with clients like P&G, Mars, Pepsi, Mercedes and VISA. In 2008, after BBDO Proximity Asia was named Agency of the Year, Simon moved to NY to help grow Proximity across the North America.
In his spare time Simon is a keen sports fanatic, regularly taking part in marathons but prefers the easier life on the golf course and ski slopes.