Like Engage PR and Gina Din , will Oxygene become “Ogilvy Annex”?


When some of the former key staff at Gina Din Corporate Communications – led by Desiree Gomes (Gina Din’s former executive director and Carole Muthaura – quit from one of the country’s pioneer PR outfits to form Engage Burson Marsteller (or simply Engage PR), other colleagues later followed them.

Some of the former Gina Din staff left (or were forced to leave because of conflict) with the new boss Eddie Wachira. Most of them found a new home at Engage PR, and in the period just after it was set up, almost half of the staff at the new PR outfit had previously been at Gina Din.

Among these were Patrick Githinji (the first to join Engage PR after it was set up by Des and Carole), Laura Aketch, Maria Nkumba and later Philip Mwembi (though he had left Gina Din some years back before later joining his former colleagues at Engage PR from KK Security).

Because of the composition of its team, we (I was by then working at Gina Din) would always refer to Engage PR as “Gina Din Annex” as someone could be excused for mistaking the new office as an extension of Gina Din due to the staff.

And it’s not just the staff that Engage PR acquired from Gina Din as later on, companies and organisations which had signed up the latter as their PR agency moved to Engage. Among those which shifted allegiance and loyalty from Gina Din to the new outfit were MTN Business, CNN International later Samsung Electronics.

Here, it can be argued that the professional relationships the team had built over time with these clients was crucial in winning them over to Engage PR.

Where is this post driving at?

I’m trying to draw parallels (or is it similarities) between Engage PR and Oxygene, the communications firm founded by a team consisting of former Ogilvy managers – that is former Ogilvy PR MD Nick Wachira; former Ogilvy PR’s partner for public affairs and government relations Alfred Ng’ang’a and Ogilvy PR former Account Director James Makau.

Just like Engage PR which attracted talent from Gina Din, Oxygene is following a similar path. Patience Chemjor – previously with Ogilvy – has joined Oxygene and is currently working on the Safaricom Corporate account which Oxygene shares with Ogilvy.