Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R to merge

By AdNews | 18 October 2023
Jon Cook and Mel Edwards.

WPP is merging Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R.

The new entity starting January 1 will be known as VML, creating the industry’s largest creative company with more than 30,000 people in 64 markets.

Jon Cook at VMLY&R becomes VML global CEO and Mel Edwards, at Wunderman Thompson, VML global president.

“The future of building strong brands and businesses requires the interconnectivity of brand experience, commerce and customer experiences,” says Cook.

"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.”

Edwards says the new agency will 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," she says.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, says 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," he says.

"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."

Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R were launched in 2018.

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 ColgatePalmolive, Dell, Ford, Microsoft, Nestlé and The Coca-Cola Company.

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