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WPP merges Essence with MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom

WPP merges Essence with MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom

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WPP’s GroupM will be merging Essence with MediaCom to form EssenceMediacom, a new agency offering fusing the digital and data-driven DNA of Essence with MediaCom’s scaled multichannel audience planning and strategic media expertise.

According to WPP, the new entity will be “designed to power client growth globally with an agile response to a rapidly evolving media landscape". Nick Lawson (pictured left), global CEO of Mediacom, will lead newly formed EssenceMediacom as global CEO. Meanwhile, Kyoko Matsushita (pictured right), global CEO of Essence, will be taking on the role of WPP Japan CEO to aid the company in investing and expanding, high-growth markets.

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

Christian Juhl, global CEO, GroupM said: “We are passionate about the opportunity technology gives us to help our clients navigate constant change and achieve their growth goals.”

He added that the future of marketing is outcomes-driven, supported by audience-first planning and continually improving, AI-enabled performance standards. “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,” he said.

Juhl added,” I also want to congratulate Matsushita, who has grown and strengthened Essence in her time as global CEO, on her exciting new role as WPP’s CEO in Japan. We will continue to work closely together to strengthen the position of our agencies across APAC.”

Matsushita joined Essence in 2014 as the first CEO of the APAC region. This appointment will see her return to Asia, based in Tokyo, after a transition period as the merged EssenceMediacom business.

WPP said that Matsushita’s role as CEO of WPP in Japan reflects its new commitment to identify growth opportunities, drive greater collaboration and cooperation across WPP agencies, and invest in people in a market with a rich history and strong cultural identity.

As the world’s third-largest economy, Japan plays a vital role for WPP in the region and globally. Japan is a US$51 billion advertising market, ranked third after the USA and China and the fourth largest market globally for eCommerce.

Before being named Essence Global’s CEO, Matsushita served as the agency's first global chief client officer. As CEO for Essence in APAC, Kyoko oversaw the management of 11 offices in the region and established Essence's presence in Beijing, Bengaluru, Delhi, Jakarta, Melbourne, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo. She previously led marketing and communications at Sony Europe and all marketing for online games at Electronic Arts in EMEA and APAC. 

The combined entity of EssenceMediacom will have over 10,000 employees across 125 offices by 2023.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to WPP regarding leadership changes in Asia Pacific. 

Essence and MediaCom are already working on several brands together. Earlier this year MediaCom and Essence were both appointed as agencies for Mars, with the former taking the global media agency title while Essence was tasked to manage biddable media. Rankin Carroll, Mars' chief brand and content officer at Mars Wrigley and executive sponsor for media, said the team was impressed by WPP's commitment to evolving the network's own integrated team to deliver that vision, building on Mars' trusted partnership with MediaCom but adding in fresh, digital-first thinking from other GroupM partners, including Essence. Other clients the two work on include Google and NBCUniversal.

Matsushita said: “Today’s global marketers need both agility and scale from their agency partners to properly support their businesses across international markets. 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.”

In addition to the merger of Essence and MediaCom, WPP also shared that Mindshare will be completing its integration with global performance agency Neo. According to WPP, the moves, which build on the April 2021 launch of Choreograph, WPP’s global data and technology company, to create a new 9,000-strong cross-channel performance platform built on AI technology.

Talent from Finecast, Xaxis, and GroupM Services – GroupM’s global community of activation experts – will be brought together to form GroupM Nexus, the world’s leading media performance organisation. Nicolas Bidon (global CEO of Xaxis) will oversee GroupM Nexus as global CEO.

GroupM Nexus will be 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, AI, cross-channel optimisation, and data-driven technologies and software. GroupM Nexus unites GroupM’s addressable content and TV, AI technology (Copilot), 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.

Bidon said: “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.”

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