Google and WPP launch Marketing Research Awards Program

28 Oct 2008

Google and WPP team up to endow research into how online media influences consumer behaviour

New York – Google and WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY) announced today that they will jointly fund a grant program to support research into how online media influences consumer behaviour, attitudes and decision making.

WPP and Google will contribute up to $4.6 million over three years to endow the Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards Program, which will immediately begin reviewing grant applications.

The program will be overseen by Professor John Quelch, Senior Associate Dean of Harvard Business School and a non-executive Director of WPP; Dr. Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist; and Professor Glen Urban, former Dean of the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This committee will work with WPP and Google to decide which grant proposals will be funded and ensure the integrity, delivery and impact of the research.

"We want to encourage more research about how online and offline media work together to influence consumer choices. We think that such research will contribute to more effective and more measurable advertising performance," said Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist and a co-director of the grants program. "I'm excited that we're teaming up with WPP to fund these activities."

"We're very pleased to be working with WPP to encourage new insights into online advertising," said Tim Armstrong, Google's Senior Vice President and President of Advertising Operations for the Americas. "As it becomes more challenging to reach consumers through any one medium, we hope programs like this will help drive a deeper understanding of how marketers can engage consumers, both online and offline."

Mark Read, CEO of WPP Digital and WPP’s Director of Strategy, said, “We are thrilled to join Google in supporting this research program. The industry, our clients and our companies will benefit from the application of some of the world’s finest academic research minds into how online media influences consumers. The digital age raises many complex and critically important questions for marketers and media owners. The meshing of the business and academic worlds puts us on the path to providing robust answers.”

Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, WPP's insight, information and consultancy division, added, "The industry needs a much better handle on how offline and online media interact with each other and how that interaction shapes consumer attitudes and behaviours. This initiative will be a critical part of that solution."
In addition to funding, WPP will provide access to BrandZ -- the annual study of brand perceptions published by The Kantar Group -- and the media data and research generated at GroupM. Clients of WPP and Google will be able to volunteer to provide case studies and data for research being conducted by grant recipients.

In the first year, the Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards Program will aim to award up to a dozen grants.

For more information about the Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards Program, please visit

Kevin McCormack
WPP New York
+1 212 632 2239
[email protected]

Eric Obenzinger
Google Inc.
[email protected]