WPP merges Y&R and VML to create VMLY&R

Communications holding company WPP has consolidated two of its biggest brands, creative agency Y&R and digital agency VML to create VMLY&R.

The merger comes just weeks after WPP appointed Mark Read as its new CEO and aims to position VMLY&R as a brand experience and brand advertising agency.

VMLY&R’s new logo

WPP’s Read said in a statement: “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.

“This is an important step as we build a new, simpler WPP that provides clients with a fully integrated offering and easy access to our wealth of talent and resources.”

Across Australia and New Zealand, Y&R ANZ’s current CEO is Pete Bosilkovski while VML is run by Aden Hepburn.

Bosilkovski joined Y&R just three months ago from his previous stint at Leo Burnett Sydney while Hepburn has been at the helm of VML locally for more than six years.

VMLY&R will now be run by both Bosilkovski and Hepburn.

Y&R boss Bosilkovski

“While we are still working through the logistics of bringing these two agencies together, it is important to remember this new agency has been created to make something bigger and better. It is not about reducing capability,” a spokesperson from WPP AUNZ, told Mumbrella.

Globally Jon Cook will become the new CEO of VMLY&R. Cook was previously the CEO of VML.

The move appears to sideline Y&R’s global CEO David Sable, who will become non-executive chairman, which WPP said would be a transitionary role.

“I’m thrilled for the VMLY&R team as we start this journey together and harness the best of each agency to deliver culturally relevant world-class work. The landscape of our industry is changing rapidly, and we are committed to being an invaluable partner to CMOs around the world. I look forward to leading this unprecedented unification of two exceptional agencies,” Cook added.


VML’s Aden Hepburn

An internal memo sent to Y&R staff said: “Today, we are two contemporary agencies with enviable reputations who have the ability to provide culturally relevant strategy, creativity and technologically advanced solutions to our clients.

“This is a natural time to align our organisations. The client benefits are clear. We will be able to deliver even more powerful and successful outcomes for our current and future clients.”

Y&R ANZ’s clients currently include Heinz, Burger King, Monash University, Westfield, Best & Less, Alfa Romeo and Thrifty.

VML’s local clients include Lion Beer, Kellogg’s, Ripcurl, UNIQLO, Colgate and Commonwealth Bank.

CEO WPP AUNZ, Mike Connaghan, said VMLY&R brings together strategic prowess and creative, tech and brand experience.

“VML and Y&R have partnered in this market for a long time, formalising that partnership will allow us to accelerate growth for our people, help us build on the relative strengths and scale of
each business and offer a fantastic option for clients across Australia and New Zealand.”

Mumbrella has approached WPP AUNZ for further comment.


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