DUBAI: Advertising group WPP is consolidating three brands — VMLY&R, VMLY&R Commerce, and GTB — under the VMLY&R umbrella to form one, connected brand.
Nick Walsh, CEO of VMLY&R Commerce will now become the CEO of VMLY&R MENA, working closely with chief creative officer Miguel Bemfica, who joined from McCann Worldgroup in January this year.
“The three agencies bring different expertise and capabilities to the table: Creativity, commerce, experience, data, technology and more; but more importantly, they all focus on culture,” Andrew Dimitriou, EMEA CEO of VMLY&R, told Arab News.
He called the merger “a natural next step” that “will allow better and simpler collaboration between our brilliant client teams and capability practices and open a new world of possibilities for our clients and anyone in the business.”
In 2018, WPP merged creative agency Y&R and digital agency VML to create VMLY&R, and in 2021, Geometry was merged into the group to form VMLY&R Commerce.
Since then, “integrating the agencies’ teams and capabilities has been an ongoing global effort,” Dimitriou said.
“A deeper level of integration has happened in markets across Europe, and offices such as New York and London, as we move closer as a network to accelerate growth and future-proof our clients’ businesses,” he added.
In the region, Dubai is the “principal office” serving the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and North Africa, and “we will expand our presence on-ground in line with upcoming client’s needs and opportunities,” Dimitriou said.
Since 2020, e-commerce has seen explosive growth as brands have had to adapt to a new hybrid reality. In the UAE, 55 percent of purchases happen online through websites, social media, games, communities etc. and e-commerce spending grew at double the rate of point of sale in Q1 this year compared to the same quarter last year, he said.
Now, “the way we think about commerce is being transformed, and we’re witnessing the rise of creative commerce,” Dimitriou added.
“Creative commerce is laser-focused on generating a response, which results in conversion. And at its best, creativity turbocharges commerce, lifting a simple activation to an emotionally charged moment that drives both brand and demand.
“So, it is about inspiring conversion in the moment, regardless of channel, everywhere life intersects with commerce. It is an interaction; an experience that builds brand and demand.”
Brands not only need to stay connected with their audiences, but also remain relevant in an ever-evolving digital culture.
The hottest topic in today’s digital culture is the metaverse. By 2026, 25 percent of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social, or entertainment, according to Gartner.
“I expect more focus — and scrutiny — on this platform as clients explore how they could leverage this new space and monitor opportunities for brand interaction and creative commerce solutions,” Dimitriou said.
He added: “At VMLY&R, we will keep our eyes on the real prize: To create connected brands through positive experiences and emotional connections powered by creativity and technology to deliver growth.”