Byravee Iyer
Oct 4, 2013

Shopper marketing agency Barrows in rapid expansion; adds new businesses

SINGAPORE - Over a year after launching its regional headquarters in Singapore, retail marketing agency Barrows has its hands full with a host of new clients including British American Tobacco in Indonesia, Barilla pasta in China, GSK in Australia and Whirlpool in Southeast Asia.

Barrows to handle British American Tobacco in Indonesia
Barrows to handle British American Tobacco in Indonesia

The agency, 35 per cent owned by WPP, acquired these new businesses in the past couple of months, said Rob Draper, managing director, Barrows Asia-Pacific. Its other key clients include Unilever, Kimberly Clark and Mondelez. Barrows provides retail-focused strategy, design, supply-chain management and production.

The $60 billion shopper marketing category is growing at an annual rate of 15 per cent, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in marketing, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association. That group also reported that 83 per cent of consumer packaged-goods companies expect to increase their shopper marketing investment over the next three years. For more than half of them, shopper marketing will surpass all other marketing spend.

Since its launch in June 2012, Barrows has hired more than 30 people and is currently in the process of moving to a larger space due to overwhelming demand. Its client list has grown from three to 12 in the past year. The company has also hired Paul Miller, a full-time consultant in Australia to help service clients better.

Barrows has a unique business model. It typically consolidates its specialist services to a global services centre of excellence as opposed to opening offices in each market. The agency also has a dedicated team known as the 100-24-7, who sit in different offices but can be called on to serve any level of demand required from the Asian markets. “As such we’ve been getting top resources from countries like Brazil, South Africa and the UK to help with the demand here in Asia,” Draper said.

Following the launch of Geometry Global, WPP’s new activation and shopper network, which incorporated G2, Ogilvy Action and JWT Action into one unit, Barrows has also begun working closely with the agency. “We work well with Geometry and it helps us expand our offering to clients by working horizontally with them," Draper said. "Our services are very complimentary”.

There are plans to expand into more geographies in Asia to support client service, but Draper said that’s an announcement for early next year.



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