Merger expands VMLY&R footprint in NZ

By Melina Gouveia | 19 March 2019
Sven Baker

WPP AUNZ announced the merger of Assignment Group and Y&R NZ to form the local arm of VMLY&R.

Assignment’s team in Wellington will relocate to Y&R’s premises, with both rebranding as VMLY&R in line with a global rollout designed to unite the two leading WPP brands to deliver an integrated digital and creative offering to clients on a global scale.

Sven Baker, New Zealand managing director at WPP AUNZ, says the merger aims to create a “future-focused agency, better equipped to service the changing needs of our clients in a world being transformed by technology”.

“Combining Assignment and Y&R with the vast scale and capability of VMLY&R globally will create an incredibly exciting opportunity to build an agency capable of delivering truly connected customer experiences,” he says.  

Baker says while the move would see the long-standing Assignment and Y&R brands disappear from the NZ market, their legacy of strategically focused creativity, media and exemplary client service will remain at the heart of the new VMLY&R, which now includes UX and brand experience as a core integrated service.

As part of the merger, current Y&R Wellington managing director Fleur Head will now lead VMLY&R Wellington, while James Mok will continue to lead the VMLY&R Auckland office.

The new leadership team will have dual reporting lines to Sven Baker, New Zealand managing director WPP AUNZ, and VMLY&R’s AUNZ leadership team of Aden Hepburn and Pete Bosilkovski.

Baker says bringing the agencies together is part of a broader global WPP strategy to simplify and streamline the portfolio into new future proofed market offerings, with a specific focus on integrating the transformative power of creativity and technology.

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