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WPP creates new branding super-agency

WPP (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

The Partners' branding for the London Symphony Orchestra won Best of Show at the Brand Impact Awards 2017

The Partners' branding for the London Symphony Orchestra won Best of Show at the Brand Impact Awards 2017

One of the five agencies involved in the new super-agency is The Partners (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

As well as The Partners and Lambie-Nairn, the other agencies coming together will be Brand Union (opens in new tab), Addison Group (opens in new tab) and VBAT (opens in new tab), and each one has been chosen to bring a specific strand of expertise to the new Voltron-style branding outfit.

The Partners and Lambie-Nairn also won in Brand Impact's Entertainment category, with their work for Arte

The Partners and Lambie-Nairn also won in Brand Impact's Entertainment category, with their work for Arte

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.

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Jim McCauley
Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.