Reports from our company leaders

Specialist Communications

Mary-Ellen Howe

Report by Mary-Ellen Howe
Chief operating officer, Specialist Communications, North America

Laurence Mellman

Laurence Mellman
Chief operating officer, International Specialist Communications


PP’s Specialist Communications division comprises individual business units with separate and distinct marketing expertise by industry, audience segment or medium. Our clients benefit from the depth of knowledge and strategic focus of these specialists; the Group benefits through the flexibility these companies offer as partners for sister WPP companies when serving clients’ integrated marketing needs. Our role in managing this portfolio is to help these companies grow on their own terms and to support co-operation opportunities across the Group.

In aggregate, the portfolio of companies achieved a strong 2016 result and expectations are that they will continue to enjoy good growth in 2017.

WPP Scangroup is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, operating a multi-agency model as WPP’s partner across multiple disciplines in sub-Saharan Africa, with offices in 25 African countries. 2016 saw the first full-year benefit of new offices in Nigeria (H+K Strategies) and the launch of a new office in Gabon. The company’s agencies continued to win numerous awards across the region. Alongside collaboration with sister agencies, acquisition opportunities continue to be assessed to broaden both service and geographical offerings.

In 2016 Berlin Cameron continued to build on its core business with its biggest client, Capital One. The agency relocated alongside BAV Consulting and together they won assignments for Lexus, the National Kidney Foundation and Sequential Brands Group. The agency also furthered its start-up and branding practice with wins from MyHeritageDNA and Underclub.

At Seattle-based Cole & Weber, growth continued strongly after winning new business from Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield and driving organic growth with clients including Hydro Flask. The agency is well positioned as nimble and medium-sized, combining the creativity of a boutique with the strategic partnership of business consultancy and the digital prowess of a digital shop.

Our role in managing this portfolio is to help these companies grow on their own terms and to support co-operation opportunities

Sra. Rushmore was, for the 12th year in a row, voted the No.1 advertising agency in both original and effective creativity in Spain, as well as the most attractive integrated agency overall. This past year has been the agency’s most international year with campaigns being aired in more than 125 countries worldwide.

The Farm Group had another active year which saw the opening of its 33,000 square feet, state-of-the-art headquarters in London, as well as the supply of a technical and editing team in Rio for the BBC’s feed of the Summer Olympics. The Farm HQ is equipped with new UHD and HDR technologies, ready to supply programs to suppliers like Amazon and Netflix as well as traditional broadcasters. One of the first major projects in the new facility was The Grand Tour for Amazon.

US-based corporate events company, MJM, created inspiration and impact for top-tier clients including Deloitte, NAPA, Discover, McKinsey and Unilever. MJM took talent development and corporate assembly to the next level with creative strategy and production for their clients’ most significant internal-facing events.

Technical production company Metro Broadcast strengthened its position in the live events industry by investing further in technology and combining its talents in broadcasting with traditional event production. Introducing broadcast elements to live events and utilising the latest in audio visual tech, Metro added the Bank of England and ITV to its client portfolio while extending its reach in the global pharmaceutical market. Expanding the agency’s managed service business by winning a bid to manage YouTube’s new studio spaces in London and Berlin boosted Metro’s credentials in this growing market, where professional video production facilities are made accessible to artists, celebrities and vloggers.

Mando has continued to expand throughout Europe and South Africa. The promotional risk management company also picked up the illustrious Company of the Year award from The Institute of Marketing in the UK for outstanding work over the year, with a range of blue-chip clients including Ferrero, McDonald’s and GSK.

Pace continues to expand its real estate offerings with new assignments for Pier Village, a residential development in New Jersey and The Bristol, a 25-storey condominium development in West Palm Beach. Its Florida division, Green Advertising, continues to service outside of real estate with work in the education and healthcare sector as well as security services.

The Food Group has continued to expand its food and beverage marketing and content development business with growth coming from its core clients such as Mars, Mondelēz, Kraft Heinz and Perdue Foods. In addition, it has added some other great clients to the roster such as Aramark, World Kitchen, Saputo, Tampa Maid Foods and the Dairy Farmers of America. Its culinary division, Creative Food Solutions, continues to grow as it has added clients Rich Products and Jennie’O Foods, among others.

141 Hawaii aligns branding and experiential marketing for Sony as well as global and national companies while mobilizing a partnership between Friends of Hawaii Charities and the Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation to generate significant funds for Hawaiian charities. It kicked off the full-field PGA TOUR season for the 20th year with the Sony Open in Hawaii. In addition to this flagship PGA TOUR property, it services several other professional golf management and marketing events on the LPGA Tour and Champions Tour.

Specialist UK CRM agency EWA continued to build on new services around political polling, surveys and telephone contact with voters for the EU Referendum and local elections. Core services focused on improving relationships between clients and their customers through the delivery of promotions, campaign response and customer experience solutions, generating new business from HS2, JET and Linden Homes.

BDG architecture + design is a team of architects, designers and creative thinkers. The belief that architecture is most successful when it is able to connect people and spaces has seen the team continue to grow and expand their European coverage in 2016. Following the successful completion of the agile working environment for Ogilvy and MEC in London at the beginning of 2016, large-scale colocations of WPP companies are now currently under design in Madrid, Amsterdam, Milan and Lisbon. Significant UK client wins included Sky, Money Supermarket and Teach First.