Report by Mark Read, chief executive officer and Mark Povey, chief operating officer
In 2014, WPP Digital expanded the depth and breadth of its digital offer, focusing on five key areas – mobile, e-commerce, data and technology, content development and social media marketing. It has grown both organically and by acquisition and investment; and the WPP Digital companies continued to win new business, build capability, and receive awards and recognition from partners and industry organisations.
POSSIBLE, a leading digital agency network, cemented its position as a results-oriented creative agency. The agency enhanced its mobile capabilities with the acquisition of Double Encore, a leading mobile specialist, and extended its digital content expertise with the acquisition of Swift, a leading creative agency. POSSIBLE’s strong culture was recognised by Advertising Age and named as a Best Place to Work.
Digital marketing agency Rockfish continued its strong growth. The development of innovative capabilities in e-commerce, shopper marketing and retail operations led to new business wins and multiple awards. Accolades included OMMA Agency of the Year for Design, an MMA Smarties Finalist, a Digiday Retail Awards Winner and a member of Agency Post’s 10 Fastest-Growing Mobile Agencies.
Blue State Digital strengthened its market position as one of the world’s top agencies for mobilizing communities of supporters of global brands. BSD mobilised millions of people around the biggest moments in 2014. Ten billion targeted emails were sent, $169 million was raised for causes and campaigns and 40 web platforms were launched for brands, nonprofits and campaigns including Google, Starbucks, Climate Reality Project, UK Labour Party and EMILY’s List. The agency was honoured with the Digital Campaign of the Year and the Social Campaign of the Year in the Healthcare Marketing IMPACT Awards for its work with the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care, as well as several Webbys for its work with Freedom to Marry, NAACP, Malaria No More and A World At School’s ‘We Stand with Malala’ campaign.
Johannes Leonardo, a creative-led digital agency, strengthened its creative solutions in line with the agency’s ‘Consumer is the Medium’ philosophy, which prioritises deep connections with consumers. JL’s approach resonated with clients which led to new business wins with leading brands including adidas Originals, Mondelēz, TTI Floor Care and TripAdvisor.
Interlude, a digital media company that designs and develops interactive video technology, received four Gold Lions and one Bronze Cyber Lion at Cannes for its interactive music video ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, the first-ever music video for Bob Dylan’s classic hit. The video generated an incredible response from consumers and fans alike.
Hogarth, a marketing implementation agency, added new business and new assignments from existing clients. Hogarth’s innovative production and technology capability has delivered significant savings for multinational clients. The demand for efficiency of digital production is expected to continue to grow, providing further opportunity for Hogarth to increase its client base.
Acceleration, a marketing technology consulting and systems integration company, enjoyed a record growth year in 2014. The company benefited by the expansion of relationships with major clients including Royal Caribbean, SABMiller, AARP, Emirates Airlines and Sky. Acceleration continues to expand its footprint globally with offices in London, Barcelona, South Africa, Buenos Aires, Denver, Dubai, Miami and New York.
Salmon, a highly innovative e-commerce consultancy, continued to grow and expand its capabilities. In September, Salmon acquired Neoworks, which specialises in the implementation of e-commerce sites using SAP’s hybris technology. The acquisition complements Salmon’s existing technology skills, offering clients greater flexibility to work with the most appropriate platform for their needs.
The Data Alliance, a horizontal team that helps WPP companies access and leverage data, made excellent progress in 2014. The group signed partnerships with Factual, DataSift, Weather Analytics, SAP and Facebook that will provide WPP companies with access to valuable insights, which will in turn benefit their clients.
Our investments have contributed meaningfully to performance in 2014. Consistent with our strategic priorities, we made investments in content-focused technology companies. In February, WPP invested in Percolate, a leading technology platform that helps brands manage and distribute content across social channels at scale. In March, WPP Digital acquired Cognifide, a digital technology and experience management consultancy that specialises in content management and digital asset management. Cognifide’s client roster includes Ford, Telegraph Media Group, Penguin Random House, RBS, Virgin Media, GSK, John Lewis, Investec, Shell, Novo Nordisk, Oticon and Coutts. Founded in 2005, Cognifide has offices in London, New York and Poznan, Poland.
Our investments have contributed meaningfully to performance in 2014. Consistent with our strategic priorities, we made investments in content-focused technology companies
We are pleased with our progress in 2014 and, looking ahead to 2015, see tremendous opportunity for growth. As the world becomes more connected, the demand for WPP Digital’s services will only increase. We look forward to helping brands digitise their businesses and shape their strategies for the future.