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Technology Featured APAC

foodpanda launches ‘panda ads’, teams up with GroupM to accelerate adtech growth in APAC

Singapore – Food and grocery delivery platform foodpanda has launched its advertising technology and marketing solutions suite ‘panda ads’. As part of the suite launch, the company has partnered with GroupM to accelerate panda ads growth across Asia.

With this strategic partnership, GroupM clients can tap into the fast-growing AdTech space by activating foodpanda’s in-app advertising and other media assets, and collaborate with foodpanda on brand partnerships and campaigns. 

The partnership spans seven markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

With the launch, foodpanda unveils a fresh suite of integrated advertising features that encompass the foodpanda app, digital marketing assets and new partnership programmes. Through panda ads, foodpanda aims to help brands increase their visibility and reach, improve sales conversion and build brand awareness to drive sales.

As an integrated advertising solution, panda ads offers a full suite of advertising options, from static or carousel images, to videos and lead-generating ads. Brands can also leverage foodpanda’s social media channels and enter collaborative partnerships across foodpanda’s verticals. These build brand visibility, and allow for performance tracking and monitoring. panda ads support brands with their digital marketing campaigns.

Kiranjeet Singh Purba, senior director of advertising and partnerships at foodpanda, said, “foodpanda has worked extensively to improve our ads solutions over the past year, and we are excited to offer advertisers a new, full suite of ad solutions with panda ads. We are especially thrilled to kick off our panda ads launch with a partnership with leading agency GroupM, and believe this will help their clients tap into new areas of digital marketing in Asia.”

Meanwhile, Toni Ruotanen, head of commerce for APAC at GroupM Nexus, commented, “Our partnership with panda ads covers an extensive region – across seven markets – opening up expansive possibilities for our clients in the digital and mobile space to enhance their brand visibility and increase business impact. panda ads’ innovative tech will see a great degree of personalisation and targeted advertisements, which charts the way forward in retail media.”

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Marketing Featured East Asia

GroupM’s EssenceMediacom appoints Jin Choi as new CEO for South Korea

Seoul, South Korea – EssenceMediacom, GroupM’s newest media agency that combines Essence and MediaCom, has appointed Jin Choi as its new CEO for South Korea. Choi, who has been heading MediaCom as managing director in South Korea for over three years, will be leading the merged agency, which launches in January 2023.

Reporting to both Michael Beecroft, GroupM’s CEO for Northeast Asia, and Rupert McPetrie, EssenceMediacom’s CEO for APAC, Choi’s appointment will be effective from January 2023. Meanwhile, Jay Lee, who has been heading Essence as managing director in South Korea for over four years, will take up leadership of GroupM Nexus in the market.

The EssenceMediacom merger, which was announced in April 2022, will blend the digital strategy, data, analytics and creative technology DNA of Essence with MediaCom’s scaled multichannel audience planning and strategic media expertise, to create an advantage for clients. The ambition is a technology-driven, scaled agency with a performance mindset designed to excel at what a future-facing agency should do.

Commenting on his appointment, Choi said, “I am thrilled to take on the leadership of our new combined agency, and evolve our innovative thinking and best-in-class solutions, in line with consumers’ lifecycles today and in the future. I look forward to leading our phenomenal team in South Korea, and continuing to partner with our diverse and ambitious clients in delivering excellent work, with an agile and proactive approach.” 

Meanwhile, Beecroft said, “Jin is a modern agency leader, with a great balance of deep technical experience, and a proven track record of building and leading high-performance teams. Since he joined the agency in 2019, MediaCom has grown by over 40% through bringing new clients into the agency as well as expanding scope with existing partners, including an e-commerce assignment with P&G.”

“Jay has done an incredible job working with GroupM agencies across markets for more than 16 years, and whilst leading Essence South Korea, has spearheaded the group’s performance marketing, analytics and consulting capabilities. I am excited to continue working with him in his new role,” he added. 

McPetrie said, “Over the last years leading MediaCom, he has put people at the heart of the operation, built strong and sustainable partnerships with our clients, as well as developed new capabilities and products to help solve clients’ business challenges. With Jin leading our merged business, I am confident that our progress will further accelerate.”

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Marketing Featured APAC

GroupM unveils new senior leadership roster in APAC

Singapore – GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, has announced a roster of C-suite appointments in APAC that will be leading the regional transformation of GroupM Nexus – the global performance organisation that unites the network’s performance talent and technologies into one single outfit.

The appointees are Arshan Saha, the new CEO of GroupM Nexus APAC, Jon Thurlow, the new COO of GroupM Nexus APAC, Deepika Nikhilender, the new CEO of Xaxis APAC, and Brett Poole, the new CEO of Finecast APAC and AUNZ.

A founding member of Xaxis APAC, Saha rose through the ranks to become APAC CEO of Xaxis and GroupM’s data-driven specialty businesses, including INCA, Finecast, Sightline, and Acceleration. For over a decade, he led the expansion of Xaxis – an A.I.-powered programmatic engine – into 16 markets and multiplied its revenue by 20-fold.

Saha shared that GroupM Nexus is a cross-channel performance-led organisation that unites its expertise in service excellence, AI technology and the most advanced solutions. 

“This is the future of marketing, and we are poised to offer our clients and agencies the most powerful performance engine that will accelerate their growth. I’m honoured to be working alongside some of the world’s best specialists at GroupM Nexus to collectively cultivate a better media ecosystem,” he added.

Meanwhile, as the new COO of GroupM Nexus APAC, Thurlow will be driving the transformation of Nexus alongside Saha. His new role is an additional appointment to his corporate remit as COO of GroupM APAC.

Thurlow is one of the region’s most accomplished practitioners across the breadth of the network’s business. He architected the consolidation of GroupM’s search, social, commerce, programmatic, and addressable practices in APAC, and for almost three years, he oversaw the complex integration of inter-network systems and structures across 16 markets into a unified campaign delivery platform.

Commenting on his appointment, Thurlow said, “I’m very excited about the launch of GroupM Nexus across the region. Building on the success of the past years, the expanded service and solutions offering that GroupM Nexus will create, represents a wonderful opportunity to deliver genuine market-leading innovation and produce a positive business impact for our clients.”

Moreover, Deepika Nikhilender, who is elevated from SVP to the CEO role at Xaxis APAC, has over two decades of marketing and data science experience. She steered Xaxis’ A.I. and machine-learning ambitions in the region while leading the design of marketing solutions, supply strategy, trading, and operations excellence, as well as ad-tech and platforms strategy.

Deepika commented, “I’m thrilled to embark on this exciting challenge to lead Xaxis APAC into new frontiers where we can break new ground for our clients and agencies with our A.I. differentiated initiatives and solutions. Together with the team, I look forward to cultivating a culture where our talents will continue to thrive as well as strengthening Xaxis’ capabilities to achieve our clients’ desired outcomes.”

Completing the Nexus APAC leadership line-up, Poole, who was formerly managing director of Finecast Australia, has been appointed the CEO of Finecast APAC and AUNZ. With over two decades of experience in product development, tech commercialisation, publishing, and advertising platforms, he has launched and built profitable businesses across native advertising (plista), data tech (mPLATFORM), programmatic trading (Xaxis), and most recently, spearheaded television transformation in Australia where his team grew the Finecast brand to become synonymous with addressable TV and TV innovation.

Poole noted, “I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to continue growing Finecast across APAC as part of GroupM Nexus. I look forward to working closely with Nexus APAC leaders to build on the outstanding work of our Finecast APAC team.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Moving Walls, GroupM partner anew to deliver DOOH capabilities in PH

Manila, Philippines – Building on their recent partnership agreements in Indonesia and Malaysia, media investment company GroupM and global outdoor advertising technology provider Moving Walls have partnered anew to bring automation and accountability to Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising across the Philippines.

The latest collaboration enables GroupM Philippines’ agencies to leverage Moving Walls’ Moving Audiences, an end-to-end audience data-driven planning, buying, and verification solution for DOOH media. Moving Walls has developed a comprehensive technology stack including a DOOH planning tool that predicts audiences based on the most recent movement trends. The Moving Audiences platform has already been used to execute campaigns for multiple GroupM clients.

According to Moving Walls, a majority of DOOH inventory in the Philippines is already connected to this ecosystem by Location Media Xchange (LMX), the supply-focused subsidiary of the Moving Walls group. 

Yasmin Mallari, chief investment officer at GroupM Philippines, stated, “There is no doubt that DOOH’s role in the omnichannel mix will continue to grow as the potential reach of this medium is now across locations where consumers commute, work, eat, reside, and more. Brand investments will also grow when there is accountability around where the ads are being served and how campaigns perform. This partnership enables us to enrich our suite of offerings in DOOH planning and extend further measurement capabilities to our clients.”

Meanwhile, Norman Davadilla, CEO of Moving Walls Philippines, highlighted how this partnership will continue to transform DOOH media in the Philippines. 

He said, “Philippines is a regional DOOH leader where both the buy and sell side industry associations have launched initiatives to implement common measurement standards. We have partnered GroupM in other markets and are excited to extend these capabilities to brands in the Philippines.”

The partnership with GroupM comes less than a year after Moving Walls partnered with the Out-of-Home Advertising Association of the Philippines (OHAAP) to scale the data-driven OOH industry in the country for further growth.

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Technology Featured ANZ

GroupM’s Finecast partners with SBS to bolster CTV advertising efforts

Sydney, Australia – Finecast, GroupM’s addressable TV business, has partnered with Australian broadcaster Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) to make connected TV (CTV) advertising better, and help advertisers reach bigger audiences through BVOD campaigns.

The partnership, which is done also with Xandr, will utilise the strength of ‘Header Bidding’ technology on CTV campaigns, representing a positive shift in the access capabilities for addressable TV, whilst maintaining the benefits of buying flexibility.

The ‘Header Bidding’ technology has long been a part of the digital media ecosystem creating a fairer and more competitive programmatic marketplace for publishers. This provides increased access to inventory for buyers and greater transparency and visibility of available inventory for marketers. By allowing advance bidding on inventory from multiple ad exchanges simultaneously, header bidding reduces the inefficiencies of a sequential waterfall approach.

John Miskelly, APAC investment director at GroupM, said, “This is an exciting development in the connected TV/OTT video space where we can harness the agility and addressability of programmatic and have access to the best inventory. The broadcasters are doing a great job as TV transforms, and SBS and Finecast are demonstrating true best practice for access and innovation in the CTV ecosystem.”

Meanwhile, Lee Callagher, national digital operations and technology manager at SBS, commented, “Being able to prioritise both direct and programmatic demand whilst maintaining our premium ad experience is important for SBS’ future commercial strategy. Working with Finecast to successfully bring ‘Header Bidding’ to connected TV enables greater scale and reach for advertisers in BVOD.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

GroupM appoints Nitin Kumar as chief investment officer of Vietnam

Vietnam – GroupM, a WPP media investment group, has elevated media agency veteran Nitin Kumar to the role of chief investment officer at GroupM Vietnam. Kumar will be based in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and will assume the position on 1st July 2022, taking over the reins previously held by Huyen Trinh.

Formerly the Principal Partner of Products at GroupM Indonesia, Kumar has spent more than one and a half decades immersed in the media and marketing industry. From client leadership to trading, investment, general management and most recently, products development, Nitin accumulated a wealth of experience across key remits at the world’s biggest media investment company including significant tenures at GroupM agencies – Wavemaker and Mediacom.

Nitin has worked with a star-studded roster of clients including P&G, Heinz, Coca-Cola, Wipro, Airtel, Del Monte and many other brands across India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Nitin will report to both Himanshu Shekhar, CEO of GroupM Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam as well as Anita Munro, GroupM’s chief investment officer for Southeast and North Asia, who also chairs the APAC Investment Committee.

Commenting on his appointment, Kumar said, “I am thrilled to join GroupM Vietnam whose roster of local and global advertisers makes for an eyewatering portfolio. Together with my investment team, I look forward to leaning into our local and regional partners to create differentiated and market-leading advantage for brands. We will help our clients unlock even more premium content, data, and first-look rights as well as offer beta testing and priority access to premium inventories.”

Himanshu Shekhar, CEO of GroupM Indonesia, Thailand & Vietnam, shared, “Nitin’s all-round expertise in media strategy, planning, negotiations, trading and product development makes him a highly valuable leader to drive our investment vision and roadmap for Vietnam. This is one of the fastest-growing markets in Southeast Asia with latent potential, and I’m confident that with Nitin’s entrepreneurial skills and commercial acumen, he will be able to lead the team to extract maximum value for our clients in a rapidly evolving digital media ecosystem.”

Meanwhile, Anita Munro, chair of GroupM’s APAC Investment Committee, said, “GroupM Vietnam has built a strong investment legacy that will be further advanced with Nitin at the helm. As he focuses on enhancing the partnerships in-market and augmenting our investment capabilities across all channels, our clients will be able to enjoy far-reaching value.”

Munro added, “In partnership with our regional investment team, Nitin will lead the delivery of GroupM’s Responsible Investment Framework in Vietnam that entails building a diverse, sustainable and high-quality media ecosystem that our clients can invest in confidently now and in future.”

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Marketing Featured East Asia

New Balance HK’s new campaign highlights ordinary people’s positive transformation journeys

Hong Kong – Global sportswear brand New Balance, in partnership with media investment company GroupM, has launched its newest 574 Green sneakers to bring the people of Hong Kong together, lift their spirits, and empower them to fearlessly create a sustainable future for the community. The partnership aims to redefine sustainability through the promotion of positive transformation journeys in Hong Kong. 

With the purpose of encouraging people to contribute to this common cause, New Balance Hong Kong invited Ruby Lau, lifestyle reporter and influencer, to explore three groups of ordinary people in the city who had transformed their lives during lockdown and share their personal stories of how they discovered a life of “new balance” on social media. Interviewees, including a local artist, barista and indie band, represented the positive changes to the city’s culture, nature, and soul. To encourage everyone to get involved, New Balance enhanced the campaign with exclusive offers on eCommerce. 

Commenting on the campaign, Vivien Yau, general manager of New Balance Hong Kong and Yoki Cheng, head of marketing of New Balance Hong Kong, said, “We wanted to acknowledge the great effort of GroupM and New Balance Hong Kong for harnessing the opportunity to empower people in pursuit of their passions, supporting the spirit of perseverance and creating positive changes in the community.”

Yau and Cheng added, “We were thrilled to partner with GroupM in Hong Kong, who led the way on this campaign, providing a platform for these truly inspiring transformation stories, as well as an integrated consumer experience that tapped into our understanding of Hong Kong. It was a small budget online campaign and we are very pleased that it garnered approximately 15.4 million impressions, 95,000 clicks and 172,000 views, while helping to raise the sales of the 574 Green sneaker by 15% in just two weeks!”

Clay Sen, who led the campaign and is responsible for the group’s SEO, CRO and Content functions in Hong Kong, shared, “We were honoured to partner with New Balance on their 574 Green campaign. From the moment we were briefed, we demonstrated not only our understanding of the unique nuances of Hong Kong, but also the versatility of our product offerings and talent at GroupM – this was a truly omnichannel campaign that compromised of the very best in content, creative, search, eCommerce, media and strategy, all of which worked harmoniously together to connect with the city.” 

Caroline Chan, CEO of GroupM in Hong Kong, commented, “I’m so proud of the team and their work. This campaign perfectly encapsulates of our evolution from media partner to New Balance’s fully integrated, end-to-end growth partner. The work also highlighted the team’s finesse for pairing New Balance’s business challenges with consumer insights to create innovative solutions that fused our high-quality media strategy with content and creative production capabilities, closing the consumer loop and delivering conversions—a true evolution for media agencies.” 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Wavemaker Indonesia appoints Praveen Pandey as principal partner for performance

Indonesia – With over 15 years of experience in digital media with stints at GroupM, Omnicom Group, and Publicis Groupe, Praveen Pandey is appointed to the role of principal partner for performance at Wavemaker Indonesia. This is a comeback for Pandey to the GroupM family, where in 2011, he was with MediaCom as its associate director.

Through his industry experience, Pandey has worked with numerous clients with a wide portfolio of brands like Unilever, Volkswagen Group, Bose, P&G, Tata Motors, Cipla, and Shell, amongst others. He has also worked with a few starts-up in the earlier part of his career.

In his new role at Wavemaker, he will be responsible for leading the performance media & e-commerce business for one of the leading beauty tech brands globally – L’Oréal. 

“In continuous effort to strengthen Wavemaker Indonesia, I’m happy to welcome Praveen Pandey. He will help in building stronger agency capabilities and [strengthen] operational excellence on performance media. The landscape is moving fast and every Ad-investment are expected to have better return over the time,” said Amir Suherlan, MD of Wavemaker Indonesia.

Pandey shares that he is excited to rejoin the GroupM family and Wavemaker for the Indonesia market. He remarked that GroupM’s culture has had a huge role in shaping him as an individual and in his success as a professional.

“I am excited to re-join GroupM family in Indonesia. My endeavour is to move the client’s business with the help of enablers like platforms, people and processes. That said, it will be a great learning experience for me at Wavemaker, as we know how the new normal of digital has significantly shifted, I am keen to unlearn and re-learn to keep pace,” said Pandey.

He adds, “In the age of AI, ML, and data-driven marketing solutions, digital marketing can redefine the grammar of marketing. I am privileged to join ‘positively provoked’ culture of GroupM’s Wavemaker.”

Wavemaker in Malaysia has also recently unveiled a roster of new senior leaders. Amongst others, the new appointments included the elevation of Sheley Lim, its former head of digital, to become its new GM.

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Platforms Featured East Asia

GroupM’s Xaxis launches first pDOOH campaign at MTR advertising in HK

Hong Kong – Xaxis, the outcome media specialist from GroupM, has announced that it has launched its first-ever programmatic digital out-of-home (pDOOH) campaign at MTR’s advertising in Hong Kong. The campaign ran throughout Hong Kong for loan and financial services company United Asia Finance Limited.

The advertisements were shown in eight high traffic locations across 41 panels located within the MTR network in Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Admiralty, Central, Tsim Sha Shui, Mong Kok, and Prince Edward through exclusive access with the MTR Trackside Digital Motion Network.

The campaign featured three creative advertisements that utilised time targeting based on the operational hours of surrounding businesses while factoring in weekends and public holidays to ensure the best content with the right context is shown to the right audience. 

“With Xaxis’ programmatic expertise, United Asia Finance Limited was able to take flexible campaign planning to the next level and elevate its OOH advertisements, allowing it to dynamically define its station mix, panel mix, and audience type, and set messages to be delivered at the best time possible,” the company said in a press statement.

The pDOOH campaign will catapult MTR advertising into a new automated phase of OOH with programmatic. It will provide real-time flexibility for United Asia Finance Limited to curate a captive viewing environment by identifying the best time, audience, location and messages to create an effective, efficient, and brand safe channel for its campaigns.

Andy Chung, managing director of Xaxis in Hong Kong, said, “We’re thrilled to make history with MTR advertising and United Asia Finance Limited to launch the first pDOOH campaign at MTR and deliver dynamic content to Hong Kong commuters. Programmatic will bring about a whole new definition of digital creativity for advertisers and consumers alike, providing a non-intrusive avenue for passengers to engage in relevant and high value interactions with brands. It gives marketers much more flexibility such as time targeting, creative changes, or even triggering the ad with real time weather conditions or stock market index.”

Meanwhile, Shirley Chan, managing director at JCDecaux Transport, commented, “Utilising the reach of Hong Kong’s MTR network and the flexibility of programmatic, advertising campaigns are reaching and best resonating with the audience at any time or place. MTR advertising offers the largest coverage of DOOH in Hong Kong, and by having this level of precision, marketers can truly direct the most captivating creative advertisements to the largest audience. We are excited that UA Finance smartly integrates the flexibility of programmatic digital out-of-home (pDOOH) into the MTR network with dynamic content capabilities to deliver tactical and contextual messaging, thus allowing its ad content to be optimised against specific data parameters to ensure the very best target audiences are reached.”

Lastly, Elvis Yan, chief marketing officer at United Asia Finance Limited, said, “We are eager to explore innovative and convenient ways to connect with our customers, and fascinated to learn that UA Finance is the first advertiser to tap into MTR advertising with pDOOH. It’s an exciting space for us to celebrate a new chapter of our innovative journey. Leveraging the powerful visual impact of OOH plus the new programmatic capabilities, this location-based marketing platform enables us to reach a large volume of on-the-go target audiences throughout the day, bringing big uplifts in impressions and efficiency.” 

He added, “At selected MTR locations, we adopt dynamic creative display technology to develop scenario-base ads to communicate our service offering. We strongly believe this innovative solution will be a popular trend for advertising in the new era. It perfectly complements our integrated marketing strategy, tapping into the holistic customer journey.”

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Marketing Featured Global

GroupM unveils new EssenceMediacom, to integrate Neo into Mindshare

New York, USA – To accelerate innovation for clients and further simplify GroupM’s operations, the media investment group by WPP has unveiled the merger of Essence with MediaCom and the integration of Mindshare with Neo, as well as its new 9,000-strong cross-channel performance platform built on AI technology.

EssenceMediacom is designed to power client growth globally with an agile response to a rapidly evolving media landscape. It infuses the digital and data-driven DNA of Essence with MediaCom’s scaled multichannel, audience planning, and strategic media expertise. Through this, clients will be able to leverage an expanded global organisation founded by two agencies that are strategic complements, designed exclusively to fuel client growth. Essence and MediaCom are already using this operational model for three shared global clients, namely Google, Mars, and NBCUniversal.

Meanwhile, Mindshare and Neo will be operating under the Mindshare brand but will retain and scale Neo’s operating model, focused on pureplay performance solutions, and will integrate this into Mindshare’s full-funnel offering. Neo’s 1,200 digital-first, performance experts and consultants will also be integrated with Mindshare’s 10,000 media specialists and Neo’s digital-first services will be fully embedded into Mindshare and GroupM’s offering.

GroupM Nexus will be composed of 9,000 practitioners globally, collectively responsible for the activation of more than two million campaigns managed by GroupM each year. This global community represents the industry’s leading team of experts in digital channels and platforms, search, social, programmatic, and AI, as well as cross-channel optimisation, and data-driven technologies and software. In addition, GroupM Nexus unites GroupM’s addressable content and TV, AI technology, and omnichannel solutions from Finecast, Xaxis, and GroupM Services into a single unit. The global organisation will be underpinned by a new cross-channel performance platform and international delivery hubs to set new benchmarks for performance innovation and efficiency for GroupM’s agencies and clients.

Christian Juhl, GroupM’s global CEO, said, “Through GroupM Nexus and our agency powerhouses Mindshare, Wavemaker, and EssenceMediacom, we are building a tech-enabled future, side-by-side with our clients, that is accountable to advertisers’ growth goals and to our vision for an advertising ecosystem that works for everyone.”

With these moves, Nick Lawson, MediaCom’s global CEO, will be leading the newly formed EssenceMediacom as global CEO, and Kyoko Matsushita, Essence’s global CEO, will be promoted to the new role of WPP’s CEO for Japan, as the company continues to invest in expanding, high-growth markets, as well as Nicolas Bidon, Xaxis’ global CEO, will be overseeing GroupM Nexus as global CEO.

Lawson noted that the formation of EssenceMediacom builds on the strong and proven relationship between the agencies to create the agency model their clients want for the future — one founded on brilliant strategy and brand-building capabilities, with pioneering digital expertise running throughout. 

“EssenceMediacom will not only help our clients see the bigger picture and reimagine what’s possible; it will also provide opportunities for our people to upskill and train in new areas, further enriching and enhancing their careers,” said Lawson.

Meanwhile, Matsushita said, “Bringing together Essence and MediaCom – each with their own celebrated histories of excellence – will create a truly unique combination of agile innovation and global scale in a single agency.”

Bidon also commented, “GroupM Nexus unites leading media talent, digital services excellence, cutting-edge AI technology and unique scaled partnerships into a new cross-channel performance organisation with one purpose: power growth for our people, our agencies and the amazing brands they represent. We cannot wait to innovate together and unlock new opportunities for everyone.”

Adam Gerhart, Mindshare’s global CEO, said that the merger delivers seamless access to Neo’s digital-first capabilities and a relentless focus on performance models to accelerate good growth. 

“For our teams it means more opportunity and the ability to create greater impact across the world. I’m delighted to partner with Neo CEO Nasreen Madhany as we complete the integration of the two businesses and move into a new future together,” he added.