Google aligns global media account with GroupM’s Essence ahead of local merger

Google has consolidated its global media account with WPP’s Essence, part of GroupM, the tech company has confirmed to Mumbrella, and it is understood that the   changes apply to the local market.

As first reported in Campaign US, Google appointed Essence to its full service media account without a pitch. It previously worked with the agency on programmatic and digital planning and buying, while Omnicom Media Group’s PHD handled its offline locally.

The realignment comes as WPP’s merger of AKQA Media into Essence, is set to come into effect on 1 January 2022, significantly bolstering the agency to around 250 staff across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Pat Crowley was appointed as the first Australian CEO, after T. Gangadhar led the agency across the APAC region.

Pat Crowley, the new, and first CEO of Essence Australia

Google provided the following comment from global chief marketing officer, Lorraine Twohill: “Like all marketers we regularly evaluate assignments across our agency partners. Omnicom has been a strong partner for us over many years and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them across other services.”

Offline media (out-of-home, TV and radio) have been handled by Omnicom Media Group globally, with PHD locally in Australia.

Both GroupM and OMG’s PHD declined to comment on the realignment.

Google spent an estimated $49 million in the 12 months from 20 November 2020 to 21 October 2021, according to Nielsen Ad Intel.

Essence was first added to the GroupM fold in 2015, after WPP acquired the independent agency. Current CEO of GroupM globally, Christian Juhl was CEO of Essence at the time of the acquisition. Google was an existing client of Essence, and is thought to have been a major contributing factor to the purchase.

GroupM’s chief digital officer in 2015, Rob Norman said: “The addition of Essence to GroupM represents significant expansion of our digital expertise, particularly with the Google technology stack. This is consistent with GroupM’s overall policy of a technology agnostic approach.”

The merger of Essence and AKQA Media comes after WPP merged the latter with Ikon Communications in February this year. 

Google’s most recent campaign, for Nest Cam was produced by 72 and Sunny, in collaboration with both Essence and PHD. Google has multiple agencies on its creative roster, working with 72 and Sunny since the agency launched in Australia in 2017.

It also works with The Hallway, first appointed to Google’s creative account in October 2014.


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