Wunderman Thompson is the newly created fully integrated creative network formed in 2019 from the merger of WPP's storied J Walter Thompson advertising agency and direct & digital specialist Wunderman. The latter had over a period of years become one of the biggest as well as the fastest growing businesses within WPP, while JWT struggled with a series of challenges, not least a long-running legal dispute over allegations of misconduct by its former CEO. Following the shock resignation of WPP founder Sir Martin Sorrell in 2018, Wunderman's reputation was further enhanced by the elevation of its CEO Mark Read to the top job within the group. Consolidation of the sprawling collection of agencies now under his command was top of his to-do list. Wunderman had previously been considered as the likely partner for another agency facing challenges, Y&R, with whom it had long been associated. Instead, Read chose to merge Y&R with another of its satellites, VML, and combine Wunderman with JWT. Though headquartered still in New York (at JWT's old offices), the enlarged Wunderman Thompson network is led by two British women: longtime WPP stalwart and former JWT CEO Tamara Ingram, who becomes chairman; and Read's successor at Wunderman, Mel Edwards, who was named as global CEO. The network started with 20,000 employees spread across 200 offices in 90 countries. Combined global proforma revenues are around $3bn; that makes the business the third largest traditional marketing services network worldwide behind McCann. Further consolidation of the agency's widely spread global network is underway in 2019.
Capsule checked 4th February 2019
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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:
Adbrands Daily Update 4th Apr 2019: Wunderman Thompson got a big moral boost from its first major global win as a merged entity. Following a review, Duracell moves its entire global creative account to the agency, in all markets except the US (where the business remains with Wieden & Kennedy). “Wunderman Thompson was outstanding in their pitch," said Duracell CMO Tatiana Vivienne Jouanneau. "They were joyful and we immediately felt the chemistry was right." The agency reportedly fought off a challenge from 10 other agencies. The only fly in the appointment, at least for parent WPP, is that the account transfers sideways from another group company, Grey.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Mar 2019: The Possible brand may heading inexorably for the dustbin of history, following further moves by WPP to consolidate agency assets. Possible's Seattle HQ is merging with Wunderman and the local creative agency Cole & Weber to create Wunderman Thompson Seattle. The Possible name will be retained for the time being for certain key clients, but it is as yet unclear whether staffing levels will be cut. Possible's New York-based managing director Joe Crump was at the same time named to the same role at Wunderman Thompson New York.
Adbrands Daily Update 4th Feb 2019: WPP unveiled the branding and mission statement for newly created integrated network Wunderman Thompson, as well as its new website. Headquartered in JWT's old offices in New York, it is being positioned by the group as a creative, data and technology agency. "Today, businesses need great ideas, greater simplicity from their partners, and the ability to execute in markets around the world. We made a conscious decision to come together driven by the opportunity to better serve our clients and create an agency effectively positioned for the future. Now we can provide exactly what our clients need: a creative, data, and technology agency built to inspire growth for its clients. Wunderman Thompson will be able to deliver world-class services on a global scale."
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Nov 2018: Another legendary agency brand took one step closer to extinction with WPP's announcement of the merger of iconic giant J Walter Thompson with Wunderman. The latter network gets top billing in the new entity, which will be known as Wunderman Thompson. Wunderman's newly appointed global CEO Mel Edwards retains that role in the enlarged business, with JWT's Tamara Ingram moving to global chairman. It follows a string of other such combinations within WPP, most notably the takeover by VML of Y&R. WPP aims to complete the merger by early 2019. "Wunderman Thompson is a formidable combination," said WPP CEO Mark Read, "bringing together the capabilities our clients are demanding – award-winning creativity alongside deep expertise in technology, data and commerce – in a single organisation. Clients want greater simplicity from their partners and this development, like others at WPP, is designed to reshape our company around their needs."
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