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GroupM merges Essence and Mediacom, integrates Mindshare with Neo

Brings together Finecast, Xaxis, and GroupM Services to form GroupM Nexus.

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Mumbai: WPP’s media investment group GroupM announced on Wednesday its plans to merge Essence with MediaCom and Mindshare with Neo in its latest steps to transform and further simplify its operations. The moves, which build on the April 2021 launch of Choreograph, WPP’s global data and technology company, will create a new 9,000-strong cross-channel performance platform built on AI technology, it said.

Additionally, Finecast, Xaxis, and GroupM Services – GroupM’s global community of activation experts – will be brought together to form media performance organisation, GroupM Nexus. Xaxis Global CEO Nicolas Bidon will oversee GroupM Nexus as Global CEO.

Essence and MediaCom will merge to form EssenceMediacom, a new agency offering fusing the digital and data-driven DNA of Essence with MediaCom’s scaled multichannel audience planning and strategic media expertise.

MediaCom Global CEO Nick Lawson will lead newly formed EssenceMediacom as Global CEO. Kyoko Matsushita, after eight years at Essence, is promoted to a new role as WPP’s CEO in Japan as the company continues to invest in expanding, high-growth markets.

Mindshare will complete the integration with global performance agency Neo, wherein both will operate under the Mindshare brand but will retain and scale Neo’s operating model, focused on pureplay performance solutions at its heart, integrating this into Mindshare’s full-funnel offering.

Neo’s 1,200 digital-first, performance experts and consultants will be integrated with Mindshare’s 10,000 media specialists and Neo’s digital-first services will be fully embedded into Mindshare and GroupM’s offering, stated the agency.

With this reorganisation, GroupM’s five agency brands will be streamlined into Mindshare, Wavemaker, EssenceMediacom, GroupM Nexus and Choreograph.

“The future of marketing is outcomes-driven, supported by audience-first planning and continually improving, AI-enabled performance standards," stated GroupM Global CEO Christian Juhl. "Through GroupM Nexus and our agency powerhouses Mindshare, Wavemaker, and EssenceMediacom we are building a tech-enabled future, side-by-side with our clients, that is accountable to advertisers’ growth goals and to our vision for an advertising ecosystem that works for everyone. I also want to congratulate Kyoko, who has grown and strengthened Essence in her time as Global CEO, on her exciting new role as WPP’s CEO in Japan. We will continue to work closely together to strengthen the position of our agencies across APAC.”

The merger of Essence and MediaCom builds on a record of strong business growth for both agencies, according to the agency. Comvergence ranked MediaCom first in the industry for new business wins in 2021 with $2.87 billion in new billings attributed to wins, while Essence has continued to grow and expand its remit with Google and other key clients.

“The formation of EssenceMediacom builds on the strong and proven relationship between the agencies to create the agency model our clients want for the future — one founded on brilliant strategy and brand-building capabilities, with pioneering digital expertise running throughout," said EssenceMediacom CEO Nick Lawson. "EssenceMediacom will not only help our clients see the bigger picture and reimagine what’s possible; it will also provide opportunities for our people to upskill and train in new areas, further enriching and enhancing their careers.”

“Today’s global marketers need both agility and scale from their agency partners to properly support their businesses across international markets. Bringing together Essence and MediaCom – each with their own celebrated histories of excellence – will create a truly unique combination of agile innovation and global scale in a single agency,” added Kyoko Matsushita.

GroupM Nexus will comprise 9,000 practitioners around the world, collectively responsible for the activation of more than two million campaigns managed by GroupM each year. This global community represents the industry’s leading team of experts in digital channels and platforms, search, social, programmatic, AI, cross-channel optimization, and data-driven technologies and software.

GroupM Nexus unites GroupM’s addressable content and TV, AI technology (Copilot), and omnichannel solutions from Finecast, Xaxis, and GroupM Services into a single unit. The global organisation will be underpinned by a new cross-channel performance platform and international delivery hubs to set new benchmarks for performance innovation and efficiency for GroupM’s agencies and clients.

“GroupM Nexus unites leading media talent, digital services excellence, cutting-edge AI technology and unique scaled partnerships into a new cross-channel performance organisation with one purpose: power growth for our people, our agencies and the amazing brands they represent. We cannot wait to innovate together and unlock new opportunities for everyone,” said GroupM Nexus CEO Nicolas Bidon.

“This is a journey we’ve been on for the past year with many clients who have been demanding more diverse media services to drive their growth," commented Mindshare Global CEO Adam Gerhart. "The merger delivers seamless access to Neo’s digital-first capabilities and a relentless focus on performance models to accelerate Good Growth. For our teams it means more opportunity and the ability to create greater impact across the world. I’m delighted to partner with Neo CEO Nasreen Madhany as we complete the integration of the two businesses and move into a new future together.”

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