Y&R has long been one of the industry's most admired advertising brands. The wider Young & Rubicam group is the umbrella for a collection of marketing services providers led traditionally by the main advertising agency, but it has become increasingly dominated by digital & direct marketer Wunderman. The group has been a wholly owned subsidiary of WPP since 2000, but continues to operate as a largely self-contained entity. Despite strong performance by some of its individual agencies, Y&R's notional independence was compromised in the mid 2000s by patchy overall performance. An overhaul of management was unable to prevent the loss of a number of major accounts between 2002 and 2005. Performance stabilised following the appointment of global CEO Peter Stringham in 2007 (until 2016), but the main Y&R Advertising business continued to lose precedence within the group to faster-growing stablemate Wunderman. In 2018, as part of a wider review of WPP's extensive agency portfolio, the main agency was merged into its smaller but faster-growing digital satellite VML, under the latter's management team. The combined business adopted the new name VMLY&R.
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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Daily Update 24th Jan 2019: WPP took a step towards dismantling its dedicated Ford agency Global Team Blue, which lost its position as lead agency on that automaker's account last year. It retains below-the-line duties for Ford worldwide, but creative has transferred to BBDO and Wieden & Kennedy. This week, VMLY&R opened its first office in Detroit, absorbing a large number of staff from GTB's head office including managing partner Aleksandr Niestroj and chief experience officer Tim Reisen, who was named as CEO of VMLY&R Detroit.
Adbrands Social Media 12th Dec 2018: "More Than Italian". For the domestic market, coffee roaster Lavazza is best-known for its long-running "Paradiso" ad campaign, a series of comedy skits conceived by main agency Armando Testa and set in a fanciful version of heaven. These used to feature megastars (Julia Roberts was paid $1.5bn for one spot back in 2010) but for the past couple of years have starred local comedian Mauricio Crozza in a variety of wigs and funny voices. They're very Italian, and don't translate at all well internationally. So Y&R Milan has the task of delivering more cosmopolitan concepts for other markets. And what more international language can there be than football? To celebrate the company's new status as official coffee roaster to both Arsenal and Liverpool football clubs, noted Egyptian director Ali Ali (famous for those widely acclaimed Panda Cheese ads a few years ago) goes in search of the "real Italian coffee" with a mixed bag of comic stereotypes, and a few Premier League cameos thrown in for good measure.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Nov 2018: WPP confirmed the creative leadership team for the newly merged VMLY&R network. Y&R's global chief creative officer Tony Granger is to retire and North America CCO Leslie Sims is expected to transfer to another as-yet-unconfirmed WPP agency. VML's Debbi VanDeven is global CCO for the combined agency, and the North America position will be split between John Godsey and Jason Xenopoulos, from VML USA and VML South Africa respectively. In Europe, Jaime Mandelbaum, already Y&R's regional CCO, will retain that position in the combined business.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Oct 2018: There are few things clients like less in their agency partners than change or uncertainty. Big changes - like the merger of WPP's MEC and Maxus media agencies to form Wavemaker last year - often encourage clients to reconsider their business. A flood of accounts departed Wavemaker following that merger, and WPP will be starting to worry about a similar effect at newly combined VMLY&R. Within days of that announcement, PepsiCo said it would transfer digital and social media duties for Gatorade and Tropicana - two of the larger accounts at VML's Kansas City HQ for the past eight years - out of the agency. It's not the best of starts for VMLY&R.
Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Sep 2018: Only a few days after the story first broke in the Wall Street Journal, WPP confirmed the merger of the group's global Y&R advertising network into its faster-growing digital satellite VML. Y&R's David Sable moves up to global non-executive chairman, and VML's Jon Cook becomes CEO of the merged global business, to be known as VMLY&R. Y&R global president David Patton is out, though he is said to be discussing an alternative role within WPP. VML's local managers look set to take charge in each of the two agencies shared markets around the world. In London, VML's Amanda Farmer becomes managing director of the combined company, and Harsh Kapadia is executive creative director, reporting to VMLY&R EMEA CEO Jon Sharpe. Y&R London's current management team look set to depart, although veteran chairman Mark Roalfe is expected to stay on. "VML and Y&R have distinct and complementary strengths spanning creative, technology and data services that make them a perfect match," said WPP CEO Mark Read. "This is an important step as we build a new, simpler WPP that provides clients with a fully integrated offering and easy access to our wealth of talent and resources."
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