WPP today announced that Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson will unite to form Wunderman Thompson, a creative, data and technology agency.
J. Walter Thompson is the world’s longest running creative agency and best known, having formed in New York back in 1864 and being acquired by WPP in 1987.
The newly formed agency will be led by global chief executive officer Mel Edwards (left in main photo), who is currently the global CEO of Wunderman. Tamara Ingram (right), CEO of J. Walter Thompson, will become chairman.
Wunderman Thompson will be an agency of more than 20,000 people in 90 markets, including Australia. It will be fully operational in early 2019.
B&T has contacted WPP AUNZ to determine the management structure in Australia, however, had not heard back at the time of publication. Wunderman is known as Wunderman-Bienalto in Australia.
In a statement, WPP globally said: “Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson share many core clients, who will now have simpler access to the expertise of both agencies.
“And, as technology reshapes marketing, Wunderman Thompson will also capitalise on close and long-standing partnerships with Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce and SAP.”
WPP’s global CEO, Mark Read, only months into the job has made no secret of his desire to merge agencies for better efficiencies.
Read said of the merger: “Wunderman Thompson is a formidable combination, 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.
“It’s great news for our clients that we can combine the best of JWT and Wunderman in a single agency, and it’s great news for WPP as it allows us to compete more effectively in the sectors with the most significant opportunities for future growth.”
Edwards added: “To achieve transformative outcomes, clients today need inspiration that is rooted in data-driven insight. I’m really excited to be able to deliver that within one agency.
“Wunderman Thompson offers precisely what clients want: brilliant creativity, expertise in data and sophisticated technology skills. I couldn’t be more honoured to lead this new organisation and its exceptional people.”
Ingram said: “Both JWT and Wunderman have been built by the commitment of many talented people, whose combined capabilities will further distinguish us in the market.
“Coming together was a decision driven by the opportunity to better serve our clients, expand our offering and create an agency effectively positioned for the future. As Wunderman Thompson, we will deliver world-class services in every geography, and work that is more meaningful and more impactful than ever.”
J. Walter Thompson and Wunderman are not the first two WPP agencies to have merged this year, with VML and Y&R coming together in September.