Group M to merge MediaCom and Essence

Group M is merging MediaCom and Essence among a raft of changes at WPP’s media division. The new entity, EssenceMediacom, will launch with 10,000 employees in 125 offices, handling close to USD 25-bn in billings.

27 Apr 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

The new logo of EssenceMediacom

MediaCom, with around 8,000 staff, is significantly larger than Essence, which has about 2,000, and the merger will help the latter to scale its offering. The rollout will begin in 2023 with a focus on major markets first, although the two agencies will operate separately in the UK due to client conflicts, which include Sky (a MediaCom client) and BT (an Essence client).

The merged agency will drop the capital ‘C’ from the MediaCom name as part of the rebrand.

Nick Lawson, the global chief executive of MediaCom, will assume the same role at the helm of EssenceMediacom.

Kyoko Matsushita, the global chief executive of Essence, will be promoted to a new role as WPP’s CEO in Japan. The overhaul means Group M will move from four to three flagship agencies — EssenceMediacom, Mindshare and Wavemaker.

Christian Juhl, the global CEO of Group M, said the “simplification” drive across the media division, which employs 42,000 and manages over USD 50-bn of billings, is about driving growth, not cutting costs or jobs. “This isn’t any kind of exercise in trying to create synergies on the cost side, it’s really about creating synergies for growth and opportunity for our clients going forward,” he said.

He added, “We are passionate about the opportunity technology gives us to help our clients navigate constant change and achieve their growth goals. The future of marketing is outcomes-driven, supported by audience-first planning and continually improving, AI-enabled performance standards. Through Group M 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.”

MediaCom was founded in Germany in 1986 as a part of Grey Group and went on to merge with The Media Business in the UK in 1998, before becoming part of WPP in 2004.

Essence was founded in the UK in 2005 and has made its name as a digital specialist, which led to its acquisition by WPP in 2015.  

The merger may surprise some industry observers, particularly in the UK, where MediaCom is already by far the largest media agency in terms of billings (1.4-bn pounds) and Essence – after a stellar year of 74% growth – is the fourth largest (531-m pounds), according to Nielsen Ad Intel data for Campaign’s School Reports. 

(Courtesy Campaign India)