WPP AUNZ announced its Sydney-based digital marketing and media consultancy, Switched On, will join the Australian arm of global innovation and experience design agency AKQA.

AKQA and Switched On are part of WPP AUNZ. The holding company said this union is in direct response to client interest and demand for comprehensive digital solutions that help define, find, connect and inspire customers across all brand interactions, from acquisition through to retention.

The joint entity’s emphasis will be on rich, innovative brand storytelling throughout the entire customer journey, bringing clients’ long-term brand purpose to life whilst maintaining a laser focus on short term performance.

“Joining Switched On and AKQA formalises the close working relationship both agencies already have. The partnership uniquely combines media, tech, data and design literally under one roof. The result is a stronger client offering and WPP AUNZ is proud to support them,” said John Steedman, interim CEO WPP AUNZ.

By fusing their respective martech and adtech capabilities, the driving principle will be to deliver on the unfulfilled promise of large technology platforms and connected, transparent media investments.

“This initiative is a terrific example of our team’s growth mindset and a shared vision of the future. Both agencies are at the top of their game. It’s a powerful combination that offers a modern, post-broadcast perspective to the interface of customer and brand,” said Brian Vella, AKQA Managing Partner.

The new offering builds on the success of AKQA Media in San Francisco, an elite business that delivers a 360-degree view of brand experience for clients including GAP, Volvo and Uber through an integrated approach to media, technology and data.

“As the worlds of marketing, technology, and customer experience converge, it’s clear a strategic reprioritisation of brand building is essential. We feel what’s needed is a unified proposition that straddles the need to balance this long-term vision with the reality of short-term performance in today’s digital age. That’s why we’ve come together,” said Chris Hitchcock, Managing Director, Switched On.

Switched On will continue to be led by Managing Director, Chris Hitchcock, responsible for the continued success of the Switched On team and its integration into AKQA. Hitchcock will join the AKQA Executive team, reporting into Brian Vella, Managing Partner of AKQA in Asia Pacific. Both agency brands will continue, with Switched On transitioning to become AKQA in the future.

AKQA operates in 28 markets globally, with over 2100 people worldwide. In APAC the studios whom collaborate closely include Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Tokyo and Shanghai. It most recently was awarded two Grand Prix Lions at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

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