Agency giant WPP launches ‘non-agency’ Black Ops

Beauty-1024x514WPP, the one-time lumbering agency giant run by “little big man” Sir Martin Sorrell, is aiming to show just how lean and mean it is now under its new leadership team with the launch of what it insists is a fluid “revolutionary” business with an “agile multi-disciplinary team”.

Confused already? Well, according to the official blurb, WPP Black Ops is not actually an agency, which is probably a good job considering how many of those have been axed under new boss Mark Reid; it is a start-up designed to answer every client’s desire to solve business issues.

Launching with a single client, P&G’s SK-II skincare brand, Black Ops has operations situated in key global hubs, which will “take different shapes depending on the challenges clients present”.

WPP says the vision is to come up with big ideas generating large-scale impact for clients which do not stick to traditional business models and processes in their own industry – just as Black Ops defies linear agency structures.

Even so, founders Nihar Das and Danni Mohammed, along with creative consultant Leo Savage have spent most of their careers in agencies. Das was formerly MediaCom Asia-Pacific managing partner, Mohammed was strategy consultant for Grey London and Savage is Grey London executive creative director.

The start-up will raid WPP-owned agencies and beyond, to assemble teams suited for each project, driven by a single philosophy entitled “collapsed creativity”, designed to speed up creative problem-solving.

WPP Black Ops’ first work for SK-II is the brand’s sponsorship of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The campaign, called “Beauty is #NoCompetition”, was devised in “just” 48 hours.

Das said: “WPP Black Ops has developed from an idea that originated almost a year ago when we assembled the core team to solve the SK-II Olympic challenge – the brand’s most ambitious project to date.

“What started out as an experimental working model for one client escalated into a new proposition with wide relevance and appeal that’s all about flexibility – drawing in the right people, and structuring on a bespoke, project-by-project basis. Our focus is on generating original work and taking clients into new and undefined spaces.

“We chose the name Black Ops for its association with rapid response and synchronous left-right thinking. We win on the back of legendary work.”

WPP insists further client wins will follow shortly.

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