VMLY&Rx was formed in 2020 from the merger of the long-established healthcare agency Sudler & Hennessey - increasingly better known as just Sudler - with VMLY&R's inhouse healthcare team. That process was the culmination of several years of gradual consolidation. Indeed, until its final reorganisation S&H had been regarded as America's oldest surviving healthcare agency and arguably the first specialist in that field in the 1950s. It was founded by Art Sudler in 1934. Matt Hennessey became a partner in 1941, and the agency spent much of the next two decades as a general design studio. In 1956, for example, Sudler & Hennessey was responsible for creating NBC's memorable peacock logo. Industry legend has it that Andy Warhol worked briefly at the agency during that decade before establishing himself as an artist. However, medical marketing was also beginning to take off, and S&H gradually came to specialise in that field. By 1970, it was the biggest healthcare agency in the US, a position it was to maintain for the next 20 years. It was acquired by Young & Rubicam in 1973. S&H has four offices in the US and a global network spread across 34 countries. Most are wholly owned, a few are non-equity affiliates. One in Japan - Dentsu Sudler & Hennessey - was for many years a joint venture with Dentsu. Sudler took back full control in 2017. Also that year, S&H was realigned as a unit of WPP Health & Wellness alongside the group's other healthcare agencies. As a result it pruned what had previously been a full range of services to focus on two specific areas of general promotion and science & learning. Digital agency Viscira was acquired and absorbed during 2017. The following year, the main US offices of Sudler were absorbed into VMLY&R Health, along with smaller partner network Sentrix Global Health. However, the international offices retained the original Sudler brand. They too were finally absorbed in 2020 into the newly created VMLY&Rx banner. The main network is partnered by second-string Sentrix Global Health, which has its a rather smaller global network in New York, Milan, London and Tokyo. Claire Gillis is international CEO of WPP Health Practice.
Capsule checked 17th September 2020
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