Communications giant WPP has added to its creative portfolio with the acquisition of a majority stake in branding and design agency Made Thought.
Made Thought will be integrated within WPP-owned digital design and communications agency AKQA, teaming up with its architecture and interior design division Universal Design Studio and industrial design consultancy Map Project Office.
Together the trio will form what has been termed The New Standard, an industry collective focused on design and creative thinking to provide clients with design-centric work with full creative independence.
Mark Read, chief executive officer of WPP, said: “WPP is known for its creative excellence and our award-winning work that helps drive transformative growth for our clients. 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.”
Made Thought was founded in 2000 by Paul Austin and Ben Parker, serving clients ranging from Pinterest, Unilever and LVMH to MoMA, Sonos, Paul Smith and Rosewood Hotels. Split between London and New York, the agency promotes itself as offering meaningful connections between brands and consumers.
For its part WPP is in the throes of an ‘accelerated growth strategy,’ which prioritizes mergers and acquisitions (most recently of artificial intelligence (AI) specialist Satalia) as a mechanism for augmenting its capabilities across marketing, communications and design.
AKQA acquired a majority stake in both Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office in 2018.