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COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY

Industry giant posts better-than-expected results in post-Covid recovery

By our News Team | 2022

WPP, holding company for major ad agencies and others, said its 2021 results were two years ahead of the expected recovery timeframe.

Communications industry giant WPP – which is the holding company for the likes of ad agencies Ogilvy, Wunderman Thompson, VMLY&R and PR consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies – recently posted a strong 2021 set of financial results as it benefited from a recovering advertising market and all-round increasing marketing spend by its clients.

The results mirror those posted by other big agency groups in the wake of a rise in post-Covid marketing spend. However, the results are for the period prior to the tensions and conflict in Eastern Europe.

WPP said it had experienced its fastest organic growth in over 20 years and hit its 2023 revenue target two years early. Full year like-for-like revenue increased 13.3% percent in 2021, versus 2020.

Communications industry

Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay

Strong client demand in four key areas

In an earnings call with market analysts and investors, CEO Mark Read said the group saw strong demand for digital marketing, media, e-commerce and technology.

“As clients seek to accelerate their growth and transform how they reach customers, the depth, breadth and global scale of our offer — which combines creativity with technology and data, through Choreograph, and the largest global media platform in GroupM — is proving its value for existing and new clients,” Read noted in a statement.

WPP, which operates worldwide, saw total net new business of US$8.7-billion in 2021 as it expanded its work with Google, won Unilever’s media review and was named Coca-Cola’s global marketing network partner after an agency review.

Group to cease trading in Russian market

Meanwhile, WPP has announced it is to cease trading in Russia. The company has 1 400 employees there, but said it was leaving the country because operating there would be “inconsistent with our values”.

It noted in a media statement: “We deeply regret the impact of this decision on our Russian colleagues. We will provide support to them and work closely with our clients and partners as we discontinue our activities in the country.”

According to Read, WPP is to cease trading in Russia via a number of routes, including transfer of ownership and divestment from its businesses there. This approach would enable existing staff to keep their jobs.

WPP also has around 200 staff in Ukraine and said it is “in constant contact with our leaders in Ukraine to provide financial and other forms of practical assistance for our employees”.

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