WPP is combining two more agencies in another sign of consolidation at the world's biggest ad holding company
- Ad holding company giant WPP is folding retail agency Geometry Global into WPP's larger network VMLY&R, according to sources with direct knowledge.
- The move is part of a larger effort by WPP CEO Mark Read to simplify the company, which employs around 100,000 people worldwide.
- Insiders said leaders discussed merging Geometry for years and that it's had relatively slow growth.
- One key question is if one of Geometry's biggest clients and longtime WPP client, British American Tobacco, will stay with the agency after the reorg.
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Ad holding company giant WPP is continuing its consolidation by folding its retail agency network Geometry Global into VMLY&R, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Word inside the company was that WPP planned to drop the Geometry name entirely and rename the new entity VMLY&R Commerce and that Geometry CEO Beth Ann Kaminkow would report to VMLY&R global CEO Jon Cook.
Insiders said the move is part of WPP CEO Mark Read's ongoing attempts to turn the company around by simplifying its operations as it like other holding companies have been pummeled as advertisers slash spending in the economic downturn.
Just last week, WPP merged digital agency AKQA and traditional creative agency Grey to create the AKQA Group. VMLY&R was itself the product of a 2018 union between VML and Y&R.
Geometry, VMLY&R, and WPP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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WPP formed Geometry Global in 2013 of shopper marketing or activation agencies G2, OgilvyAction and JWTAction to take advantage of growth in digital and mobile ad spending. It employed around 4,000 people in 56 markets.
When Geometry became part of WPP's JWT (now part of Wunderman Thompson), insiders said it was one of the WPP agencies most likely to be absorbed by a larger network. It now employs about 1,500 people, half of whom work in the US, according to one of the sources.
One person close to the business said that Geometry has struggled to find a place at WPP and that leaders discussed merging it for years. Another said that Geometry has had relatively slow growth despite Kaminkow hiring a number of e-commerce specialists.
"Within WPP, it's always been true that if you're growing and profitable, you remain independent," this person said.
Meanwhile, e-commerce advertising has grown more important to WPP, leading it to assemble a cross-agency team to retain Unilever's business in North America earlier this month.
One key question is if Geometry's biggest client and longtime WPP client, British American Tobacco, will stay with the agency after the reorg. British American Tobacco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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