Barkley And OKRP Merge To Form Indie Powerhouse


Independent ad agencies Barkley and OKRP—both known for competing nationally for major brand clients--have merged to become BarkleyOKRP.   

With more than 650 employees across five offices in Chicago, Kansas City, Denver, New York and Pittsburgh, BarkleyOKRP is now one of the largest independent agencies in the country.  



The agencies were brought together by Chicago-based private equity firm Keystone Capital, which last year acquired a stake in Barkley. Keystone will have a slight majority share in the newly merged entity, and, the company says, will provide additional resources for future growth and expansion.   

“In a world where the choice is often ‘big holding company’ or ‘small independent,’ BarkleyOKRP provides an alternative that marries the best of both worlds,” says Jeff King, who has served as CEO at Barkley since 2009 and becomes CEO of BarkleyOKRP.   

“OKRP has built a creative powerhouse,” added King, “and Barkley, in addition to its own award-winning creative product, has built a foundation of modern consumer expertise. Combined, BarkleyOKRP clients will receive the very best of strategy and creativity in an agency that has broad capabilities and significant scale.” 

Barkley, founded by Bill Fromm and based in Kansas City, MO, will celebrate its 60th anniversary in June of this year. Chicago-based OKRP was founded in 2013 by agency veterans Tom O'Keefe, Matt Reinhard and Nick Paul.  

O’Keefe, previously CEO of OKRP is now Creative Chairman of BarkleyOKRP. Paul, president of OKRP, and Dan Fromm, president of Barkley, will become co-presidents of the new entity. The rest of the leadership comprises 12 discipline heads from both companies.  

BarkleyOKRP’s combined client roster includes Metro by T-Mobile, Burger King, Planet Fitness, Motel 6, Premier Protein and AMC, among others. 

The agencies shot a launch video showing consumer reaction to the merger which you can see here.  



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