Is there anything that WPP’s ever-acquisitive Hogarth production giant can’t turn its hand to?

Everywhere you turn these days there’s Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP (obviously, it’s just bought a social marketing research company in Bangladesh of all places) and, increasingly, there’s Hogarth.

And what, you may ask, is Hogarth?

Well here’s what WPP says it is:

A world leader in Marketing Implementation, Hogarth provides production and transcreation across all media channels for global clients.

Hogarth produces, localises and delivers advertising at a fraction of the historic cost whilst maintaining the creative integrity. To make this happen, production and transcreation are managed under one roof- supported by a highly automated technology platform.

Hogarth’s technology promotes both value and time savings by allowing users to efficiently upload, manage and deliver assets to all parties in the production process. ZONZA, Hogarth’s cloud-based asset management system, delivers even the largest digital video file with unprecedented speed and security via any device, including tablets and smartphones.

Hogarth’s services broadly divide into three categories; centralized implementation, production studio management and production technology. Core capabilities include transcreation, TV and audio production, TV post-production, print production, digital production, high-end creative artworking and CGI, production technology.

Not entirely sure what transcreation is; probably something to do with translation. And its services include:

Adaptation, Cultural insight, DAM, Digital, Editing, Implementation, Localisation, Marketing supply chain, Media supply, Print, Production, Repro, Reprographics, Studio Management, Transcreation, Translation, Versioning, Video, Voiceover recording, Workflow.

Just about everything apart from buying the client lunch.

Hogarth is back in the frame for a number of reasons: it looks like it’s trying to displace TAG as Tesco’s production partner; it has just launched Gramercy Park in London which looks to all and extents and purposes like a full-on production company with techno bells and whistles (WPP already owns a post-production facility called The Farm) and last year it pinched UK TV ad compliance company Clearcast’s copy clearance work (the bulk of what it does) from long-time supplier Adstream.

It wasn’t immediately apparent what Hogarth brought to this particular party (maybe ‘work flow’) but the business moved and Hogarth set up something called CopyCentral.

The plan was that this work would move over gradually (again suggesting that Hogarth was learning the trade) but now Adstream has told a clearly startled Clearcast that it’s packing its bags in six month, just in time for the Christmas rush.

Clearcast, which seems to be taken by surprise quite often, has accused Adstream of ‘undermining’ its business but says that things will be hunky dory at Hogarth/CopyCentral anyway. It’s hard to see how both statements can be true.

Clearcast was roundly criticised by many in the industry for giving the copy clearance work to a WPP company in the first place as it would, in effect, be handling rivals’ copy in advance of broadcast leading to obvious security issues.

But, wherever you look these days there seems to be Hogarth (it also has a global big brother called Deliver). Obviously it’s a more than useful in-house resource. But from another angle it’s a way of WPP sharing accounts that it doesn’t actually handle as the principal (Tesco with its creative agency Wieden+Kennedy if the business should move); a rather convenient foot in the door as well as another revenue stream.

Hogarth was originally a pre-press/repro company, named after the famous 18th century artist, print maker and anti-establishment satirist William Hogarth. Among other works Hogarth produced ‘The Rake’s Progress.’

He would have been somewhat surprised to see his name given to a classic bit of 21st century business empire-building.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.

One comment

  1. Avatar

    Transcreation = Factory = Sausages.
    The other “Gramercy Park” is the love nest in New York that WPP shareholders pay for.
    Cheers/George