Agencies Mergers and Acquisitions WPP

WPP snaps up influencer agency Obviously just a week after acquiring Goat

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By Sam Bradley | Senior Reporter

March 27, 2023 | 5 min read

M&A activity at the holding company suggests a strong focus on strengthening its influencer marketing capabilities.

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WPP has acquired Obviously, an influencer and data agency based in New York / The Drum

British holding company WPP has announced the second acquisition of a specialist influencer agency in as many weeks, with a deal to bring New York-based Obviously into the fold.

Chief executive Mark Read said that the influencer sector’s growth in recent years makes it a key area for the company. “The creator economy has experienced huge growth in recent years and it plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer behavior.”

WPP has been working to expand its influencer marketing chops lately. Last Wednesday, the group bought influencer performance agency Goat from private equity firm Inflexion and began merging it with GroupM shop Inca.

This latest acquisition will place Obviously within VMLY&R, led from Kansas by global chief executive Jon Cook.

Commenting on the deal, Cook said: “Bringing Obviously into our VMLY&R family is a clear win as clients demand more intelligent data and results in the influencer space. Obviously’s tech and data capabilities are highly innovative and its ability to scale creator content quickly and efficiently and in every language makes it instantly prepared to be leveraged globally.

“We’re excited for what’s to come and the many creative opportunities we’ll unlock together for our client partners.”

Obviously has a staff of around 100 employees across offices in New York, San Francisco and Paris, while its past clients include Ford, Amazon, Lyft, Converse and Panda Express.

The agency bills itself as a full-service influencer agency that can bring a multitude of personalities into partnership with consumer brand clients, but it’s the firm’s data capabilities that will have caught the eyes of Cook and Read. A proprietary client dashboard and “unique data analytics infrastructure” offers a means of assessing and benchmarking campaign pricing, while the use of automation in managing influencer partners has aided it to handle “complex” campaigns.

Read said: “It brings an exceptional range of global influencer marketing capabilities and a world-class technology platform that will further strengthen our offer to clients.”

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Mae Karwowski, CEO of Obviously, added: “Obviously’s ability to match each client’s unique needs while delivering at a global scale has made us a leader in influencer marketing. Our unique approach to creator-led marketing combined with our proprietary technology has resulted in explosive growth.

“This acquisition is the best of both worlds; we retain our agile and entrepreneurial culture while benefiting from VMLY&R’s depth of experience and global scale, resulting in accelerated growth for all. We couldn’t be more excited to join the WPP network.”

Agencies Mergers and Acquisitions WPP

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