Specialist Communications

Mary-Ellen Howe and Laurence Mellman

Report by Mary-Ellen Howe (left, top)

Chief operating officer
Specialist Communications, North America and

Laurence Mellman (left, below)

Chief operating officer
International Specialist Communications

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 the depth of knowledge and strategic focus of these specialists; the Group benefits through the flexibility these companies offer as partners for sister WPP companies when serving clients’ integrated marketing needs. 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.

Our report illustrates some of these companies and their capabilities and achievements during 2013.

Post production company The Farm Group had another busy and successful year in 2013. Activity at its Soho sites in London remained very high with award-winning and high-profile output such as Downton Abbey, Brian Cox’s Wonders of Life, The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. The Los Angeles operation continued to grow and worked on shows including The X Factor US, Hotel Hell and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.

US-based corporate events business MJM created inspiration and impact for top-tier clients including Kimberly-Clark, Deloitte, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, with creative strategy and production for some of their clients’ most significant internal-facing events.

Metro continued to provide technical event production services for long-term clients including Deloitte, Citi, RBS, Roche, Experian and Shell.

Risk management specialist Mando continued to expand its business in Europe with key campaigns for brands such as Powerade, Bose, Mondel─ôz and GSK whilst maintaining a strong position in the UK.

Pace Communications’ digital and social media services and video content capabilities continue to position the agency favourably. The Florida divisions exhibited strong growth in healthcare, education and gaming, and resurging demand for residential real estate contributed to Green Advertising’s success. In the New York metropolitan area, clients K. Hovnanian and Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center are continuing to develop as they plan significant expansions.

The Food Group expanded its reach to include the growing North American organic and functional food market, while continuing to serve the foodservice and retail sectors.

UK outsourced communications service provider EWA continued to focus on improving relationships between clients and their customers, adding value through the combination of expert communications strategy, insight and delivery techniques. Key projects included adidas, the Liberal Democrats, the Communications Workers Union and Merisant.

BDG architecture + design had a strong year in 2013 working with existing clients such as EDF Energy and BNY Mellon. BDG was also particularly proud to be appointed to the roster of design agencies working for Sky’s property portfolio.

Alongside collaboration with sister agencies, Scangroup will continue to assess acquisition opportunities to broaden both its service and geographical offerings across Africa

At the end of 2013 we increased our interest in Scangroup in Africa to majority ownership with the company retaining its listing on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. Scangroup offers a comprehensive and integrated range of advertising and communication services in the areas of traditional advertising, digital, media investment management, marketing consultancy, public relations and experiential marketing. It employs over 790 people in its offices in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda and it buys media in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Gabon, DRC and Mauritius. While Scangroup operates as a holding company, the businesses operate separately with autonomous management structures, allowing for the independence and confidentiality required in handling diverse client projects.

Since we made our initial investment in 2007, Scangroup has partnered with sister companies Grey, H+K Strategies, JWT, Millward Brown, MediaCom and Ogilvy & Mather. These arrangements have allowed Scangroup to support a more diverse client base with a more diverse proposition, and have provided sister WPP companies with a platform for growth in the region. Our step up to majority shareholder will create further opportunities for collaboration across the WPP network.

Alongside collaboration with sister agencies, Scangroup will continue to assess acquisition opportunities to broaden both its service and geographical offerings across Africa.

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