The Wunderman name is still among the world's best-known marketing services brands, with a particular strength in customer relationship marketing, combining traditional direct marketing and sales promotion skills with cutting-edge digital and social media, ecommerce and, more recently, general business consultancy. As a result, Wunderman became one of the main counterpoints within WPP to marketing-oriented business consultancies such as Accenture. During the 2000s the agency significantly expanded its digital offering with a series of purchases of independent agencies around the globe, creating what became arguably the world's biggest digital network. Wunderman also established a very strong global footprint, with leading positions in Asia and Latin America as well as more established US and European markets. Formerly known as Wunderman Cato Johnson, the agency had a moment of madness in 1999 when it attempted to reinvent itself as a digital marketing group under a completely new name of Impiric. Two disappointing years followed before the company readopted a shortened version of its original name. Traditionally, Wunderman had operated as the largest individual unit within the Young & Rubicam marketing group. However, in a startling realignment announced at the end of 2018, Wunderman was merged with sister agency J Walter Thompson to form new, fully integrated agency Wunderman Thompson. The Wunderman management team and methodology took over the dominant role in the merged business. See Wunderman Thompson for more.
Capsule checked 16th September 2021
Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets
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Historical profile information for Wunderman
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Jan 2019: Industry pioneer Lester Wunderman died this week at the age of 98. He was one of the last survivors from the so-called "Golden Age" of marketing, and one of the few still to have a global network named after them (even if that network became Wunderman Thompson rather than plain Wunderman at the end of 2018). Wunderman is widely considered to be the father of modern direct marketing industry, responsible for such widely adopted conventions as 1-800 freephone numbers and magazine subscription inserts.
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."
Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Jul 2017: WPP appears to be looking at other ways to streamline operations following the merger of MEC and Maxus to create a still as yet unnamed new media network. The WSJ reports today that the group's Possible digital network is set to be absorbed into Wunderman. WPP declined to comment; the WSJ attributes the report to "people familiar with the matter". Separately, South Africa's Telkom, the leading local phone company, this week appointed Wunderman as its lead creative and digital agency.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Jun 2017: WPP's standalone ecommerce agency Salmon is to be transferred into Wunderman as the cornerstone of a new Wunderman Commerce division.
Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Sept 2015: In a surprise defection, Ian Haworth, global chief creative officer of Omnicom's Rapp network, has jumped ship to become executive creative director for Wunderman EMEA. His move comes amid the wholescale dismantling of the Rapp network, the bulk of which is being split off as separate network Track.
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