WPP announces a global merger of two of its key creative brands

By our News Team | 2023

Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R will join forces from next year, forming a new creative giant claimed to be industry’s largest.

WPP, the UK-based multinational advertising and marketing communications company, has announced that it is to merge two well-known companies within its stable – Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R – from the beginning of 2024.


The combined entity will be known as VML and it is claimed that this will become the industry’s largest creative company.

Marketing Industry

Photo credit: Wunderman Thompson 

“VML unites two of the most awarded creative agencies in the world, each with world-class commerce, customer experience and marketing technology capabilities,” WPP says in a media statement.


The statement adds that VML will be equipped to support clients on creative brand growth strategy and transformation initiatives – all powered by data operations, technology platforms and partnerships with leading technology companies. It will also provide “an exceptional offer” for healthcare companies and B2B marketers.


Respective client bases, functional expertise and geographic strengths mean the agencies are complementary, and the combined company will have more than 30 000 people in 64 markets, including in Africa.


Strong leaders from across both companies


Jon Cook becomes VML Global CEO and Mel Edwards VML Global president, with the broader management team bringing together strong leaders from across both companies.

“The future of building strong brands and businesses requires the interconnectivity of brand experience, commerce and customer experiences,” says Cook. “We recognised the immediate opportunity to create what every consultancy and advertising agency aspires to build with the formation of VML.”

“We’re especially excited to present our new offering to the industry as we don’t believe there is another company as creatively awarded with our depth in customer experience and commerce.” 


States Edwards: “This is the right suite of capabilities, offered at just the right moment at an unprecedented scale.


“It’s incredibly exciting because, with this new agency, we have the chance to shape the future of modern marketing in every key market around the world.”


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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
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