WPP sets up giant production specialist Deliver

Thought WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell (left) had been uncharacteristically quiet recently (by his standards, these things are relative) but it appears that SMS has been busy reorganising his empire – and trying to take over even more of the world.

WPP is combining its digital production business – Deliver Offshoring – with its pre-press business Hogarth to create Deliver, a combined resource for WPP and its clients.

Quite why the digital business was called Deliver Offshoring is something of a mystery. Does it offer tax avoidance advice as well?

Anyway the two are coming together in what should be a formidable force, one which will put the frighteners on the many independents who occupy the market. The move follows rival Interpublic’s decision to set up its own production specialist .

There are two obvious questions with these WPP moves. One is, will its many agencies toe the line and use the WPP resource? And the second is, will it eventually offer the service to rival companies and even to clients direct?

Officially the WPP line is that these companies are there to service WPP, a key part of its increasingly vertically-integrated model. But in practice a more pragmatic approach can rule as managers try to hit their revenue and profit targets. WPP’s out of home specialist Kinetic works for some rival agency groups for example, like IPG’s Mediabrands operation in the US.

Whichever way it goes, Deliver will be a formidable competitor to other production specialists like Williams Lea (a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL) which now owns production specialist Tag and its post-production arm Smoke & Mirrors.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.