Wunderman Thompson hires strategy chief Sid McGrath, brings back Quality Street

Wunderman Thompson has hired Sid McGrath as UK chief strategy officer. McGrath joins from Karmarama where he spent 14 years building the agency, now part of Accenture Interactive. McGrath’s role in stitching creative, data and technology together there is named as a key factor to his appointment.

Before joining Karmarama McGrath was head of planning and MD of legendary 90s agency HHCL.

McGrath says: “The world’s been turned on its head and preparing clients for what’s coming next is an increasingly complex task. Having a modern approach that integrates data intelligence, technological knowhow and creative ambition is essential for brands to stay relevant, accessible and meaningful.

“It’s a rarity to find an agency that can credibly do that in today’s industry. Wunderman Thompson can – they are the genuine article.” McGrath replaces Richard Dunn who becomes EMEA CSO.

Separately WT is bringing back Nestle confectionery brand quality Street – a big seller at Christmas – with another of those new “brand platforms” – ‘Something we all share.’

Senior brand manager Ellie Dent says: “This year’s marketing campaign is all about how Quality Street can make moments more memorable and build togetherness with friends and family, whatever your chosen definition of family is. This is reflected in our television ad, which features real-life groups of family, friends and couples.”

OK, but lacks a bit of that magic and sparkle M&S used to talk about.

MAA creative scale: 5.

As for McGrath it’s good to see a talented industry veteran finding a new home. Mark Read, boss of WT owner WPP took a hammering a while back for an allegedly ageist comment saying he didn’t want to hark back to the 1980s (he denies it was ageist.)

WT is Read’s old fiefdom and it’s now hired two vets to key positions – McGrath and CCO Steve Aldridge so Read is ahead of the game on that score. What WT now needs to do – as it busies itself with creativity/tech transformation for its clients – is produce some knockout old school, high profile creative campaigns. A bit like the 1980s, in fact.

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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.

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