WPP shuffles its agency deck again as it forms new “powerhouse” in Seattle

More network shuffling at WPP, this time it’s digital network Possible (already described as a Wunderman Thompson company) merging with Wunderman Thompson – only in Seattle at this stage although it looks like the two are joining forces officially in New York. Other outposts are, presumably, likely to follow.

WPP says Possible will remain an “independent brand” for some big clients. This is more significant than it sounds because Possible is a key part of WPP the team that, against the odds, won Volkswagen’s creative account in North America and VW might not be best pleased to see it go. WPP’s VW lead Joe Crump (formerly of Possible) is the newly-minted New York boss of Wunderman Thomson.

WT and Possible are to be joined in Seattle by Cole & Weber, which describes itself as a “creative company.” Cole & Weber began life in 1931 when, it’s pretty safe to say, it was an ad agency.

WT North America CEO Shane Atchison says: “This is part of the same narrative CEO Mark Read has set for WPP, with the agencies combining their creative, technology, analytics and commerce capabilities on behalf of our clients.” WPP calls the new Seattle construct a “powerhouse.”

Does all this matter to anyone outside WPP?

It probably does to VW and other Possible clients including Microsoft and AT&T. Possible became a global network with about 1,500 people, a combination of many of the digital agencies WPP acquired over the years under former CEO Sir Martin Sorrell.

Current WPP CEO Read is treading a delicate line trying to rationalise (and downsize in some cases) his complicated empire while keeping senior staff and clients happy.

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