WPP has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in branding and design agency Made Thought.
Made Thought will be integrated into AKQA and will join forces with Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office to form The New Standard, a collective that provides clients with transformational design and creative thinking.
The partnership will enable each studio to maintain creative independence while facilitating greater collaboration to deliver connected, cross-platform work, harnessing the specialist talent from across all design disciplines.
Founded in 2000 by Paul Austin and Ben Parker, Made Thought employs 55 people across offices in London and New York, the latter of which opened in January 2021. It partners with clients, including Pinterest, Unilever, LVMH, MoMA, Sonos, Paul Smith, and Rosewood Hotels, to produce work rooted in design that also creates a connection with consumers and drives behavioural change.
The acquisition is aligned with WPP’s accelerated growth strategy and focused M&A approach to further strengthen its core creative capabilities in marketing, communications and design, and follows the acquisitions of Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office, which both joined WPP in 2018.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said, “WPP is known for its creative excellence and our award-winning work that helps drive transformative growth for our clients. Bringing Made Thought together with Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office to create The New Standard will further strengthen our position as a creative leader and raise the bar for design that speaks to people across different platforms.”