WPP Restructures Around Integration And Single P&Ls

As JWT and Wunderman merge, shortly after Y&R and VML were also brought together, we are starting to see what Mark Read thinks WPP should look like, and so far, it all appears to make a lot of sense.

Advertisers want the option of dealing with a single, streamlined ad agency with creative, strategy and digital all under one roof. Compared to the alternative of having to look around for various shops, the merged WPP agencies would appear to offer advertisers interested in a one-stop-shop approach what they are looking for.

I also suspect the benefit we are not seeing written about is a single P&L. In fact, I'm surprised about how little coverage this gets because, from my experience, it's a huge issue for advertisers. Even if it's not equated to a single billing structure, advertisers have long complained about budgets growing as work is handed out to sister agencies and multiple teams all vie to increase the size of the pie.

Advertisers generally want to have the pie stay the same size and for sister agencies to bid for varying portions, as long as it doesn't mean bigger budgets as mission creep sets in.

There is something a lot more honest about a single P&L. It's a single costing device that an agency and an advertiser can work from. I have heard stories that would make your toes curl about what happens when ad agency tasks a creative sister agency to come up with a campaign. One example that springs to mind is when the "miscellaneous" unforeseen costs for a television commercial were more than most of us will make in several years of work, and were nearly as much as the originally agreed fee. 

Mark Read made no secret of the fact that he saw WPP's creative agencies as the part of the business that was most in need of reform as advertisers moved away from old ways of working to the new.

With clients seeing no difference between strategy, creative, data and digital, it was always likely that bold moves would be needed to build offerings that are so integrated, they are provided under the same roof by the same company.

So the new WPP would appear to be built around offering streamlined, integrated campaigns that could possibly address the often overlooked issue of a single, shared P&L. This is clearly the way forward, as far as Mark Read is concerned. I'd wager there are few who would disagree with him. 

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