WPP merges Wunderman Thompson and VMLYR to create global powerhouse in VML with more than 30,000 people in 64 markets
WPP today announced a major evolution in its offering to clients with the merger of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R. The combined entity will be known as VML and will be the industry’s largest creative company.
VML unites two of the most awarded creative agencies in the world, each with world-class commerce, customer experience and marketing technology capabilities. VML will be equipped to support clients on creative brand growth strategy and transformation initiatives, all powered by best-in-class data operations, technology platforms and partnerships with leading technology companies. It will also provide an exceptional offer for healthcare companies and B2B marketers.
Respective client bases, functional expertise and geographic strengths mean the agencies are highly complementary and the combined company will have more than 30,000 people in 64 markets.
Jon Cook becomes VML Global CEO and Mel Edwards VML Global President (pictured), with the broader management team bringing together strong leaders from across both companies.
Says Cook: “The future of building strong brands and businesses requires the interconnectivity of brand experience, commerce and customer experiences. We recognised the immediate opportunity to create what every consultancy and advertising agency aspires to build with the formation of VML. We’re especially excited to present our new offering to the industry as we don’t believe there is another company as creatively awarded with our depth in customer experience and commerce.”
“This is the right suite of capabilities, offered at just the right moment, at unprecedented scale,” says Edwards. “It’s incredibly exciting because with this new agency we have the chance to shape the future of modern marketing in every key market around the world. The opportunities it affords our people and the growth we can deliver for our clients at a global scale make this a real game-changer for each business and the wider industry.”
Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R were launched in 2018 and have experienced sustained growth since their inception – through client development, new business and acquisitions. Each agency is globally renowned for its creativity and capabilities, with Wunderman Thompson named as Campaign’s Integrated Network of the Year and an Ad Age Standout Agency, and VMLY&R ranked #7 globally at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and #2 on the Ad Age A-List.
Their breadth of expertise has also been recognised by technology partners – including Adobe, BigCommerce, Contentful, Microsoft, Salesforce and Sitecore – and by industry analysts. Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R are among the companies recognised by the Forrester Wave™ Reports naming WPP as a ‘Leader’ in Commerce Services, Global Digital Experience Services, Global Marketing Service Providers and most recently Marketing Measurement and Optimisation.
Says Mark Read, CEO of WPP: “Scale matters in today’s world as AI and technology transform marketing and global clients look to simplify their relationships. VML will combine world-class creativity with deep expertise in data, marketing technology and platforms to deliver competitive advantage for ambitious brands. It’s another important step forward for WPP as we continue to reshape our offer for the future, simplify our business and unlock further benefits of scale.
“Separately, Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R are two of WPP’s strongest and best-performing agencies. Together, they will deliver an even wider, fully integrated suite of capabilities to our clients in every market. Marketers today expect seamless links between their brand advertising and technology solutions and platforms. VML provides an immediate solution to this business imperative.”
Immediate leadership appointments include Debbi Vandeven, Global Chief Creative Officer; Eric Campbell, Global Chief Client Officer; Juan Pablo Jurado, CEO LATAM; Ewen Sturgeon, CEO EMEA; and Audrey Kuah and Yi-Chung Tay, Co-CEOs APAC.
Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R have partnered globally across clients such as Colgate-Palmolive, Dell, Ford, Microsoft, Nestlé, The Coca-Cola Company and more.
VML will be operational from 1 January 2024.