See How WPP Tried to Recruit Publicis Groupe Execs

Several Staffers at Rival Holding Firm Targeted by WPP Recruitment Email

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"WPP has a very high positive awareness of you."

That's how the biggest holding company in the world is attempting to court execs from rival companies to join its ranks, per a mailer that went out this week.

While it sounds flattering and personal, the statement is part of a formulaic recruitment email that WPP sent to a number of senior staffers from at least one Publicis Groupe agency. The aim was to set up introductory meetings with a recruiter.

WPP and Publicis executives declined to comment. According to people familiar with the matter, Publicis executives didn't respond -- but a lawyer for the holding company has responded with a standard letter warning against further action.

Talent is, after all, the most important asset at agencies. So it's no surprise the competition for the best and brightest is getting fiercer than ever. But that means that poaching will continue growing into a bigger concern for agency and holding company management.

Here's a copy of the original email obtained by Ad Age:

Dear [redacted]

I am a member of the WPP Talent Team, based in New York. We are charged with proactively meeting top talent in the market to build relationships with key people who can be called upon to lead and staff new and existing business initiatives serving WPP clients around the world.

WPP has a very high positive awareness of you. That said, one of our senior recruiters, [redacted], will be in Chicago the week of March 18th and would like to set up a time to meet with you and learn more about your background and experience. Her bio is attached for your review.

Please let me know if you have availability to meet with [redacted] while she is in the area.

Many thanks,

[redacted] Recruitment Assistant WPP 100 Park Avenue 4th Floor New York, NY 10017 T: [redacted] talent@wpp.com