WPP has created a new unit called Design Bridge and Partners, formed by the merger of design agency Design Bridge, and Superunion, a brand and design consultancy. The company will launch in January 2023 and will enable clients to "leverage a full range of industry-leading design expertise", driving growth and transformation through consumer, business, lifestyle and experience design. According to WPP, with its existing skills and client bases, Design Bridge and Partners will have centres of excellence in key locations worldwide.
The move follows the combination of other WPP agencies to create AKQA Group, BCW, EssenceMediacom, VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson and most recently FGS Global. The two agencies will continue to operate as separate entities until the end of the year while the structure and market-facing brands of the new company will be assessed in each market over the coming months based on client and local needs.
John Morris (pictured left), the current CEO of Design Bridge will be the CEO of Design Bridge and Partners, in partnership with Jim Prior (pictured right), current CEO of Superunion, as chair. WPP will unveil the full management team and creative leadership at a later time but will comprise current leaders from Design Bridge and Superunion.
According to WPP, Design Bridge and Partners will also expand by bringing together experts in every aspect of brand strategy and design with a shared creative philosophy of using the power of exceptional design to solve business and societal challenges. The new company will have a strong cultural focus on collaboration and nurturing talent. There will be new growth opportunity for its existing talents such as upskilling across all areas of design, working with a broader range of leading clients, and increased mobility across a larger global company and the wider WPP network.
Design Bridge clients comprise consumer brands, such as Diageo, Unilever, Mastercard and Fortnum & Mason. Meanwhile, Superunion has expertise in corporate branding and brand experience work for clients such as NASA, Bank of America, Intel and the BBC.
In April, WPP’s GroupM merged Essence with MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom, a new agency offering the fusion between the digital and data-driven DNA of Essence with MediaCom’s scaled multichannel audience planning and strategic media expertise. According to WPP, EssenceMediacom is “designed to power client growth globally with an agile response to a rapidly evolving media landscape".
In 2021, it reorganised the business operations of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R in Malaysia and Indonesia. Both agencies continue to operate under their respective names in each market. Both agencies will also still retain their respective clients. Additionally, in 2020, WPP’s agencies, Geometry and VMLY&R, had joined forces to launch VMLY&R COMMERCE, an end-to-end creative commerce company. VMLY&R COMMERCE is said to be central to the VMLY&R network’s total brand and customer experience offering.
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WPP merges Essence with MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom
WPP reorganises Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R in Malaysia and Indonesia
WPP agencies Geometry and VMLY&R join forces to unveil VMLY&R COMMERCE