WPP, the world's largest communications services group, has announced that five of its top brand consultancies and design agencies are being merged to create a massive new global brand agency.
The new agency will have a network of 750 people in over 20 countries, with client billings in excess of $100 million worldwide.
It might seem a strange decision to create an enormous new agency at a time when the trend seems to be for small, agile operations staffed by a handful of creatives at most. But WPP says that the decision has been made as part of a client-centric plan for growth.
"It will enable clients to engage with a wider array of specialists, provide a more connected set of services, and will make the strategic, creative and client-focused excellence of each of the five agencies accessible at scale," the company explains in its announcement.
One of the five agencies involved in the new super-agency is The Partners, which triumphed at the recent Brand Impact Awards 2017, winning the Best of Show accolade for its work with the London Symphony Orchestra. It also scooped the prize in the Entertainment category for its Arte branding, created alongside another agency that's part of the merger, Lambie-Nairn.
As well as The Partners and Lambie-Nairn, the other agencies coming together will be Brand Union, Addison Group and VBAT, and each one has been chosen to bring a specific strand of expertise to the new Voltron-style branding outfit.
WPP explains: "It will combine Brand Union's strategic strength and global influence, The Partners' award-winning creative excellence, Lambie-Nairn's unparalleled history in identity and motion graphics, Addison's unique understanding of corporate audiences, content development and digital delivery and the premium packaging offer of VBAT (which will continue to operate under the VBAT name)."
The new agency will be led by Jim Prior - currently CEO of The Partners and Lambie-Nairn - as Global CEO, and Simon Bolton - CEO, Worldwide of Brand Union - as Executive Chairman. As yet it doesn't have a name, but there's plenty of time to sort that out, as it's not launching until January 2018.