Section image

Penny Machines

Cherries
oil on canvas
22 x 20 in
1981

Penny Machines
oil on canvas
23¾ x 29¾ in
1961

Stack of Books
oil on canvas
30 x 24 in
n.d.

Seven Suckers
oil on canvas
19 x 23 in
1970

Twin Jackpots
oil on canvas
30 x 46 in
1962

Ties
oil on canvas
20 x 26 in
1980

Cake Slices
oil on canvas
20 x 16 in
n.d.

Specialist Communications

Report by Andrew Scott (below)
Chief operating officer, International Specialist Communications

Andrew Scott

WPP’s Specialist Communications division comprises individual business units with separate and distinct marketing expertise by industry, audience segment or medium. Our clients benefit from their depth of knowledge and strategic focus; the Group benefits through the flexibility these companies offer as partners for sister WPP companies where appropriate. Additionally, we are able to capitalize on the trends clients demand for new expertise. 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.

Direct, promotion, digital and interactive marketing

Bridge Worldwide, a leading US digital and relationship marketing agency, continued its strong revenue growth, serving long-time Fortune 500 clients Procter & Gamble, Abbott Nutrition and ConAgra Foods, while adding several new clients including Ingram Micro, Pearle Vision and Red Bull.

The agency’s creative product won over 30 digital creative awards. Most impressively, Bridge’s work on P&G’s Pringles brand was recognized at the Sammy Awards, the Eyeblaster Awards (including the People’s Choice Award), and Cannes (a Gold Cyber Lion).

Bridge’s platform, Marketing with Meaning, helps clients leverage technology to ensure that their marketing, in addition to the brand itself, adds value to consumers’ lives. It received client interest on three different continents and is becoming the new way to drive a brand’s higher-order purpose. The agency’s book, The Next Evolution of Marketing, Connect with Your Customers by Marketing with Meaning, published by McGraw-Hill, has been a top-selling marketing book on Amazon. It was also named one of the 10 Books You Should Have Read in 2009 by Advertising Age.

Recognizing the agency’s focus on its people and its culture, Bridge was named one of the Top 25 Best Places to Work by the Great Place to Work Institute, for a fourth consecutive year.

As a leading corporate events company for over 25 years, serving long-term clients such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca, MJM continues to focus on creating innovative events that transform the performance of the targeted audience in a challenged business environment. The creative process has been re-designed to formulate efficient, strategically-sound solutions that effectively bring meetings to life and empower participants to take something of value into the marketplace to improve performance. New clients acquired during the year included Dell, LG and The Wall Street Journal.

UK relationship management agency EWA continued to focus on adding value to client communications through a combination of strategy, insight, delivery techniques and methodologies. New client projects during the year included TDA Return to Teaching & One to One Tuition programs, DWP Job Centre Plus, Backing Young Britain (UK Government initiative) and Findel.

Sales promotion agency Mando had a very strong year in 2009, partnering with new clients such as Molson Coors on Carling’s British Barley door-drop and Kellogg on its first ever online coupon. UK growth continued from Coca-Cola’s Coke Zone, Premier Foods and Muller. Significant international wins included Nestlé, Reckitt Benckiser and Henkel in Germany and Procter & Gamble in Spain.

Headcount delivered field marketing campaigns for clients such as Sainsbury’s, Kraft, Warner Home Video and Digital UK during 2009. It also won a number of new campaigns for government bodies through its COI relationship. Headcount ended the year strongly, winning contracts with Whirlpool and BT.

Custom media

Forward continued to build its reputation as a market-leading branded content provider delivering ROI across multiple channels. Forward’s portfolio saw a significant growth in digital content including campaign-specific microsites, interactive ezines, content-rich emails and viral games. Key successes include winning monthly property magazine Fabric, launching a new online magazine for Regus and retaining business with TfL, following a seven-way pitch.

In a challenging year for airlines and advertising, Spafax’s award-winning custom media business won contracts with MSN, Mercedes and Bombardier in North America and Teatro in Chile. In the area of inflight entertainment, important contracts with Air Canada and British Airways were renewed, alongside renewals with Finnair, Swiss and SAS and new clients in Egypt and Vietnam. For the third year in succession, its client Emirates won Best Inflight Entertainment in the World as determined by the industry appointed Skytrax survey. Spafax also added a new digital division, expanding into ancillary airline passenger communications platforms such as social media and mobile. The company’s own blogsite, www.sparksheet.com, grew from launch to attract over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.

Demographic and sector marketing

The Food Group solidified its position as a leading food and beverage agency by re-establishing its relationship with the Norwegian Seafood Export Council as it re-entered the US market. In addition, The Food Group became agency of record for Wynnstarr Flavors and Gilsa Dairy, which markets the Frusion®, la Crème®, Weight Watchers® and LALA® brands.

In 2009, The Food Group continued to work with Kraft Foods, Tabasco®, Dawn Foods, Florida Department of Citrus, Simplot, Dannon and PepsiCo. It also continued its 15-year relationship with Nike by hosting the premier food and beverage networking event at the flagship store on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.

Geppetto, the youth marketing company, worked with a range of clients such as ConAgra Foods, Walmart, PepsiCo and Hershey’s®, to develop both new products and activation programs designed to grow those businesses with young people and mothers.

2009 marked the 60th anniversary of Pace Advertising, WPP’s first US acquisition. Pace is a specialist in the real estate and luxury lifestyle sectors, including hotels and hospitality, spas, restaurants and luxury lifestyle products, working for leading national homebuilders such as K. Hovnanian® Homes®, as well as luxury brands such as The Setai Group.

In 2009, Pace introduced P2, a customer relationship management tool designed to track leads and develop marketing intelligence for clients in the real estate sector.

Working environment design consultancy BDGworkfutures continued to benefit from being on the Office of Government Commerce framework with significant work from the Communities and Local Government in the UK. Its ongoing relationships with BNY Mellon, Network Rail and EDF Energy continued to strengthen, and its international reach continued to expand with a new client win in Moscow – Interrao.

Edinburgh-based architects and interior designers BDG McColl worked successfully through 2009 with new and existing clients in both public and private sectors, despite the recessionary influences on the property sector. In the public sector, clients included the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews, Lothian and Borders Police, and Glasgow District Council. In the private sector, UK clients included BP, Balfour Beatty, State Street Bank and Wood Mackenzie; international clients included A. T. Osborne in the Netherlands and Mellin in Milan.

Ongoing relationships with organisations such as Unilever, Burberry, Conoco and Deloitte were the backbone of Dovetail’s contract business in 2009, while new clients added include GMR Infrastructure (UK) Ltd, Skanska ID and the Arts Council.

Media and film production services

Mary Ellen Howe (below)
Chief operating officer
Specialist Communications, North America

Mary Ellen Howe

In 2009, MRC continued to build its reputation as one of the world’s leading independent film, television and digital studios. MRC Film released four films in 2009: Brüno, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Larry Charles (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm); The Invention of Lying, co-written by, co-directed by and starring Ricky Gervais; The Box, starring Cameron Diaz; and Shorts, directed by Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Sin City). MRC also completed principal photography on two films – The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, and Devil produced by M. Night Shyamalan and directed by the Dowdle Brothers (Quarantine).

In television, MRC aired multiple shows including The Life and Times of Tim on HBO, the reality show Shaq vs on ABC starring NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal, Rita Rocks on Lifetime and The Goode Family on Comedy Central from executive producer Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Office Space). MRC Digital distributed Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, which has sponsorships with companies such as Nike and Burger King, and MommyCast, a weekly videocast sponsored by companies such as Procter & Gamble, State Farm and Johnson & Johnson.

Metro bucked the trend in the London event market and had a successful 2009. It expanded its reach within Shell International and was awarded a place on the three-year MICE roster to provide event production and AV support. New business wins included the Tesco AGM, Deloitte Annual Partners’ Meeting, numerous conferences for Roche, securing a place on the COI roster (for event management and webcasting), a Rolex event at the Royal Opera House, ING webcasts to market analysts, and sole-supplier status for Vinopolis. Metro continued to support recruitment roadshows for Accenture, Linklaters, Deloitte and Ernst and Young. Metro Ecosse in Edinburgh strengthened its relationship with Experian by winning sole supplier status for event production and successfully produced webcasts for NHS Scotland, Experian and the EICC, and for the fourth year in a row provided technical production support for the Edinburgh Film Festival.

The Farm Group enjoyed a highly successful year in 2009. It maintained its dominant share of the ever-competitive London post-production market and again, supplied full post-production services on the high-rating and award-winning ITV primetime shows The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent as well as key performers on the other main channels, including: Deal or No Deal, Shameless, Skins, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Gavin and Stacey, Alan Carr Chatty Man, Live at the Apollo, Jamie Oliver’s Tour of America, Casualty 1909 and Total Wipeout.

The Farm and its staff were proud to win a Bafta in 2009 for the audio mix on Ross Kemp on Gangs as well as two Royal Television Society awards; for the editing on The X Factor and the digital picture enhancement on Wallander.

In the future

2010 is expected to be challenging as our businesses focus on adding value in a restricted spending environment. We will continue to emphasize developing digital opportunities, controlling costs, and providing superior client service through specialized expertise and effective collaboration across disciplines.

Share This

Close