WPP brings back VML name in Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R merger

WPP has overnight revealed plans to bring together creative agency brands Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R to create a new mega agency, VML.

The global merger is set to take effect from 1 January 2024, however Mumbrella understands the specific implications for both agencies’ Australian outposts are yet to be confirmed.

Just five years after its retirement in 2018, the move marks the return of the VML name to the WPP stable. Alongside Y&R, the VML agency brand was at the time part of an earlier consolidatory move to create VMLY&R.

“VMLY&R will be a powerful brand experience offering and a core agency brand for WPP. VML and Y&R have distinct and complementary strengths spanning creative, technology and data services that make them a perfect match,” WPP said of the merger in 2018.

The holding group has pitched the latest merge as the creation of the “world’s largest creative agency”, with the new VML pegged to combine “brand experience, customer experience and commerce”.

Locally, VMLY&R is headed by AUNZ CEO Thomas Tearle, while Gavin Bain holds the top job for Wunderman Thompson Australia. It is unclear yet what the new agency’s consolidated leadership will look like.

On a global level, VML will be lead by VMLY&R boss Jon Cook and Wunderman Thompson’s Mel Edwards, with Cook taking on the role of CEO and Edwards named as global president.

Mumbrella has contacted WPP for comment on the AUNZ rollout.


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