[email protected], the media agency and performance marketing network inside WPP-owned Ogilvy, is being folded into Group M's Mindshare.
Neo will continue on as its own entity within a new "Mindshare Performance Group," which will also envelop Fast, the integrated performance unit of Mindshare. Neo's 1,000 performance specialists and advisors will be moving to Mindshare. No job cuts are expected in the short-term.
The news follows the announcement two weeks ago that GroupM's MEC and Maxus would be combining under a new name. It's likely part of a wider effort for WPP to eliminate inefficiencies and improve margins, Liberum media analyst Ian Whittaker said.
"Within two weeks, you've had two bringing together of assets," Whittaker said. "That does feel as though they may be doing a wide-ranging review of what they've got and decided to say, 'Okay, maybe these units are redundant and we can save some costs in various parts ... We're relatively inefficient, we need to be more client-focused' — that's what I think is driving this."
Building scale is likely one driver of bringing Neo under the GroupM fold, said Pivotal senior research analyst Brian Wieser. The move also gives Neo more direct access to the media behemoth's data, technology and planning and buying capabilities, which it was further away from as part of Ogilvy.
Inside a holding company, it can be tough for a media shop within a creative organization to thrive.
"There's room in the market for an integrated media creative offering — the problem is that at most holding companies you're not going to to get the investment and resources you need," Wieser said.
"Clients are mostly assessing their agencies on the tools, the people, the processes and the pricing. ... The largest media agencies are the ones better positioned to invest in tools, better global processes and at least be able to present themselves as better on pricing," he said.
Neo Global CEO Nasreen Madhany and global Chief Operating Officer Bradley Rogers will continue in their existing roles and will join the Mindshare leadership team.
"In a rapidly changing client and media industry environment, Nasreen and I believe that embedding Neo under Mindshare management will best serve our client-centric strategy and the ongoing enterprise transformation across WPP," Ogilvy worldwide chairman and CEO John Seifert said in a statement.