WPP buy creates new AKQA design combo The New Standard

WPP is back on the acquisition trail, buying a majority stake in design firm Made Thought to form a new entity The New Standard, part of its AKQA empire (AKQA is now the lead company in another relative newbie within WPP, AKQA Grey.)

Made Thought will team with Universal Design Studio and Map Project in The New Standard. Made Thought was founded by Paul Austin and Ben Parker and employs 55 people in London and New York. Clients include Pinterest, Unilever, LVMH, MoMA, Paul Smith and Rosewood Hotels.

WPP CEO Mark Read says: “Bringing Made Thought together with Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office to create The New Standard will further strengthen our position as a creative leader and raise the bar for design that speaks to people across different platforms.”

In the very early days of WPP it was a collection of mainly UK design companies before JWT in New York caught the eye of founder Sir Martin Sorrell.

Design is moving back up the holding company agenda as new development like A1, greater interest in gaming and the much-anticipated ‘metaverse’ highlight the requirement for design skills with digital smarts.

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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.

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