Barkley and OKRP Join Forces to Create BarkleyOKRP

Barkley and OKRP Join Forces to Create BarkleyOKRP
News by Roberto Orosa
Published: March 07, 2024

Barkley, a prominent advertising agency based in Kansas City, has joined forces with Chicago-based agency OKRP to form a new powerhouse in the advertising world, BarkleyOKRP.

This merger marks a significant move in the industry, backed by the strategic involvement of Chicago-based private equity firm Keystone Capital.

In line with the announcement, the new agency released a hilarious promotional video titled "Barkley + OKRP are merging agencies: Does anyone care?"

An interviewer goes around asking strangers on the street what they think about the merger between Barkley and OKRP — only to find out that no one really knew the two companies to begin with.

The interviewer was met with responses like, "Could care less," "I don't really care," and "Those are banks right?" 

The spot closes with text written in bold, "WE MERGED. NOBODY CARES."

No Changes in Leadership and Clients

Under the retained leadership of Barkley CEO Jeff King, the newly formed BarkleyOKRP will bring together a diverse portfolio of clients from both companies. 

Nick Paul, president and partner at OKRP, and Barkley President Dan Fromm will also continue in their respective roles within the new agency. Barkley's Chief Creative Officer Katy Hornaday will report to O’Keefe in her continued position.

From OKRP's roster come industry giants like Burger King and Metro by T-Mobile, while Barkley boasts clients, such as AMC, Motel 6 and Papa Murphy’s.

Despite Keystone Capital's majority ownership, BarkleyOKRP remains committed to maintaining its independent spirit and client-centric approach.

"We've had a couple of really good years," remarked O’Keefe, who is now positioned as the creative chairman of BarkleyOKRP. "We felt like those capabilities, the resources, the people that they have along with us can get us all to another level quicker."

A Merger for the Future

With over 650 employees, the majority of whom hail from Barkley, the merger signals a promising future for the combined entity.

BarkleyOKRP aims to capitalize on the complementary strengths of each agency, with OKRP's renowned creativity and Barkley's expertise in strategy and consulting.

OKRP's successful campaigns for Burger King and Metro by T-Mobile have garnered significant attention, showcasing the agency's creative prowess.

As BarkleyOKRP sets its sights on the future, there are plans to invest further in media, data analytics and performance capabilities.

The agency hopes to bridge the gap between larger holding companies and smaller boutique agencies, offering clients a unique blend of expertise and agility.

Meanwhile, agency Wieden+Kennedy laid off 20% of its Portland staff.
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Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang

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