WPP wins Newell with horizontal-sounding group offer

WPP has won Newell Brands, described as a premier consumer goods company, and formed a new entity to handle it – Team Newell.

Team Newell consists of Geometry, Mindshare and Eicoff (direct response television) alongside Wunderman Thompson for digital marketing and VMLY&R for social media. They’ll be working with existing agencies Burson Cohn & Wolf (PR) and and Superunion (branding.) Newell originally hired JWT (now the latter part of Wunderman Thompson) in 2016.

This sounds like former boss Sir Martin Sorrell’s fabled “horizontality” (now banned at WPP) with a vengeance.

But what exactly is this “premier consumer goods” company we’ve never heard of? Its brands include Paper Mate, Sharpie, Dymo, EXPO, Parker, Elmer’s, Coleman, Marmot, Oster, Sunbeam, FoodSaver, Mr Coffee, Graco, Baby Jogger, NUK, Calphalon, Rubbermaid, Contigo, First Alert and Yankee Candle. According to WPP “for hundreds of millions of consumers, Newell Brands makes life better every day, where they live, learn, work and play.”

Clearly there’s a job to be done pulling this lot together. The same might be said of WPP’s Team Newell.

Team Newell in some ways underlines the big job facing Read at WPP. Such a smorgasbord of agencies is pretty difficult to get your head around. Team Newell leader Eva Ruzicka, working out of New York, clearly has a job on her hands.

Clients seem to be buying it though: WPP’s VW creative win in North America came via another extensive agency line-up.

But WPP does seem to have an agreed positioning at last. It says it’s a “creative transformation company: that builds “better futures for our clients through an integrated offer of communications, experience, commerce and technology.”

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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.