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WPP merges JWT with Wunderman to create Wunderman Thompson

The new agency will comprise more than 20,000 people in 90 markets and will be operational from early 2019

WPP CEO Mark Read has announced the merger of J. Walter Thompson and Wunderman to form Wunderman Thompson, which has been positioned as a creative, data and technology agency. Prior to taking over WPP as CEO, Read was Global CEO of Wunderman.

Founded in 1864 and acquired by WPP in 1987, the New York-headquartered JWT is one of industry’s oldest agencies with Unilever as its client for over 115 years. Wunderman, founded in 1958, is creatively driven and a data-inspired global digital agency with 200 offices in 70 markets.

“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,” said Read.

The newly formed agency will be headed by Global Chief Executive Officer, Mel Edwards, who is currently the Global CEO of Wunderman. Tamara Ingram, CEO of J. Walter Thompson, has been elevated as the Chairman.

Wunderman Thompson will comprise more than 20,000 people in 90 markets. It will be fully operational in early 2019.

Both the agencies share many core clients, which 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.

“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,” Read added.

Edwards said, “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.”

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