MEC + Maxus = Wavemaker: the world's second-largest media agency

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 7 September 2017

GroupM’s new agency, which combines MEC and Maxus, says it will bring a different approach to media planning that will use [m]Platform audience data and analysis to plan more effective and precise activations along the purchase journey.

The agency has been named Wavemaker, borrowed from MEC’s rapidly growing content business. It was chosen to symbolise a the agencies ambition to make waves and provide bold thinking.

The agency is being positioned as a media, technology and data agency rather than a media agency. The agency is keen to spruik its purchase journey 'obsession' and data and tech credentials to distance itself from traditional media buying shops in a flat market.

An emphasis on data-driven planning helped establish Omnicom's Hearts & Science as the hottest media agency in the world but its reputation owed more to the innovative tools and efficiency it brought to market for huge brands under budget pressure.

Wavemaker's positioning will count for little if its consumer journey 'obsession' doesn't drive results or planning innovation. Most media agencies would argue they do consumer journey planning to some degree, how will Wavemaker be any different?

The breakdown of Wavemaker’s global workforce provides some clues. It includes at least 2,900 digital experts, 750 content experts, 400 data scientists, 200 platform and tech experts and an undetermined number of other media roles.

One thing it will have in its favour is considerably more scale. Wavemaker will launch as GroupM’s largest media agency with $38 billion in global media billings and 8,500 staff. This edges it ahead of Mindshare ($34 billion) and MediaCom ($32.9 billion), and makes it the second largest media agency in the world behind OMD.

The new agency is expected to launch in January.

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