Geometry to join VMLY&R as ‘creative commerce company’ VMLY&R Commerce

WPP has announced experience agency Geometry will be joining VMLY&R as ‘creative commerce company’ subset, VMLY&R Commerce.

WPP AUNZ described the merger as ‘a great outcome for both our clients and teams, following close collaboration between the two complementary brands on a global level for many years’.

Geometry is joining the VMLY&R network as VMLY&R Commerce

In Australia, VMLY&R Commerce will be lead by Geometry AUNZ CEO, Sean Taylor. VMLY&R CEO, Jon Bird, will continue leading the agency.

Mumbrella understands no client conflicts will occur and it the move will also not result in any redundancies.

The formation of VMLY&R Commerce comes a week after WPP handed down the merger of AKQA and Grey (or White Grey in Australia), resulting in AKQA Group.

Speaking to Mumbrella last week, WPP AUNZ CEO Jens Monsees said Grey joining AKQA was in alignment with holding group’s global strategy to offer clients “creativity empowered by tech”. He also did not anticipate another merger being announced before the end of the year.

However, in Australia, Geometry joining VMLY&R has been touted as offering “Geometry a boost in creative firepower, and VMLY&R enhanced opportunities in commerce”.

Speaking at Mumbrella360: Reconnected this morning, founder and executive chairman of S4 Capital, Sir Martin Sorrell, criticised WPP’s, the holding group he founded, recent mergers as “management by spreadsheet”.

“Take a region like APAC where you slam two businesses together and the people leading those businesses don’t know who’s going to report to who or who’s going to work with who. It creates uncertainty amongst clients too,” he said.

“I don’t think clients are being consulted on some of these moves. From what I hear on the grapevine, major clients have not been consulted and are insisting that brands are not collapsed in the way that central management sort of dictates.”

The loss of legacy brands is a particular criticism from Sorrell: “You’ve seen the elimination of my young baby, or old baby, WPP. You’ve seen the elimination just willy nilly of JWT. That’s gone… The elimination of Y&R. The elimination now of Grey, although I think there is some people resistance to that and definitely some client resistance to that.

“So I think the problem here, again, is management by spreadsheet or press release. There is a lack of thought, you know, simplicity is the hobgoblin of small minds.”

The merger of VML and Y&R in Australia kicked off with the agency reclaiming the creative account for Defence Force Recruiting. However, the departure of joint CEOs Pete Bosilkovski and Aden Hepburn within the year of the merger taking place sparked a mass exodus of senior staff from the agency.

At the start of this year, McDonald’s also consolidated its account with DDB Sydney, moving social media and digital responsibilities away from VMLY&R.

In Australia, Geometry boasts KFC amongst its key clients.

VMLY&R Commerce will be fully operational from 1 January 2021 with the integration of the teams continuing throughout the year.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, commented: “this new company will offer outstanding creativity, industry-leading commerce expertise, and sophisticated data and technology skills to help brands grow in an omni-channel world. It also meets clients’ needs for simple, tightly integrated propositions from their marketing services partners.”

On a global level, VMLY&R Commerce will be led by the current global CEO of Geometry, Beth Ann Kaminkow, as global chief executive officer. VMLY&R’s global CEO is Jon Cook.

Kaminkow said: “Consumer experiences today are [centred] on commerce, making it increasingly important to our clients’ marketing and media decisions.

“As the pandemic accelerates new consumer [behaviours] and expectations, commerce is fast becoming the next channel for the most creative engagements and experiences. With the launch of VMLY&R Commerce, we can now offer our clients creative commerce at scale, harnessing data and technology to build brands and sell products across channels.”


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