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WPP agencies Bates Asia and CHI form JV

MUMBAI: Bates Asia and CHI & Partners, both WPP group’s integrated media agencies, have formed a 50:50 joint venture company Bates CHI & Partners. The joint venture will function as a ‘new model’ network with deep roots in Asia and world-class creative credentials.

The new network will have 16 offices across the globe with one each in London and New York and 14 in Asian countries. It will create a strong offering for clients wanting to marry world-class creativity and strategic skills with deep local insights.

Johnny Hornby will lead the joint venture globally while David Mayo will run operations in Asia in his role as Bates CHI & Partners CEO. The company’s name Bates CHI & Partners will be used in Asia while the London and New York offices will retain CHI & Partners. Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific planning director Mark Sinnock will join the agency as chief strategy officer for Asia.

WPP owns 100 per cent of Bates Asia and 49.9 per cent of CHI & Partners.

Bates CHI will give western clients direct access to strong market capabilities across Asia’s fastest growing economies while at the same time, Asian brands wishing to break into Europe and USA will benefit from local knowledge, world-class creativity and a dedicated agency network.

CHI & Partners founding partner Johnny Hornby said, “The joint venture brings together Bates, the agency that invented the Unique Selling Proposition back in the 1940s, with CHI, the creators of ‘the big idea’, its modern equivalent. This new model network will use our big ideas process to put together bespoke multi-disciplined teams from a variety of disciplines and geographies. It will be a nimbler, faster, more modern alternative to the big networks.”

Bates CEO David Mayo said, "It’s a compelling proposition. Clients all over the world - just like the consumers they serve - are increasingly leaning towards more bespoke solutions developed from a wider menu of talent and skills which by definition don‘t all live in the same place anymore. At the same time they demand geographical spread in order to reach multiple, connected audiences. The new Bates CHI & Partners forms a global network with access to some of the best tools and skills available anywhere.”

Bates was acquired by WPP in 2003 and later merged with the agency 141 to form Bates 141. Last year though, it was rebranded to drop the 141 from its name. Bates Asia’s global clients include Unilever, Indonesia and Diageo, while CHI & Partners handles Lexus and Samsung globally.

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