Young & Rubicam Group

Report by Peter Stringham (below) Global chief executive officer

Report by Peter Stringham

The Young & Rubicam Group philosophy, ‘Best Alone. Better Together,’ is really about two things – innovation and integration.

All of the Young & Rubicam Group companies operate independently, with their own set of clients, their own point of view, their own expertise, their own pursuit of state of the art. Their independence gives them their drive and freedom to innovate.

At the same time these companies, some of them working together from as early as the early 1970s, know how to collaborate around a client’s challenge, know how to deliver seamlessly integrated communications programs customized to deliver on the business objectives of their clients.

In 2011, our companies lived up to their standard of advancing the state of their art. The year brought innovation in many forms and across all of our businesses. VML – once again singled out by Forrester Research as a Stronger Performer in 2011 and named one of Advertising Age’s 10 Standout Digital Agencies in North America for the same year – is expanding globally with the help of Y&R. New agencies were opened in São Paulo, Singapore and Mumbai and, in early 2012, in Sydney. Early 2012 also brought iconmobile – an extraordinary player in the mobile arena, with a footprint that reaches from Berlin to Beijing – under the VML umbrella to complement its own vibrant mobile practice.

Wunderman’s leadership role in gathering, interpreting and leveraging data continues to make it a global hot shop, with top rankings in many markets, including Shanghai, Argentina, Vienna and Frankfurt. Wunderman’s Blast Radius and ZAAZ also continued to garner honors around the world.

At Burson-Marsteller, much of its growth can be attributed to its increasing presence within digital and social media. Work for a broad spectrum of clients, from Coca-Cola to Japan’s Nuclear Energy Institute, has demonstrated the importance of digital and social media in the public relations and public affairs arena.

In the healthcare arena, Sudler & Hennessey brought digital integration to its clients, developing some important proprietary digital tools for clients in their markets, as well as demonstrating their thought leadership in a North American eHealth and Technology Summit.

As each of our companies advanced its offerings, the Young & Rubicam Group built on the shared resources and training to enhance its collaborative efforts.

Training remained a key commitment for us. In 2011, Y&R led the charge in the pilot phase of WPP’s Spectrum program, which develops client leaders who can drive innovation and collaboration across disciplines. We selected some of our most promising developing leaders from across companies and geographies. They have been working intensively – individually, in groups, and with an executive sponsor – to broaden their focus, handle greater complexity and increase their impact. The program will be expanded significantly in 2012. Our established Ray Rubicam University program had yet another successful year of building cross-disciplinary skills in 2011.

The year brought innovation in many forms and across all of our businesses

We continued to be thought leaders. In 2011, Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates and Penn Schoen Berland released their seventh annual Green Brands Global Insights Survey, a highly-esteemed industry benchmark on consumer perceptions of green brands. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in early 2012, BrandAsset Consulting, Burson-Marsteller, Landor and Penn Schoen Berland presented the results of the inaugural Global Corporate Reputation Index. We participated in numerous global conferences sponsored by The Economist. In early 2012, Y&R New York launched www.money-somethings.com, a site that was developed with the agency’s propriety ‘eXploring’ research and is focused on this generation of 20-somethings and their relationship to money and brands.

In the last part of the year, we undertook a name change and rebranding, from Young & Rubicam Brands to Young & Rubicam Group, which clarifies and underscores our integrated offering and its ‘Best Alone, Better Together’ philosophy.

Y&R

Report by David Sable (below) Chairman and chief executive officer

Report by David Sable

For Y&R, 2011 was a year of digital growth, a year of building infrastructure, a year of evolution and innovation.

Our digital growth was prolific. In the past 12 months, we expanded the global footprint of VML around the world, which has advanced and deepened our partnership. The simplest articulation of our relationship is Y&R = Y&R Advertising + VML – and it has three strategic pieces. The first is VML as VML, one of the world’s most highly-regarded digital agencies – a Standout Digital Agency in Advertising Age’s A-List and lauded by Forrester Research yet again as a Strong Performer. In early 2012, we aligned iconmobile, WPP’s largest mobile marketing agency, under VML in a move that greatly expands our global mobile offering.

The second piece revolves around integration – Y&R Advertising and VML share clients, and 2011 brought full integration on clients like Colgate, Revlon and Xerox. Third, while every Y&R Advertising office is fully digital on its own, we are fortunate to have VML as a digital backbone, which gives us a competitive edge that is truly unparalleled in the industry. Through a comprehensive training and activation program last year, VML shared their state-of-the-art thinking with our people in every region of the world.

2011 was a year in which we changed our infrastructure and continued to build our talent pool to reflect the changing marketplace and its new challenges, as well as to give all of our clients the full benefit of the talent and resources across our global network.

We embraced the notion that we are a ‘global boutique’ and have organized ourselves around that principle. Simply put, this means that the strength of our global network is driven by the strength of our local agencies because customers connect, consume and commit to brands locally. These local strengths resonate around the world and are reinforced by shared values, tools and resources that connect us globally.

In shaping our global boutique, we are looking at markets differently. In Europe, we unbundled the regional network, making geographic clusters where it was advantageous, and giving greater independence to major markets, where it was most productive. Martin Beck, an 18-year veteran of the agency and most recently the EVP of Y&R in Central and Eastern Europe, took on the COO role to give operational support. We created three geographic groupings led by Y&R veterans – Central and Eastern Europe (Petr Havlicek), Middle East and North Africa (Nassib Boueri), as well as Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (Erwin Jansen and Giovanni Canini). The rest of Y&R’s markets in Western Europe and South Africa are now moving ahead under their national leadership. In France, we brought in Xavier del Sarte, a luminary in the market, to head the agency. We successfully transitioned to the next home-grown generation of leadership at RKCR/Y&R, promoting Ben Kay and Alison Hoad to joint CEOs, while Mark Roalfe continues as the agency’s chairman. New business wins in Europe included FIBA, Vodafone and Beeline.

We are a ‘global boutique’ and have organized ourselves around that principle

In the US, we continued the unbundling of structure, bringing in Carter Murray to lead both the North America region, as well as serve as CEO of Y&R New York. The North America markets have repositioned themselves to benefit from their regional strengths – Y&R Chicago, for example, has taken off as a great center for the American Midwest and is consistently winning new business. On the West coast, we are successfully repositioned as Y&R California, which is about innovation, a state of mind rather than place. New clients in North America include BMO Harris Bank, Hampton Inn, Crystal Cruises, Microsoft Advertising, Waldorf Astoria, the U.S. Olympics Committee and Famous Footwear, among others.

We continued to focus on fast-growth markets to great results for our clients and the agency. Double-digit growth in Latin America came from new assignments and new wins. Creatively, Latin America won nine lions at Cannes last year and ranked among the top three networks in the important Ojo de Iberoamerica. In 2012, we will expand our shopper marketing capabilities and strengthen our position in Central America.

Our Asia region had a great new business track record in 2011, with new clients that include Amazon, Disney Stores, Suntech and SoSo.com. In early 2012, we announced that Sanjay Bhasin, CEO of Y&R Thailand and Indochina, would take on the additional role of CEO, South East Asia. Asia, too, had its best year ever at Cannes, with seven Lions. Impressively, Thailand took home two Gold Lions. Finally, the truest measure of our success, our work for Gap in China helped our client win Brand of the Year at the 2011 Campaign Asia-Pacific Agency of the Year Awards.

At the same time that we have empowered our local agencies to be best in market, we are also focused on the global side of the equation. As clients ask for global solutions more and more, our ability to bring diverse talent and relevant expertise is critical. Tony Granger, our global chief creative officer, continues to attract world-class creative talent and has successfully built a global creative community, driven by technology, that gives our clients access to talent all around the world. In 2011, more and more of our clients tapped into creative talent across the network. And our ‘global boutique’ philosophy found validation in client wins like Revlon and Beeline.

Innovation at the agency took many forms. In 2011, we felt the benefit of global planning director Sandy Thompson’s strategic leadership. We created eXploring, a new ‘anthropological’ system of field research that complements our quantitative research, and is key to a full understanding of consumers. Working with GroupM, in particular with Sue Kaufman, we brought communications planning back into the strategic process, and we recommitted to our proprietary brand management tool, BrandAsset® Valuator.

In 2011, we saw the beginning of what we are calling ‘Digital Exponential’ – a convergence of the digital and physical worlds to create a complete lifestyle for our clients’ customers. The implications for marketing are huge, as we take digital tools, efficiency and enablements and leverage them in the physical world. It is a massive opportunity for Y&R, because of the individual and collective strengths of Y&R Advertising, VML and iconmobile.

We also drove innovation through ‘The Spark Plug,’ an initiative that offers innovative start-ups office space in exchange for access to their people, ideas and products. A hugely-successful launch in New York has already created opportunities for clients. In 2012, we are creating regional Spark Plugs in Chicago, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Brazil and Singapore.

At the end of the year, we launched Tech.YR, a new global practice that links together the expertise of seven of our agencies around the world for companies with complex business-to-business offerings and smaller budgets.

Y&R is poised to help our clients with the fundamental core of our business – the ability to tell great stories about brands as well as the innovation to drive these stories through new channels. The two core pieces of our business add up to new consumer engagements with powerful impact in the marketplace and culture. 2012 remains lined with these opportunities.

VML

Report by Jon Cook (below) Chief executive officer and president

Report by Jon Cook

From being selected by Advertising Age as one of 10 A-List Standout agencies in North America to receiving Crème de la Crème top digital honors in the coveted WPPED Cream awards program, VML realized unprecedented growth in terms of global expansion, number of employees and offices, creative recognition and reputation, WPP partnership strength and overall business results.

While there were many exciting developments over the past 12 months – notably expanded capabilities in Asia, Europe and South America – the core philosophy that fuels VML’s business remains constant: delivering creative solutions at the intersection of marketing and technology. VML’s global footprint is expanding in collaboration with Y&R Advertising – leveraging the breadth and scope of VML’s digital expertise and the reach and experience of Y&R’s worldwide operations.

New VML offices in São Paulo and Singapore – strategically positioned in two of the world’s most dynamic business centers – further enable VML to deliver worldwide marketing initiatives for global brands. Thanks to expanded worldwide operations, the number of VMLers grew to nearly 1,000, with close to 1,250 people in the VML network, including iconmobile and Studiocom.

On every level, it was a standout year for VML

VML’s remarkable client roster grew even stronger over the past year. New partnerships were established with a variety of distinguished industry-leading brands, including AB InBev brands Beck’s and Stella Artois, American Century Investments, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cushman & Wakefield, Dignity Memorial, Kashi, Owens-Illinois, Saks Fifth Avenue, U.S. Bank and Whole Foods.

VML expanded relationships and delivered award-winning work with established clients, including Carlson Hotels, Dell, Ford, Gatorade, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, SAP, Southwest Airlines, T-Mobile and Western Union.

The successful partnership between VML and Y&R led to strengthened integrated engagements with Colgate-Palmolive and Xerox. Working together, VML and Y&R also initiated new client partnerships with the United States Olympic Committee/Team USA, FIBA 2014 Basketball World Cup, ANA Airlines and Revlon.

VML drove its digital partnership with Gatorade to new heights. The groundbreaking VML-produced Everything to Prove video series was recognized as an Effie Award finalist. Contagious magazine selected Everything to Prove as one of the year’s most contagious branded content programs.

WPP’s iconmobile officially joined VML, furthering the agency’s credentials as a global mobile marketing leader. iconmobile’s technology expertise and mobile platform – delivered from major global business centers stretching from Berlin to Beijing – is a perfect complement to VML’s established mobile practice. In recognition of VML’s mobile marketing experience, Forrester Research, Inc. named VML a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave™: Mobile Marketing Strategy and Execution, Q1, 2012.

Giving back has been a hallmark of VML’s values since the agency was founded in 1992. VML partnered with water.org, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water to people in developing countries, to create ‘One Week for Water,’ enabling people to contribute their voice in support of water.org on Facebook and Twitter.

On every level, it was a standout year for VML. The agency enters its 20th year in business with irrepressible momentum and purpose.

Wunderman

Report by Daniel Morel (below) Chairman and chief executive officer

Report by Daniel Morel

Customers rule. This idea should never go out of fashion, and it won’t.

Connecting customers and brands anywhere they are, in the right context, is what matters most. It’s why Wunderman links massive amounts of data to map customer journeys and optimize paths to purchase. It’s why we build sophisticated targeting models and why our creative delivers business results. Clients recognize the value of this approach.

At the start of 2011, Advertising Age recognized Wunderman as a global leader and hot shop. Our footprint grew to 150 offices in 60 countries and we were consistently placed in the top 10. AGENDA was named Best Creative Agency in Hong Kong by the Yahoo! Big Idea Chair Awards and placed second for Best Digital Agency in Shanghai at the ROI Festival. Wunderman in Argentina was again named Best Interactive Agency at the Jerry Goldenberg Awards and, for the first time, was named by AMDIA as Agency of the Year. Our agencies in Vienna and Frankfurt ranked first and second in the Austrian Direct Marketing Awards, and Blast Radius in Canada made Marketing magazine’s Top Agency of the Year shortlist.

2011 performance was strongest in Asia Pacific and Latin America – both regions grew by double digits, with BRIC markets, where we have a true digital presence and 1,100 people, fueling growth. Europe/Middle East/Africa had healthy growth. North America was steady. Underlying our success are our people who build strong relationships with our clients, especially Ford, Microsoft and Nokia. In addition, the talent in the companies we have acquired since 2006, such as AGENDA, Blast Radius, Designkitchen and i-Behavior, gives us tremendous flexibility and bench strength to tap into the social, mobile and local skills our clients demand.

After lengthy and fiercely competitive pitches, Wunderman won Levi’s and Best Buy, two multimillion-dollar, enterprise-wide accounts that will benefit North America in 2012. Three factors tipped the scales in our favor: our expansive global footprint; operational efficiency; and the ‘social/local’ marketing innovation of our network partners. Wunderman World Health, which also draws on network resources, won two major global accounts – Novartis and Johnson & Johnson. Among current clients, our relationships with Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Telefonica, Starbucks and Nike expanded dramatically across borders and regions.

In December, our Marketing Solutions Center opened for business. This global resource combines production, creative execution and analytics in one end-to-end service offering that reduces costs and increases marketing effectiveness for our clients across print, digital, mobile and broadcast platforms. At its core are high-volume, scalable, global delivery centers in Dhaka and Moscow, as well as seven regional delivery centers. With all work flowing through an integrated measurement framework, near real-time performance reporting reveals what’s working and what needs improvement. It already serves Nokia and Microsoft, and we are ramping up for Best Buy.

On the analytics front, working with KBM Group and WPP sister company Kantar, Wunderman now connects customer data with both purchasing and click-stream data, which enables CMOs to make better-informed decisions about when to use TV, print, online video and mobile media.

Wunderman heads into 2012 with momentum as new accounts and global resources gear up. Our immediate focus is North America. We also look to accelerate growth and increase capabilities in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Russia and throughout Central Europe, and the Middle East and Africa. With the customer charting our course and technology providing infinitely more data, we are excited about the possibilities.

At 91, our agency founder Lester Wunderman continues to inspire us. In his honor, we launched ‘Sigi,’ an internal awards program born of his passion for the Dogon tribal people of Mali, their secret language and spirit of kinship.

Burson-Marsteller

Report by Mark Penn (below) Worldwide chief executive officer

Report by Mark Penn

Burson-Marsteller continued to build on the significant growth we have had over the last five years, and 2011 was no exception. We have achieved aggressive growth in the growing economies of Asia and Latin America. We have the biggest presence in Latin America as compared to any of the global agencies. Moreover, our European markets have remained strong despite challenging economic times. We have also continued to build upon our comprehensive modernization of our services and systems through our DIGS – Digital, Integrated, Global, Strategic – initiative, expanding our footprint in key markets while deepening our commitment to the client worldwide.

Digital and social media have been a huge initiative for us this year, as evidenced by our robust growth in the marketplace. From collaborating with Coca-Cola to establish global social training, to working with the Nuclear Energy Institute to handle its digital crisis management during the Japan crisis, we proved ourselves as a top contender in the digital and social media space.

To lay the foundation for a long-term relationship and future expansion in Africa, we acquired a majority stake in Arcay Communications, a leading African consulting firm headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. We also strengthened our partnership with our Finnish colleagues at Pohjoisranta by taking a majority stake in the company. Additionally, we launched North of Nine Communications, an independent boutique technology agency within Burson-Marsteller, led by our former Global Technology Practice chair Jennifer Graham Clary. Major clients like Ford significantly expanded their global work with us in 2011.

We are constantly focused on obtaining and retaining the best talent across the globe. While we made a number of noteworthy promotions and hires this year, including the addition of Matt Miller, Martin Roll and Hoh Kim to the Global Strategy Team, I would also like to highlight a few changes with regards to the members of our Business Operations Team. For their outstanding record and commitment to our clients, we promoted Ramiro Prudencio to Latin America CEO, Dave DenHerder to US CEO, Dallas Lawrence to chief global digital strategist, Lisa Poulson to Global Technology Practice chair and Michael Bassik to Proof CEO. Moreover, we welcomed three worldwide hires: global consumer and creative lead Lisa Travatello (formerly Weber Shandwick), global consumer lead for the Ford account Laura Hall (formerly MSL Group) and global chief marketing and new business officer Esther Lee (formerly US Department of Commerce). We also promoted former US CEO Pat Ford to worldwide vice chairman of Client Service. In this newly-created position, Pat is responsible for supporting Burson-Marsteller as we continue to strengthen our relationships with and services to key clients.

Throughout the globe, we were recognized at The Holmes Report’s SABRE Awards, with EMEA, Asia Pacific and the US taking home a host of honors, including North American Agency of the Year. ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller took home Middle East and Africa Agency of the Year at the International Business Awards while our work with the Royal British Legion on the ‘2 Minute Silence’ track title was awarded two European Excellence Awards and two Silver Lions at Cannes.

Our integration of top-flight research, grassroots and digital along with public relations sets us apart. Our integrated family of companies includes Penn Schoen Berland, Prime Policy Group, Direct Impact, North of Nine Communications, BrandAsset Consulting (BAV) and Proof Integrated Communications.

On a final note, Burson-Marsteller along with Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland and BrandAsset Consulting unveiled our findings from the inaugural Global Corporate Reputation Index during this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. The findings revealed that citizenship consistently lagged in comparison to corporate performance, suggesting a lack of emphasis on citizenship in today’s corporate marketplace. Companies can and should use this finding as a clear opportunity to strengthen their reputation by demonstrating and communicating more actively their commitment to good corporate citizenship. At Burson-Marsteller, we’re committed every day to helping our clients do just that.

Landor Associates

Report by Mary Zalla (below) Chief executive officer

Report by Mary Zalla

For Landor Associates, 2011 was a year of renewed energy. We refocused the company on top-line growth and new business, introduced an exciting new vision, added energetic new leaders, increased our corporate responsibility initiatives and launched a new approach to awards.

Landor enjoyed an excellent year with Procter & Gamble, our largest global client, where we continue to expand our offer and build deep, strategic partnerships across key categories. One of the most exciting programs was our work for P&G’s 2012 Olympics sponsorship. We have also strengthened our capabilities in Asia to meet the growing needs of P&G’s brands in this important region.

We continue to nurture our key client relationships with Diageo, Kraft and others, with the goal of growing these important partnerships in line with their needs for a partner that can help them realize their global brand ambitions. We were also pleased to welcome new clients across a broad range of industries and geographies in 2011, including DC Entertainment, ICICI Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Kirin Beverage Company, New York Life Insurance Company, Yell Group, Takenaka Corporation, Shutterfly and British Airways.

Published over the summer, Dispatch from a New Business Horizon is Landor’s synthesis of best-in-class companies rethinking their activities to create social and environmental benefit and making them more essential to their business. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to share this at the Cannes Festival and with clients.

Landor aggressively pursued top new talent and made strategic shifts in leadership to better position our organization for success. Notable additions included: Mark Levy, chief talent officer; Henry Chan, president, Greater China; Jane Geraghty, managing director, London; and Dominic Walsh, managing director, Sydney. Significant promotions included: Nick Foley, regional president, South East Asia & Pacific; Marcela Graces, managing director, Mexico City; and Chris Lehmann, general manager, Chicago.

In 2011, we also refocused on awards in an effort to drive a more creative culture and raise the bar for our work. In December, we launched a new approach to our internal awards, calling them The Walter Awards, with expectations that this will drive more winning submissions externally. Our success in the WPPED Cream awards continues to be a point of pride for our network. Externally, we improved our performance at Cannes with a Bronze Lion for the packaging design of Australia’s Yummy Tummy Koalas.

Our 2012 strategic initiatives will be driven by our new purpose of collectively unleashing creativity to make a meaningful difference. We will work to embed our culture and values, expand our offer to grow the bottom line, and continue to focus on our key client relationships as the foundation of our business.

Sudler & Hennessey

Report by Jed Beitler (below) Chairman and worldwide chief executive officer

Report by Jed Beitler

2011 was another positive year for the Sudler global network. Our network goals were growth and collaboration. We achieved both with the addition of new US and global clients to our roster, along with the development of new S&H network initiatives.

The Sudler global network is divided into three key regions: The Americas, headed up by co-CEOs Louisa Holland and Rob Rogers; and the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, both headed up by CEO Max Jackson. Ellen Goldman is the global CFO/COO.

Our EMEA and Asia Pacific regions enjoyed growth and our new business efforts achieved exceptional success in Milan and London. While our various regions were faced with difficult economic market conditions, globally we continued to enjoy stable growth.

Our worldwide network creativity was recognized through platinum, gold, silver and bronze awards, as well as many awards of excellence from local, regional and global ceremonies including the PMEA, Comprix, IPA, MarCom and Rx Club Awards. S&H’s new website reflects the creative nature of our global network.

Thought leadership was also of growing importance for the Sudler network in 2011. We communicated the strategic, digital and creative expertise of our people through a variety of publications, podium presentations and website placements.

The Sudler global network continued to strengthen its core capabilities throughout the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, with focused growth in our Medical Education and Digital offerings. We expanded our promotional, educational and digital activities in many of the growth markets of the ‘pharmerging’ world, especially in Latin America and Asia Pacific.

Digital integration accelerated and played a key role in our business model as our clients’ needs continued to quickly evolve from a technology standpoint. The Sudler network continued to grow and adapt to meet the ever-changing demands of our global marketplace, from developing proprietary digital tools for our clients’ local markets, to convening a North American eHealth and Technology Summit.

The Bravo Group

Report by Eddie Gonzalez (below) Chairman and chief executive officer

Report by Eddie Gonzalez

In 2011, Bravo continued to grow and excel across all critical business areas: client satisfaction, innovation, new business success and financial results.

Bravo’s strategy of client-centricity, whereby we help clients capitalize on the growing Hispanic opportunity in the US, has fueled growth and satisfaction across our major relationships with AT&T, Chevron, CVS, Pfizer, Wendy’s and Wrigley’s. As the face of America becomes more Hispanic and multicultural, clients are turning to Bravo for bold, integrated solutions that deliver bottom-line results. Our investments in planning and insights, digital and creative are enhancing our product quality and service delivery while ensuring we are an innovative, world-class agency and our clients’ most valuable partner.

This strategy has also fueled new business success. Our Miami office won FedEx and Winn-Dixie, while our New York office won Extra Care from CVS, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the Prevnar business from Pfizer.

By delivering actionable insights, brighter ideas and precise implementation for our clients, Bravo has achieved excellent top-line growth. Our focus on superior talent is winning.

Looking forward to 2012, the opportunity to collaborate with sister WPP companies takes on greater focus. Major global clients and categories like auto, banking, consumer package goods, insurance and spirits are yet to be represented in Bravo’s portfolio and offer us the opportunity to further enhance our business and performance.

Cohn & Wolfe (summary)

Report by Donna Imperato Chief executive officer

With a strengthened global leadership team in place and significant new business momentum going into 2011, Cohn & Wolfe delivered a year marked by solid top- and bottom-line growth, award-winning client work, groundbreaking digital initiatives for clients and staff and expansion across Asia.

Read full report here

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