WPP AUNZ continues consolidation with AKQA and Ikon merger

WPP AUNZ is continuing its consolidation of local brands with the combination of Ikon and AKQA media to create a new media company.

The new agency will be branded AKQA Media and will be under the leadership of current Ikon CEO Lesley Edwards as chief executive officer, alongside current AKQA Media managing director, Chris Hitchcock as national managing director. The new AKQA Media entity will continue to work alongside AKQA Australia.

WPP merged AKQA and Grey to form a new network model, AKQA Group in late 2020. In Australia, this  resulted in White Grey, the WPP AUNZ offering from Grey Group, merging with AKQA.

The WPP brand portfolio before the latest rounds of mergers.

WPP AUNZ CEO, Jens Monsees, said combining the best of the company’s media offerings with investment into digital and tech capabilities was in line with the company’s strategy to align media, technology and creative.

“Both Ikon and AKQA Media are renowned and respected in the Australian market for a focus upon client-centred solutions, based upon the realisation that media is no longer a stand-alone discipline, having become part of an increasingly complex customer journey.

In an interview with Mumbrella late last year, Monsees said that in the future, WPP AUNZ would ideally sit between traditional holding companies and new, competitive consultancies.

“In the past, whoever was running the company were buying new businesses and new solutions, which was right, but they were not integrated,” he said.

“So they were standalone next to the others, and then you stack up a lot of brands and a lot of silos and solutions. The future, in a connected world and a digital[ly] connected world, is to actually be connected and collaborative as well. And that means to integrate. So, fewer but stronger brands. ”

Edwards said that in today’s marketplace progressive brands were continually adapting their business models to achieve growth.

“A paradox has emerged as CMOs seek less agencies, but more native specialisms, they increasingly seek and need partners capable of collaborating on complex business problems geared towards unearthing future growth and value.

Hitchcock added: “Client needs for clear and decisive programmatic and data-based media investments have never been stronger. It is the right direction for both businesses to combine our capabilities and a positive and natural progression for our brands, offering the newly created team a huge competitive advantage.”

AKQA Media will be launching in first quarter 2021. WPP AUNZ entered into a scheme of implementation deed with WPP plc in December 2020. The shareholders’ vote on the deal is expected to occur in April.


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