Wunderman Thompson rolls out ‘agency inside’ globally

james sandersonIn a classic case of “if you can’t beat them, join them” Wunderman Thompson is rolling out its inhousing operation to the global market in an effort to tap into the huge rise in demand from brand owners wanting their agencies onsite.

Dubbed “Wunderman Thompson Inside”, the operation was first launched over two years ago in the UK by Wunderman, before the agency merged with JWT.

The division is headed up by managing director James Sanderson, who joined from inhousing pioneers Oliver Group in March 2018. Prior to that he was UK president of Digitas, joint MD of Glue Isobar and MD of Teamspirit Share.

The timing of the global roll-out is no coincidence. With the Covid-19 pandemic putting agencies – and client marketing budgets – under huge pressure, the WPP-owned business is keen to differentiate itself as providing a “new collaborative model”.

In a statement, the agency said: “The fluid nature of Covid-19 will test every brand’s ability to respond in an agile matter. In time, we will see which brands are ready and which must catch up rapidly in order to stay competitive, which actively seize the opportunity to transform and which fall by the wayside.

“Wunderman Inside places teams permanently onsite, inside our clients’ offices to take advantage of working in close proximity to the heart of the business. Creating bespoke solutions from the full range of Wunderman Thompson services, Inside draws on globally connected technologies, skills, partnerships, and expertise.”

While agencies have had dedicated teams sitting inside client marketing departments for decades, Oliver Group was one of the first agencies to offer inhousing as a specialism when it launched in 2004. In the ensuing years, agencies from the Unlimited Group to Konica Minolta (now Indicia Worldwide) have offered similar services.

Dedicated onsite teams are also seen as an attempt to stem the flow of agency talent to client companies. According to a recent Bannerflow and Digiday report, 85% of European brands have ditched their agencies to move much of their marketing inhouse.

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