WPP Digital acquires leading digital marketing agency BLUE in Singapore

22 Jun 2007

WPP Digital, the digital investment arm of WPP, today announced the acquisition of digital marketing agency, BLUE Interactive Marketing Pte. Ltd, in Singapore in a move which significantly strengthens the Group's position in the rapidly growing digital marketing industry. The acquisition includes BLUE's wholly-owned subsidiary, DEMAND, a leader in the global field of search engine marketing.

BLUE provides online consulting services and technologies to many of the world's top brands, assisting them in becoming more targeted and measurable in their global marketing activities. Key services include online advertising, email marketing, corporate website consulting and development, and search engine marketing. BLUE is also the creator of Rapport, a web-based email marketing platform that allows marketers to create, deploy and measure targeted email campaigns with their most valuable known customers. Rapport is used in over 42 countries and multiple languages worldwide.

Founded in 1999, BLUE operates out of Singapore with regional offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, London and Palo Alto, California. The business employs 131 people in the creative, consulting, technology, data, project management and campaign management fields. The agency's blue-chip client list includes Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, SAP, Singapore Airlines, Intercontinental Hotels, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble.

The arrival of BLUE brings critical technology assets, people and skills to WPP, which are increasingly important as digital marketing develops. It strengthens further WPP's strong position in search engine marketing (through DEMAND, a Google qualified company and leader in multilingual multimarket search engine optimisation and marketing) and adds digital resource in Asia through its presence in Singapore, China and Japan. This acquisition follows last month’s announcement of WPP’s cash tender offer for online advertising pioneer, 24/7 Real Media Inc. in the US.

Commenting on the BLUE announcement, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP, said: “We have identified three key strategic goals for WPP: increasing our presence and revenues in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe; increasing revenue contribution from marketing services; and increasing our skills and revenues from quantifiable marketing services such as digital and market research. BLUE is a leader in all three of these areas.”

Mark Read, CEO of WPP Digital and director of strategy for WPP, commented: "Our clients continue to make a rapid transition to more digital and measurable approaches to their marketing. This acquisition, combined with the 24/7 Real Media offer announced last month, means that WPP Digital is now well positioned to serve our clients in this transition.”

BLUE's CEO and chief strategist, Jay Shapiro, said, “We believe that by leveraging WPP’s existing global base of top-quality resources and assets, we will now be able to offer a cohesive solution to our clients that meets their needs anywhere in the world."

The BLUE businesses will continue to be run by existing management within WPP, as part of WPP Digital. It is anticipated that strong operational links will be established with several of the Group's direct/relationship marketing agencies as well as WPP’s media investment management companies.

Besides making acquisitions in the digital space, WPP Digital has in recent months made a series of strategic investments across a diversified range of pioneering digital media services. These include Spot Runner, the first internet advertising agency, LiveWorld, creator of online customer communities, Visible Technologies which helps brands manage their internet reputations, Wild Tangent, an online game publisher and JumpTap, a mobile search and advertising company.