Essence : advertising & marketing assignments

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Digital media agency Essence was upgraded in 2019 into a fully fledged global network, replacing Maxus as WPP's #4 media network. COMvergence estimated billings of $2.6bn in 2018. Though still much smaller than its three siblings by billings, its tech-centred, data-focused approach has gradually been rolled out to the group's other networks. An indication of its importance to WPP was the promotion of Essence CEO Christian Juhl to now overall CEO of WPP's entire GroupM media division. The business was founded in London in 2005 by three ad industry outsiders. Matt Isaacs, Andy Bonsall and Andrew Shebbeare all worked in management consultancy or financial services, but saw a way of adding value to the booming digital media marketplace by mining insights from a combination of data, technology and anaytics. The agency's first client was Carphone Warehouse, but the major early breakthrough was the capture of Google's digital media account, initially in the UK in 2006 and then globally. The first US outpost was established in 2010. Former Razorfish executive Christian Juhl joined the business in 2013, becoming global CEO a year later. WPP acquired Essence in 2015, narrowly beating a rival offer from Omnicom. The latter quickly established its own equivalent agency that same year, Hearts & Science. Following WPP's merger of MEC and Maxus in 2017 to form Wavemaker, several major accounts from those two predecessor agencies were shifted into Essence, establishing the business as WPP's 4th global media network. Essence co-founders Isaacs and Bonsall left the business following its acquisition by WPP; Shebbeare remains in situ as chairman. Christian Juhl was promoted to global CEO of the entire GroupM division in 2019, overseeing Mindshare, Mediacom and Wavemaker as well. He was replaced as CEO of Essence by Kyoko Matsushita, previously chief client officer and regional chief for Asia Pacific. As of mid 2019, the network operated 20 offices worldwide, more than half of them in the Asia Pacific region with another seven in North America. The EMEA region has only two offices at present, in London and Duesseldorf.

Capsule checked 20th September 2019

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