Reports from our company leaders

WPP Digital

Report by Mark Read (front)
Chief executive officer
Mark Povey (far right)
Chief operating officer

Also pictured: David Moore (top left), Chairman, Xaxis and president, WPP Digital; and Shane Atchison (top right), Chief executive officer, POSSIBLE


PP Digital is a group of companies whose capabilities lie at the forefront of digital marketing, experience development and organizational transformation. In 2015, with a focus on five key areas – mobile, commerce, data and technology, content development and social media marketing, WPP Digital companies continued to win new business, build capability, and receive awards and recognition from partner and industry organisations.

POSSIBLE, a global digital agency, reinforced its position as an innovative, results-oriented agency. The agency introduced the industry to its winning philosophy with the publication of the best-selling book, Does It Work? POSSIBLE garnered two Cannes Lions awards for its work on Microsoft’s The Collective Project and was ranked by Advertising Age as one of the industry’s best places to work for the second consecutive year.

Digital innovation agency Rockfish experienced growth across new and existing clients and evolved its innovation offerings in retail, omnichannel marketing, business marketing and digital design. The agency was recognised with a win at the TechCrunch Disrupt Ford Hackathon and was named the innovation agency for Southwest Airlines. CMO Dave Knox was named to Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40 and CEO Kenny Tomlin was named a 2015 Tech Titan by Austin Business Journal.

Blue State Digital strengthened its position as one of the world’s top creative and technology agencies for purpose-driven brands. BSD helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars and launched new platforms for high profile organisations including The Global Fund, United Way Worldwide, Google Re:Work, The Barack Obama Foundation, The Nation magazine, the Natural History Museum in London, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For the second year, the agency was honoured with the Digital Campaign of the Year in the Healthcare Marketing IMPACT Awards for its work with the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care. BSD also won several Webbys for its work with Google, the British Labour Party and EMILY’s List.

Johannes Leonardo, a creative-led agency, continued to treat the consumer as the most potent medium which led to continued success in 2015. JL grew via expanded relationships with key clients including Google, Mondelēz and adidas Originals, and new business wins including the launch of PlayStation Vue, the company’s new streaming TV service.

Digital agency had an excellent year. New business wins included America Móvil, Nestlé Purina, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and all Luxxotica brands. The agency launched a marketing tech consulting business unit and was recognised for its creative capabilities with two Lions at Cannes for its work with Saraiva and Singulares, as well as an Effie Award for its work with Motorola.

Hogarth, a marketing implementation agency, strengthened its position via new business wins in the Middle East, APAC and Latin America, and expanded geographically with the opening of a new office in Istanbul. The agency won and delivered significant new business due to the increase in demand for global digital production efficiency. Hogarth enjoyed particular success in commercial production, engaging globally with some key new clients.

By continuing to acquire, invest in and partner with the most innovative companies in the world, WPP Digital improves the Group’s and our clients’ understanding of the digital media and technology landscape

Marketing technology and systems integration consultancy Acceleration had another strong year in 2015. The company won the Data Story Telling Award for Best Data Integration and was listed by Ventana Research as a 2015 Leader in Business Intelligence based on digital transformation work undertaken with SABMiller. Acceleration also won digital and data transformation initiatives with Standard Bank and T-Mobile.

Global digital commerce consultancy Salmon delivered market-changing commerce solutions for leading brands including Audi, Sainsbury’s and Selfridges. Salmon delivered a new global B2B web platform for Premier Farnell in 50 language variants and 20+ currencies, and a new commerce platform for Domestic and General. In recognition of its work, Salmon was awarded Best eCommerce Agency at the RAR Digital Awards while Salmon’s client DFS won Best Digital Experience and Best Omni-channel Experience at the UK Digital Experience Awards. Salmon also extended its commerce offering via a partnership with Magento.

Cognifide, an experience management consultancy that specialises in content management and digital asset management had a record year of growth in 2015. The company built on new WPP relationships by embedding global clients such as Ford and HSBC. Other new business wins included recruitment giant Robert Walters, Penguin Random House and GSK.

WPP entities entered into key partnerships that will benefit WPP companies and their clients. The Data Alliance, a horizontal team that helps WPP companies access and leverage data, made significant progress in 2015. This group signed partnerships with RAC, Global Webindex, Statista, Facebook and Amazon that will provide access to valuable insights. Newly-established China-based commerce company Kuvera entered into a partnership with Paipai, China’s leading social commerce platform, that names Kuvera as Paipai’s strategic partner for developing mobile social commerce platform in China for global brands.

Our investments contributed meaningfully to performance in 2015. In April, we made a strategic investment in Refinery29, a leading privately-held fashion and lifestyle media company that provides content, shopping solutions and social networking opportunities targeted toward millennial women. In 2016, we will continue to explore investment opportunities in line with our strategic priorities to expand our offering.

We are pleased with our progress in 2015 and, looking ahead to 2016, see significant opportunity for growth. By continuing to acquire, invest in and partner with the most innovative companies in the world, WPP Digital improves the Group’s and our clients’ understanding of the digital media and technology landscape and gives them the resources and connections they need to thrive in an increasingly digital world.