VMLY&R advertising & marketing assignments

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VMLY&R was created in late 2018 from the combination of storied advertising network Y&R with its fast-growing and highly regarded digital stablemate within WPP, VML. Despite its fabled creative heritage - Ray Rubicam was one of the undisputed giants of early 20th century advertising - Y&R had struggled for several years with uneven performance, and was increasingly overshadowed by its affiliated CRM specialist Wunderman. Yet new WPP CEO Mark Read - himself a former head of Wunderman - chose instead to align Wunderman with another of the group's hard-pressed advertising networks JWT, and effectively merged Y&R into the edgier digital creative business VML, for the most part under the latter's management team. Integration of the two networks has for the most part gone smoothly, not least because VML brought to the table a much smaller global footprint than its more widely established partner. The majority of the central executive leadership roles have been assumed by former VML managers. The smaller network's Jon Cook and Eric Campbell were named as global CEO and president respectively of the merged business, while Debbi VanDeven was appointed as global chief creative officer. AdAge estimated global revenues of $910m in 2019 for the enlarged business. As of early 2021, there were 85 offices in 44 countries and 12,000 staff. A collection of satellite agencies which had previously operated as part of what was then the wider Young & Rubicam Brands group - including design agency Landor, healthcare shop Sudler & Hennessey and PR agency Burson-Marsteller - have also been realigned within WPP. Sudler & Hennessey was restructured and now operates under the name VMLY&Rx. The group also gained a new satellite in 2020 with the transfer of activation network Geometry, now renamed VMLY&R Commerce. All in all, VMLY&R is emerging as one of the brightest stars in the restructured WPP. While most other agencies both within WPP and beyond suffered declines in like-for-like revenues during 2020, VMLY&R was "almost flat" for the year, said the group, and enjoyed almost 3% growth globally in the final quarter. It was named as Advertising Network of the Year by Campaign US.

Capsule checked 12th March 2021

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VMLY&R UK
VMLY&R ANZ
Scholz VMLY&R
VMLY&R Commerce
VMLY&Rx

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Update 15th Feb 2022: VMLY&R has re-established a local branded presence in Germany for the first time since 2019 with the renaming of WPP's GTB agency in Duesseldorf. That outpost will continue to work primarily on digital and CRM for Ford, but will adopt the VMLY&R name, under the wider Scholz & Friends Family umbrella.

Marketer Moves 10th Sep 2021: Reshuffle at VMLY&R NY. See Marketer Moves (members only).

Adbrands Daily Update 17th Mar 2021: "Justin Gets Real". Now I'm no Apple fan boy - PC born and bred, that's me - but even I'm not sure about Intel's new campaign from VMLY&R. Actually, knocking ads in general aren't top of my list, but I have to admit the old "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" from almost two decades ago with actors Justin Long and John Hodgeman got away with it because they were always very, very funny. Even PC guys like this writer were prepared to take a good joke at their own expense. Now here we are in 2021, with Intel still smarting from getting dropped last year as Apple's chip supplier, and Justin Long... well, looking for work. If you wanted to be mean you could say no one likes a turncoat. But really, however on the nose the cited advantages of PC over Mac might be in the first five (yes, five!) ads released so far, their real weakness is, yep, they're not funny; just snarky.

Adbrands Daily Update 17th Nov 2020: So farewell then, Geometry! Hot on the heels of the merger of AKQA and Grey, WPP announced yet another consolidation of network assets. Promotion and shopper marketing network Geometry is to be absorbed into the VMLY&R global group under the new name of VMLY&R Commerce. Previously, the business was most closely aligned with Ogilvy. The renamed network will continue to operate as a distinct agency under the VMLY&R umbrella, still under the leadership of Geometry CEO Beth Ann Kaminkow. Brand positioning will shift slightly to put "creative commerce" front and centre as the agency's primary purpose. "Consumer experiences today are centered on commerce, making it increasingly important to our clients' marketing and media decisions," says Kaminkow. "As the pandemic accelerates new consumer behaviours and expectations, commerce is fast becoming the next channel for the most creative engagements and experiences. With the launch of VMLY&R Commerce, we can now offer our clients creative commerce at scale, harnessing data and technology to build brands and sell products across channels."

Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Mar 2020: VMLY&R scored a spectacular and much needed new business triumph with the capture of Intel's global creative account following a six month review. The account is thought to be worth as much as $1.4bn in global billings, making it the biggest single account win by any agency since Ford moved to BBDO and Wieden & Kennedy (and incidentally away from VMLY&R's parent group WPP) at the end of 2018. It's also VMLY&R's biggest by far since the creation of that agency, and the most significant win for a much longer period for either of its two predecessor networks. For the past few years, Intel's creative work has been mostly handled inhouse, but that internal agency was disbanded just over a year ago.

Adbrands Daily Update 19th Feb 2020: WPP is re-establishing a local presence in Germany (and also Switzerland) for the VMLY&R network by aligning its previously standalone agency Scholz & Friends with the larger network. Scholz has operated as a semi-autonomous business since it was acquired by WPP in 2011. However, its CEO Frank-Michael Schmidt has reportedly been talking to central management at WPP for almost a year about realigning the business with one of the group's wider international networks to broaden its reach. Under the new arrangement, Scholz is expected to maintain its current branding, at least in the short term, but Schmidt will now report to VMLY&R's Jon Cook rather than to WPP CEO Mark Read. Affiliated agencies under Scholz's Commarco umbrella will also switch to VMLY&R. That network's own office in Germany was quietly shuttered last year after a long decline. At around the same time, the former Advico Y&R agency in Switzerland was rebranded as Wunderman Thompson.

More about Y&R from Adbrands Weekly Update More about VML from Adbrands Weekly Update


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