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Marketing Featured ANZ

WPP to acquire marketing technology agency Bower House Digital

Australia – Global creative transformation company WPP has agreed to acquire the business of Bower House Digital, a marketing technology services agency located in Australia. Through the acquisition, Bower House Digital will be joining Ogilvy’s global network, further strengthening its ability to deliver technology-driven marketing solutions for clients.

Bower House Digital designs, builds, and deploys digital experiences for clients including Aesop, Bunnings, and Bupa, as well as Target, and Myer. It specialises in implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud solutions.

The acquisition is aligned with WPP’s accelerated growth strategy and focused M&A approach to building on existing digital experience capabilities.

Rose Herceg, WPP’s president for Australia and New Zealand, said, “Companies are seeking one integrated communications solution that combines creativity, technology and data. Bower House Digital’s knowledge in marketing technology will further strengthen our digital expertise in Australia and New Zealand. I’m excited to welcome the Bower House Digital team and clients to WPP.”

Meanwhile, Andy Main, Ogilvy’s global CEO, noted that Bower House Digital has a dynamic team of experts with a track record of delivering truly personalised digital experiences for some of the world’s most recognisable brands. 

“We look forward to driving impact and fueling growth for our clients by scaling Bower House Digital’s capabilities at the intersection of creativity, consultancy, production and operational services across our global network,” said Main.

Bryan Dobson and Meg Quinn, Bower House Digital’s co-founders, commented, “Joining WPP and Ogilvy’s global network represents the next stage in our growth. We are so proud of what our company has achieved, the culture we have created and the team we have assembled over the past five years. Fusing our digital marketing knowledge with the creative powers of Ogilvy will build even bigger and better opportunities for our people and clients.”

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Marketing Featured Global

WPP ties with Epic Games to scale metaverse capabilities

Singapore – Global creative transformation company WPP has partnered with Epic Games, the interactive entertainment company and Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer, to help agencies within WPP deliver a new era of digital experiences for brands in the metaverse. 

The partnership will include a new training program to upskill WPP creatives and technologists, consisting of three separate tracks for executives, creative practitioners, and media experts and strategists. It will see WPP teams working closely with experts at Epic Games to learn how to build next-generation interactive experiences leveraging Unreal Engine, an advanced real-time 3D creation tool used across a range of industries including games, film, architecture, fashion, and automotive, as well as music and live events. 

Moreover, WPP teams will be able to take advantage of training and tools to create new experiences in Fortnite, where creators can build imaginative worlds for brands inside of one of the most globally popular online games. 

WPP will also work with SuperAwesome, an Epic Games company, to deepen its understanding of online safety and privacy to help its campaigns engage younger audiences safely.

Nilufar Fowler, WPP’s executive vice president of strategic partnerships, commented, “We think of WPP as the creative transformation company, one that embraces new environments like the metaverse and sees the potential for clients. Epic’s technology is world-class, and we are delighted to partner with it to raise the bar for social experiences in virtual worlds on behalf of our clients.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Henick, Epic Games’ vice president of metaverse development, shared that the collaboration between Epic, WPP, its clients, and the creator community will accelerate the building of diverse social entertainment experiences that players across the world will love. 

“This partnership with WPP bolsters our mission to educate more trailblazing brands and creators on how Epic’s tools across Fortnite, Unreal Engine, and 3D marketplaces like ArtStation and Sketchfab can be used to bring their metaverse visions to life,” said Henick.

WPP said that this partnership follows its recent announcement of The Metaverse Foundry, a new global metaverse offering through Hogarth, its specialist creative content production company.

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Marketing Featured East Asia

Kyoko Matsushita appointed as CEO of WPP in Japan

Tokyo, Japan – Global creative transformation company WPP has appointed Kyoko Matsushita as its new chief executive officer in Japan. Through her new role, Matsushita will be responsible for WPP’s business in Japan, strengthening its collective capabilities and bringing together people and resources on behalf of clients.

She was recently the chief executive officer for Essence Global, WPP’s global data and measurement-driven full-service media agency, with 23 offices in 12 countries. She joined Essence in 2014 as the first CEO of the APAC region. Before being named Essence Global’s CEO, Kyoko served as the agency’s first global chief client officer, leading the client services practice, client satisfaction, and organic and new business growth.

Speaking about her appointment, she said, “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as WPP’s CEO in a country with so much growth potential for us and the industry. Japan is close to my heart, and the chance to lead the WPP business in a market with tremendous opportunity for us is a real honour.”

Meanwhile, Mark Read, CEO at WPP, said: “Kyoko’s experience and work at the leading edge of technology and her appreciation for building a strong culture make her the perfect leader for our WPP business in Japan. She is highly respected across our industry, and her return to the Asia Pacific region follows a period of great success as CEO of Essence. I have no doubt she will unlock new opportunities for our people and clients in the world’s third-largest economy.”

This appointment will see Matsushita’s return to Asia, based in Tokyo, after a transition period as the merged EssenceMediacom business prepares for its launch.

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Marketing Featured East Asia

China Duty Free taps Superunion to ‘dream up’ Macau flagship opening

Hong Kong — China Duty Free International, one of the established luxury goods operators in China, has commissioned creative company Superunion to create a visual digital experience for its new flagship opening in Macau. Dubbed ‘The Surreal Island’, the project is made up of large-scale digital displays set within the retail space at the Grand Lisboa Palace, Macau.

Superunion, a company under the WPP umbrella, will create content for digital screens that include ceiling displays and wall panels to be displayed in the Macau flagship store. The company worked in collaboration with Peru-based surrealist illustrator, Paolo Torres. Together, they created a poetic world inhabited by characters and scenes, designed through a whimsical combination of retail products and magical creatures.

Different scenes unfold from the art project; a tiger tote stalks the rainforest and a Venus statue built of lipstick sits at the centre of a lake whilst porcelain whales dance in the sky. Each of these narratives was illustrated and brought to life in motion, designed to seamlessly exist alongside the store’s daily life. The scenes are highly intricate, with day and night cycles that reveal new discoveries through every view.

Louisa Luk, senior designer of Superunion, said that the project has been a truly collaborative effort that spanned across time zones and continents, involving creatives both internally and externally from Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Italy, London and Peru.

“The China Duty Free team gave us an invaluable opportunity to flex our skills beyond branding into experience design – culminating in a fine blend of creative tech, illustration, art direction and cinematography. This immersive and dreamlike space speaks to the vibrancy of experiences and culture in Macau, setting up the flagship as a true destination for luxury shopping,” Luk said.

Meanwhile, Miuling Lau, senior marketing manager of China Duty Free International, commented, “Macau is known for its larger-than-life attitude to experiences, having established its identity as a casino city in the last 15 years. Our hope is that we are able to transport our guests to another world as soon as they step into our store and that this project marks the beginning of an otherwise expansive brand world for Surreal Island, where we can break out of the original retail context into other platforms and experiences.”

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Marketing Featured Global

Reddit and WPP unveil multi-year commerce advisory tie-up

London, United Kingdom — Reddit, the social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website, has entered into a long-term consultative partnership with global marketing communications company, WPP. The partnership, a first of its kind for Reddit, and led by its global agency development team, will strengthen Reddit’s on and off-platform commerce offering by closely aligning with WPP’s industry-leading commerce roadmap.

The partnership will tap into the commerce and technology expertise across WPP and its media agencies within GroupM through quarterly advisory meetings. Teams will consult on Reddit’s commerce strategy, ensuring it incorporates the latest insights and intelligence from across the WPP network. WPP will receive a first look at Reddit’s commerce solutions with early access to alpha and beta tests so both companies can collaborate on joint products to take to shared clients. The joint collaboration will also include a joint research piece, to test the effectiveness of future commerce products on Reddit, along with a training program through Reddit Ads Formula, which soft-launched last year.

Reddit builds on its existing partnership with WPP media arm, GroupM, which was one of the very first to meet with Reddit’s ads product team when it was first introduced, this partnership will widen the aperture of Reddit’s relationship with WPP and help inform Reddit’s long term commerce strategy, firmly cementing its role in the wider commerce mix.

Harold Klaje, global EVP and president of advertising for Reddit, commented, “Online communities are not new but they have emerged throughout the pandemic as an integral part of the commerce mix thanks to the highly influential role they play in the consumer path to purchase. I am excited to further strengthen our relationship with WPP and its suite of clients as we continue to collaborate and build together, tapping into the holding company’s impressive expertise and working towards mutually beneficial outcomes for our advertising partners.”

Meanwhile, Amanda Grant, vice president, managing partner, and global head of social for GroupM, said that being a part of the Reddit product council in the past year has given them a seat at the table in terms of early product design, leading to better-aligned product development and advertiser interest.

“The partnership brings key stakeholders in early enough to steer concepts rather than confirm a formed hypothesis. GroupM and WPP are approaching commerce evolution much more methodically with our partners, as our performance expertise helps to connect user behaviours, to platform utility, and finally advertiser need. We are looking forward to richer contributions and partnership with Reddit,” Grant said.

Many WPP client brands are already working with Reddit to drive commerce solutions through Reddit’s highly engaged user base and 100,000+ communities. WPP was also an instrumental part of Reddit’s Product Council, which launched last year as a first-look and feedback session for key partners regarding Reddit’s evolving ads product roadmap. This new partnership will see Reddit and WPP continue to partner on client campaigns with a particular focus on lower-funnel education, strategy, and tactics to drive the strongest purchase outcomes.

The partnership comes as Reddit continues to grow its Global Agency Development team, which has recently appointed London-based Susanne Schmid who joins from Facebook where she was regional agency lead and will serve as Reddit’s global agency lead for WPP. Additionally, former VP, global head of partnerships at Verizon Media, John Baylon has also joined the team as the regional agency lead for Europe, the Middle East, and Asia (EMEA), and will be responsible for servicing all holding companies across EMEA in a newly-developed role.

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Marketing Featured APAC

m/SIX unveils brand identity refresh, transitions as mSix&Partners

Singapore — WPP and The&Partnership’s joint venture, global media network m/SIX, has announced a significant refresh to its brand identity with a change of name to mSix&Partners. The brand refresh also includes a new ownership structure: ‘Best of both Worlds’, as well as a new agency positioning: ‘Further, Faster’.

Following their strengthening of global leadership structure earlier in the year and significant growth during the pandemic, the agency’s new name of mSix&Partners is designed to better reflect the unique ‘Best of Both Worlds’ ownership structure that has galvanized its rapid expansion and strengthened its partnership with its people, clients and other agencies within the WPP network.

The agency has also demonstrated significant growth over the last two years, increasing total billings by 31 per cent, due to new client wins including PUMA in the Asia Pacific region and many more in other markets.

Jack Swayne, managing partner and global CEO of mSix&Partners, said that as a business, they are doubling down on partnership. Swayne added that partnership has allowed them, their clients, and their people to adapt to change in the past and will be even more important as they lean into a continual change in the future.

“Our name must reflect who we are and who we want to be, an agency that is at the forefront of data, tech and media and knows how to connect that to brand experience, comms and unique ways of working; mSix&Partners does that perfectly,” Swayne said.

Dan Whitmarsh, strategy partner and global CSO of mSix&Partners, commented on the new agency positioning, saying, “Further, Faster is the primary benefit our clients feel from working with our unique partnership. Whether the goal is a transformation of their agency model or understanding of how to drive full-funnel effectiveness, we take our clients further in achieving this, faster than anyone else.”

This new positioning brings together all of mSix&Partner’s capabilities across media and commerce, measurement and technology with their well-proven expertise in developing bespoke, integrated multi-discipline teams, often embedded alongside their clients’ marketing operations.

Swayne further commented on the agency’s new brand identity, sharing “mSix is a unique agency: no-one else can combine the agility and entrepreneurial spirit of an independent with the scale of investment in media, tech and talent that only WPP can bring. Our exciting new identity and positioning will be applied across the entire mSix&Partners global network of 49 offices across 41 countries.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Mirum TH’s management beefed up with Tawin Tusnajareon as new MD

Bangkok, Thailand – Mirum Thailand, WPP’s full-service digital agency in Thailand, has announced the appointment of Tawin Tusnajareon as new managing director. Tusnajareon was previously head of technology at loyalty platform The 1.

Tusnajareon is a highly seasoned digital marketing executive with over 20 years of extensive experience in marketing communication, strategic planning, and consultancy, especially in areas of business and digital transformation including mobility, big data & analytics, e-commerce, digital marketing and cloud computing. Aside from being head of tech at The 1, he also held previous positions of delivery lead for Accenture Digital, and assistant VP of hypermarket chain in Thailand, Big C Supercenter.

WPP said Tusnajareon’s responsibility will mainly be to steer the company strategically in the digital transformation race. With Tusnajareon at the helm, the group said it looks to accelerate the tech-and-creativity integration in Mirum Thailand to create the best solutions for international and local brands and to enable them to connect with the consumers effectively through the delivery of enriched experience across all platforms.

“The business world was heavily disrupted in recent years, affecting one and all globally. As the game-changing solution, digital technology adoption is being fast-tracked as brands and organizations struggle to survive and quickly regain their feet for future growth,” said WPP’s Mirum Thailand. 

Mirum said it aims to stand out as the global agency that has enabled integrated digital transformation of numerous organizations in Thailand. Tusnajareon’s role is expected to drive creation of digital services, from digital transformation to digital marketing consultancy, strategic planning, and solution delivery for timely and impactful communication between brands and their audiences.

“I am delighted to be part of Mirum Thailand. I believe that the marriage between technology and creativity will spawn fresh takes on marketing, especially ideas that are based on consumer insights, cutting-edge innovation and technology, as well as informative content and rich storytelling styles. Bringing them together on platforms that reach target audiences accurately, we help brands create better and stronger impacts from their marketing activation,” said Tusnajareon. 

Tusnajareon said that he will use his management experience alongside new digital strategies to step up Mirum Thailand’s offerings and deliver innovative tech and data-driven creative campaigns to clients as the partner who works closely with them towards their goals and success. 

Tusnajareon also cites findings from the ‘Digital 2022: Global Overview Report’, where Thailand’s internet penetration stood at 77.8% of the total population with Thais spending an average of 9 hours and 6 minutes of online time per day.

“These figures speak the trend that Thais are living and working more and more digitally. As a digital agency, we stay strategically ahead of the ever-changing digital landscape and market development to harness up-and-coming innovations and technologies that will click with the consumers and strengthen brands, working towards impactful campaigns and favourable business results from effective lead generation and sales achievement,” he said. 

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Rose Herceg promoted as WPP’s president for ANZ

Sydney, Australia – Creative transformation company WPP has promoted Rose Herceg, former chief strategy officer at WPP ANZ, as the company’s new president for Australia and New Zealand. Through her new role, she will be leading WPP’s business in Australia and New Zealand, supporting agency CEOs, promoting WPP’s collective capabilities and bringing together people and resources on behalf of clients.

As part of her promotion, Chris Rollinson, previously WPP ANZ’s chief financial officer, becomes the chief operating officer, and Tim Matheson will lead WPP’s technology strategy in the market as the new chief technology officer.

Herceg was the founder of Pophouse, an Australian agency for innovation, social trends and business strategy, which she sold to communication company STW Group in 2007. She joined STW as a strategic consultant, and became chief strategy officer of WPP AUNZ following the WPP merger with STW in 2016.

During her stint as WPP ANZ’s chief strategy officer, she has led client-facing activity at the WPP level, helping to deliver the company’s integrated offer of communications, experience, commerce and technology across its network of agencies. She has supported many WPP agencies in successful pitches for new clients, including The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Bankwest, Star Entertainment Group and Vodafone.

Speaking about her appointment, Herceg said, “Our people and agencies are what makes WPP the industry leader. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with them to continue building a culture of loving what we do and always reaching for outstanding results. I’m also thrilled to be working alongside Chris and Tim – two of the finest colleagues anyone could hope for – and all our fantastic agency CEOs.”

Meanwhile, Mark Read, CEO of WPP, commented, “[Herceg] is among the industry’s most respected leaders and I am delighted she has taken up this important role in one of our largest markets worldwide. We have fantastic agencies and thousands of talented people in Australia and New Zealand, and Rose’s job is to help them thrive so they can do great work for our clients. Her extensive marketing and agency experience, as well as a collaborative leadership style, will ensure we bring the best of WPP to our clients.”

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Marketing Featured East Asia

WPP’s Superunion marks 20 years in China with new Shenzhen office

Hong Kong – Superunion, the creative company under WPP, marks its 20-year anniversary in China by announcing the launch of its new office in the city of Shenzhen. Its founding clients will include Tencent, Riot Games, Vivo and Vanke Nantou City, and will be led by Monica Lee, chair of Superunion Asia, and Maggie Chien, business director at Superunion.

The company’s recent works for their Chinese business include partnering with Riot Games to celebrate the 10th anniversary of League of Legends China, and the creative transformation of Nantou City, known as the ancient city of Xin’an and located at the heart of Nanshan District in Shenzhen.

“As the company’s footprint and expertise expand, it is becoming a business not constrained by a specialism, instead acting as a creative partner for the region’s and the world’s biggest businesses across multiple sectors, helping them create meaningful value and change for their audiences and society,” Superunion said in a press statement.

Speaking about their new office in Shenzhen, Lee underpins the technology and innovation in the Greater Bay Area, which will become the region’s version of ‘Silicon Valley’. She added that they have a ‘laser-focused’ vision to build their presence among these new tech companies, who are looking to stamp their name not only in China, but globally.

“They now account for more than 25% of the new tech businesses in the region, and that number is still growing. The common theme with these businesses is their ambition to embrace new ideas. They are no longer looking for traditional agencies who offer standard services – they want partners who can grow with them, and we are perfectly positioned for this,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Benedict Gordon, CEO at Superunion Asia, commented that clients no longer see them as constrained by a specialism, but as a partner that can help them with a wide range of needs in order to create meaningful value and change for their audiences and society.

“Our ethos revolves around being a revolutionary creative company and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) is very much where many of China’s revolutionary creative businesses are born, providing incredible opportunities for us in areas like technology, AI and biotech. Superunion is the first brand company to have a presence across all of Greater China’s major geographies, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and now Shenzhen, so this is an exciting and symbolic milestone for us,” Gordon explained.

He added, “Brands now understand and embrace this change and especially in a post-pandemic world, want to make an impact. Businesses really succeed when they integrate business goals and ambitions with a clear brand strategy that they bring to life. This is where Superunion has really come into its own and where we see the opportunity for further growth, globally.”

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Marketing Featured ANZ

GroupM appoints Aimee Buchanan as CEO for ANZ

Sydney, Australia – GroupM, the media investment arm of WPP in ANZ, has recently appointed Aimee Buchanan as the company’s CEO for Australia and New Zealand, where she will lead the network of agencies under GroupM including Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence, Neo and m/SIX and specialty media businesses including Finecast, Xaxis and Sightline.

Buchanan has been CEO of media communications agency OMD since 2016 and sits on both the Media Federation of Australia (MFA) and social purpose organization UnLtd boards. Her career spans more than 20 years in media agencies. In her time at OMD, the agency has grown to become a well known agency in Australia, hence Buchanan has been a leading voice shaping the Australian media landscape and driving progress around brand responsibility and diversity and inclusion.

Speaking about her appointment, she said, “I am excited to take on the new role at GroupM and believe they are uniquely placed to influence how media drives growth for clients’ businesses and shapes society. I look forward to working alongside the GroupM leadership and the broader team to set GroupM up for a bright future.”

She also mentioned that she has loved every step of the journey with the OMD team and that she is proud of what they have built and achieved together. 

“A big thank you to all of the OMDers across the nation, our clients and partners for all their support over the last 10 years,” Buchanan added.

Meanwhile, Ashutosh Srivastava, APAC CEO at GroupM and acting CEO at GroupM Australia, commented that Buchanan is ‘an exceptional agency leader with a phenomenal track record and an intimate knowledge of what clients need, and how agencies and their people thrive’. 

“She is a truly visionary leader, whose priorities and integrity align with ours. She is client-obsessed and always puts her people and culture first,” Srivastave stated.

He added, “GroupM’s purpose is to harness intelligence and imagination to create, integrate and scale breakthrough ideas that help businesses leap forward. Aimee is the perfect person to lead GroupM’s ambitious program of change, enable our agencies to succeed and enhance their capabilities to meet current and future client needs and drive faster growth in the business.”