Magazine article ADWEEK

Anything Is Possible at WPP: Rather Than Make a Big Acquisition, the Holding Company Is Building Its Digital Offering by Rolling Up Smaller Shops

Magazine article ADWEEK

Anything Is Possible at WPP: Rather Than Make a Big Acquisition, the Holding Company Is Building Its Digital Offering by Rolling Up Smaller Shops

Article excerpt

WPP Group, like most rival holding companies, is perfectly willing to acquire a big digital player like AKQA. But with Possible, WPP's roll up of smaller digital shops, the parent is taking a different Lego-like approach, building a global network brick by brick.

Two years in, no one is ready to declare victory. But Possible, under CEO Shane Atchison, has taken small but significant steps in its bid to compete head-to-head with bigger, more established players like Publicis Groupe's DigitasLBi.

Today, Possible employs 1,200 staffers in 26 offices; they came from eight different shops, including Schematic, Bridge Worldwide and Zaaz. Atchison, the former CEO of Zaaz, also has installed new leadership-including a Digitas alum and some familiar Zaaz hands--at several key offices. Additionally, the shop recently added assignments from Revlon, Starwood's Baccarat hotel and Gorilla Glue to a core base of accounts that includes Smuckers, Procter & Gamble and Microsoft. (Possible also contributed to Grey's winning pitch for P&G's Gillette.)

"We are already competing with the likes of a Digitas or R/GA," said Atchison. "I'm not finding that more scale is the priority. It's more capability."

Accordingly, Possible has added practices focused on marketing finances, Linkedln and content marketing, and across all its work, the company places a Zaaz-style focus on numbers-based insights.

"We're hiring analysts and creative directors who care about research and vice versa. …

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