VMLY&R is an American marketing and communications company specializing in advertising, digital and social media, sales promotion, direct marketing and brand identity consulting, formed from the merger of VML, founded in 1992, and Y&R (Young & Rubicam), founded in 1923. It is a subsidiary of WPP plc multinational advertising and public relations holding company.

Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryIntegrated Marketing Communications
FoundedY&R: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1923)
VML: Kansas City, Missouri (1992)
Headquarters3 World Trade Center, 28th Floor
175 Greenwich Street
New York, New York 10007
250 Richards Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64116
Key people
Jon Cook, CEO
Eric Campbell, President
Debbi Vandeven, CCO
Beth Wade, CMO
Number of employees
13,000 (2023)
ParentWPP plc

VMLY&R employs more than 13,000 employees in 80-plus offices worldwide with principal offices in Kansas City, New York, London, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, and Sydney.[1][2]

In October 2018, the Sudler network combined with VMLY&R, creating VMLY&R Health.[3][relevant?] In early 2020, Medical, Marketing and Media (MM&M) magazine ranked VMLY&R as No. 18[relevant?] for North American revenue of healthcare marketing agencies.[4]

Jon Cook is CEO, Eric Campbell is global president, Debbi Vandeven is global chief creative officer, and Beth Wade is global chief marketing officer of VMLY&R.[5]

On 17th October 2023, WPP announced the merger of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R.[6]

History edit

Y&R (Young & Rubicam) edit


In 1923, John Orr Young and Raymond Rubicam established a small advertising agency in Philadelphia. The company moved to New York in 1926 as a condition of securing a contract with the newly formed Jell-O company.[7] Soon the company moved into offices at 285 Madison Avenue, which remained the company's location for 87 years.[7]

During the 1960s, Y&R produced the first color television commercials. In the 1970s, under the leadership of Edward N. Ney as chief executive officer, Y&R expanded with the acquisition of Wunderman Ricotta & Kline in 1973, Cato Johnson in 1976, and Burson-Marsteller in 1979.[8] Throughout the 1980s, Y&R bought diverse firms like Landor Associates in corporate and brand identity. By the end of the decade there were nine companies formally owned.

In the 1990s, Y&R was charged with bribery related to a Jamaican tourism account, and a partnership with Dentsu and Eurocom fell apart when Eurocom withdrew. Y&R and Dentsu reformed as Dentsu, Young & Rubicam Partnerships.[9] Peter Georgescu became chief executive officer in 1994 and began to streamline the company's operations. In 1995, Y&R began an acquisition push again, increasing ownership in advertising agencies and public relations firms across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

In 1996, Hellman & Friedman became Y&R's first outside investor, and on May 15, 1998, Y&R closed an initial public offering of its common stock, and became a public company. Edward Vick was Chief Operating Officer of Young & Rubicam Inc.from November 1997 to August 1999.[10]

In 2000, Y&R was acquired by the WPP Group, a London-based marketing communications holding company.

VML edit

VML launched in 1992 under Kansas City advertising veterans John Valentine, Scott McCormick and Craig Ligibel, whose initials formed the company's name.[11] VML, or Valentine McCormick Ligibel as it was originally called upon its founding in 1992, had claimed to offer truly integrated online and offline services, such as advertising, business consulting and creating software applications. It also boasted an impressive client list, including Colgate-Palmolive, Coca-Cola and American Express.[12]

In June 2001, a deal was announced in which VML would become part of WPP as a stand-alone agency group.[12]

In 2018, with 3,000 employees in 33 locations around the world, VML joined forces with Y&R to become VMLY&R.[12]

Sudler & Hennessey edit


Sudler & Hennessey (United States) was a healthcare communications firm that developed promotional and educational programs for a wide spectrum of healthcare companies. S&H created advertising, direct marketing and sales promotion programs for prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. In addition, S&H provided consultancy and communications support in the areas of managed care, medical devices and equipment, nutrition, veterinary medicine and general healthcare. Communications programs produced by S&H on behalf of its largely pharmaceutical industry client base were directed to healthcare professionals as well as patients and their support networks. For a time, it developed general advertising. According to the New York Times, 9-2-88, p. A 3, John J. Graham and Herb Lubalin created the original NBC Peacock at Sudler.

S&H was founded in 1941, was acquired by Y&R in 1973 and was rolled into VMLY&R in 2018.

Operations edit

BAV Group edit

BAV (BrandAssetValuator) Group is VMLY&R's consultancy practice that advises global clients on brand and marketing strategies using consumer insights and the largest database of brand perceptions.[13] The BrandAssetValuator (BAV) identifies the most important dimensions and characteristics that drive brand momentum, advocacy, and financial success. Each year, BAV Group publishes the Best Countries Report with U.S. News & World Report and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.[14] In 2017, BAV Group launched BAVSocial – a social analytics tool that measures the impact of social media on long-term brand performance using BAV data and a large variety of social listening metrics.[15]

The Bravo Group and Kang & Lee edit

Bravo Group and Kang & Lee create multicultural marketing and communications programs targeted to the U.S. Hispanic and Asian communities through advertising, promotion and event marketing, public relations, research and direct marketing.

TAXI edit

TAXI is a marketing communications company that was founded in 1992 in Montreal. The company has three locations in Canada and [16] one in the United States.[17] Services include integrated branding campaigns; strategic planning; creative; and digital, design, print, and broadcast production.[16] In 2009, TAXI was awarded Platinum status by Deloitte based on six consecutive years among Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies.[18] In 2010, TAXI was named Agency of the Decade by Toronto-based Strategy magazine.[19]

Major work edit

Burger King "McWhopper" edit

Led by Y&R New Zealand, the "McWhopper" campaign for Burger King[20] was created to bring together two of the world's largest fast-food restaurants – McDonald's and Burger King – to raise awareness for World Peace Day. To initiate the campaign, Burger King sent an open letter to McDonald's asking if they could come together to make the "McWhopper" – a burger combining both fast-food restaurant's key ingredients.[21] The campaign increased Burger King's brand affinity among consumers, earned over 7.6 billion media impressions, over $144 million in earned media, and increased awareness on World Peace Day by 40%.[22] In addition, at the 2017 Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, the "McWhopper" campaign was awarded a total of 76 Lions and two Grand Prix.[23] Burger King was also named Cannes Lions’ "Marketer of the Year" in 2017.[23]

The Whole Story Project edit

The Whole Story Project[24] by Y&R New York with the goal of increasing gender parity in public representation.[25] Addressing the issue that only 8% of all public statues in the United States represent historical women,[26] The Whole Story Project featured an app that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to place virtual statues of influential women in historic locations.[25] The app is available for iOS and Android devices and allows users to explore as well as place virtual female statues in locations that are predominantly filled with male statues.[27]

Xerox "Brother Dominic" edit

Y&R New York's "Brother Dominic" campaign for Xerox[28] places the original Brother Dominic (used in a Xerox Super Bowl campaign in 1977) in the digital age.[29] Whereas the 1977 Brother Dominic, a monk, only had to print 500 copies of a handwritten manuscript using Xerox technology, the 2017 Brother Dominic must not only make 500 copies but also have them translated in 35 different languages and shared on all seven continents. The campaign introduces Xerox's tagline “Set the Page Free” and showcases the range of Xerox's new product technology.[30]

Marks & Spencer "Christmas With Love, Mrs. Claus" edit

Y&R London's 2016 campaign for Marks & Spencer “Christmas With Love, Mrs. Claus” was directed by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper and featured actress Janet McTeer as Mrs. Claus.[31] Instead of making another campaign centered around Santa Claus, the modern Christmas campaign placed the spotlight on a stylish, empowering, helicopter flying, Mrs. Claus. The campaign shows Mrs. Claus on a mission to successfully help a little boy's Christmas dreams come true.[31] The goal of the campaign was for M&S to form an emotional connection with consumers and relate to the lengths that people go through to make the holiday season special.[32][33]

Medcare Women & Children's Hospital "Footnote For The Breast" edit

Created by The Classic Partnership Dubai, a Y&R brand, the "Footnote For The Breast" initiative[34] sought to raise awareness on the importance of breast checks amongst Arab woman by challenging the cultural taboo of openly speaking about breast cancer.[35] The campaign involved placing pebbles with a message about breast cancer in the shoes of Arab women after they took their shoes off to enter the Mosque and pray. The hope was that if the women reacted to the lump in their shoes, they would do the same if they felt a lump on their breasts.[35] At Dubai Lynx 2016, the campaign was recognized with a Grand Prix, two Golds, and three Silvers.[36][37]

Johnson & Johnson "Band-Aid" edit

The 1975 "Band-Aid" campaign[38] by Y&R New York introduced the memorable jingle "I am stuck on Band-Aid because my Band-Aid is stuck on me” to help sell Johnson & Johnson's Band-Aid product.[39]

Lays "Betcha/Devil" edit

This Y&R New York campaign from 1967, "Betcha/Devil,"[40] introduced the enduring Lays Potato Chips tagline: "You can eat a million of them, but you can't eat just one." The campaign featured Bert Lahr, whose brand eventually became synonymous with the product.[41]

Popular culture edit

Y&R was frequently cited in the AMC television series Mad Men, most notably in the Season 5 premiere episode "A Little Kiss", which recounts an actual incident from May 1966 in which Y&R employees poured water on and pitched water balloons at civil rights protesters on Madison Avenue.[42] The company Young & Rubicam is mentioned in the 1997 movie Picture Perfect, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jay Mohr. Jennifer Aniston's (Kate) boss Kevin Dunn (Mr. Mercer) commented, "When I got my first job at Young and Rubicam, I told them I graduated first in my class. Truth is, I was lucky to graduate at all."

Controversy edit

In May 2012, a controversial ad made for the Argentine government by Young & Rubicam Argentina aired. In the video, an Argentine Olympic athlete is shown training in The Falkland Islands, including running up the steps of a British war memorial. The video quickly went viral and caused offense in Britain. The tagline was "To compete on British soil, we train on Argentinian soil." Y&R was quick to condemn the ad and released the following statement:

"Y&R's agency in Argentina created an ad for the Argentine government that has deeply offended many people in the UK and around the world. We strongly condemn this work and have asked the Argentine government to pull the spot. While we don't believe it was ever the intention of the ad's creators to desecrate a war memorial, they behaved in a manner that is unacceptable to our company. Furthermore it is against our policy to be involved in anything that is politically motivated. In addition, this spot was also offensive to the Olympics spirit. Whatever it was the creators set out to highlight, what they produced is contrary to everything that we as a company stand for. We are deeply regretful for the pain this ad has caused and apologize to the many who have been rightly disturbed by it, as have we."[43][44]

Notable employees edit

References edit

  1. ^ "VMLY&R | WPP". www.wpp.com.
  2. ^ "A global marketing agency building connected brands". VMLY&R.
  3. ^ "WPP unites health networks into VMLY&R, Ogilvy, Wunderman". www.campaignlive.com.
  4. ^ "Revenue table: Top 100 North American healthcare agencies of 2020 – Agency 100". MM&M – Medical Marketing and Media. June 8, 2020.
  5. ^ "Leadership". VMLY&R. November 13, 2018.
  6. ^ "WPP unites Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R to create global powerhouse in VML". WPP. WPP. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  7. ^ a b "Y&R History". Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Wunderman (Wunderman Cato Johnson)". Retrieved 2016-12-23.
  9. ^ A 1981 partnership named Dentsu Young & Rubicam was announced in 1981. Philip H. Dougherty (May 22, 1981). "Y.&R. and Dentsu start joint ad venture in Japan". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Voight, Peter (March 9, 1998). "Young & Rubicam: The Market Makers: How Peter Georgescu And His Team Turned Adland's Most Private Agency Into Its Biggest Public Coming-Out". Adweek.
  11. ^ Vockrodt, Steve (26 September 2018). "Kansas City's biggest ad firm VML merging with another leading agency". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  12. ^ a b c "The story of VML: from anti-agency roots to fusion with Y&R". MM&M – Medical Marketing and Media. September 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "Ranking". www.usnews.com. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  14. ^ "Y&R Is Consolidating 3 Businesses Into a One-Stop Shop Called BAV Group". www.adweek.com. 11 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Y&R's BAV Group Launches Social Analytics Tool". www.adweek.com. 31 October 2017.
  16. ^ a b Toane, Carey (November 2008). "Taxi knockout". Agency of the Year. Strategy Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  17. ^ Gianatasio, David (2009-05-19). "Taxi Acquires Dutch I-Shop". Adweek.
  18. ^ "Platinum Club members". Deloitte & Touche LLP.
  19. ^ "There's No Stopping TAXI". Strategy. 30 November 2001.
  20. ^ "Axis Gold 2016 – Burger King: McWhopper" – via www.youtube.com.
  21. ^ "Y&R's 'McWhopper' for Burger King Adds Another Cannes Grand Prix, in Media". www.adweek.com. 22 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Y&R's Burger King 'McWhopper' campaign: How a big idea from little New Zealand went global". December 31, 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Burger King Named Cannes Lions' Marketer of the Year". www.adweek.com. 16 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Y&R NY's The Whole Story Project Uses Augmented Reality to Educate U | LBBOnline". lbbonline.com.
  25. ^ a b Jardine, Alexandra (May 3, 2017). "Y&R's Augmented Reality App Creates Virtual Statues of Women in Public Spaces". adage.com.
  26. ^ "Y&R created an app that uses AR to close the gender gap—among statues". www.campaignlive.com.
  27. ^ Lekach, Sasha (3 May 2017). "There aren't enough statues of women—so this app creates them in augmented reality". Mashable.
  28. ^ States, Y&R New York United. "Xerox – "Xerox & Brother Dominic – Together They Set the Page Free"" – via www.adforum.com.
  29. ^ "Xerox Brings Back 'Brother Dominic' With Even More Miraculous Ending". adage.com. January 4, 2017.
  30. ^ "Xerox Updates Its Iconic 1977 'Brother Dominic' Super Bowl Spot for Our Digital Age". www.adweek.com. 4 January 2017.
  31. ^ a b Jardine, Alexandra (November 14, 2016). "An Elegant Mrs. Claus Is the Badass Star of Marks & Spencer's Heartwarming Holiday Ad". adage.com.
  32. ^ "M&S tells the story of Mrs Claus as it looks to 'resonate more'". March 4, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-03-04.
  33. ^ Armstrong, Ashley (November 11, 2016). "M&S turns to Mrs Claus for Christmas 2016 advert". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  34. ^ "Medcare Women & Children Hospital – "Footnote for the breast" by Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2017". www.adforum.com.
  35. ^ a b "Footnote For The Breast". WPPedCream 2017.
  36. ^ "Dubai Lynx – International Festival of Creativity". Dubai Lynx – International Festival of Creativity.
  37. ^ "Dubai Lynx – International Festival of Creativity". Dubai Lynx – International Festival of Creativity.
  38. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  39. ^ "Top 10 TV Advertising Jingles of the 1970's". August 28, 2013.
  40. ^ "Bert Lahr for Lay's Potato Chips" – via www.youtube.com.
  41. ^ "My Father, the Potato Chip". The New Yorker. May 6, 2011 – via www.newyorker.com.
  42. ^ Wilson, Michael (March 28, 2012). "On 'Mad Men,' an Opening Scene Straight from Page 1". New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  43. ^ "The plot behind the Argentine Olympics Falklands political spot". en.mercopress.com. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  44. ^ "'Insensitive And Disrespectful' Argentine Olympic Advert Stirs Falklands Row". HuffPost UK. May 4, 2012.
  45. ^ "Kugelman's 30-year stint takes her to top of Y&R". Campaign Live. 1999-06-11.

External links edit