WPP network Grey has fully acquired social media agency Wildfire, which will be integrated into Grey London, effective on 1 June.
Grey bought a minority stake in Wildfire in 2008 and became a majority stakeholder in 2011. The two have worked together for 16 years.
As part of the full acquisition, Wildfire will establish a new department called Grey Social in the UK and Europe, including markets such as Italy, Germany and Poland. The move follows the integration of commerce and shopper company Base into Grey in 2019.
Grey Social’s capabilities will include social insights and research, planning, creative, content production, community management, media buying, performance optimisation, social customer experience, martech, analysis and measurement, according to Grey.
Laura Jordan Bambach, Grey’s UK president and chief creative officer, said: “Bringing together Wildfire and Grey London will give us an incredible opportunity to deliver groundbreaking work. Through this change, we are simplifying how we work, integrating our areas of expertise and creating more moments in which unique skills can flourish and be shared.”
Wildfire’s management team will join Grey London’s senior line-up as part of the move. Chief executive Ivan Palmer becomes director, social development and innovation; managing director Olivia Clarkson is named director of connected culture; digital strategy director Asad Shaykh takes the role of joint head of strategy; and creative director Vikesh Amey-Bhatt is appointed group creative director.
Clarkson commented: “This is a really exciting development for both agencies. Combining big-idea creative thinking with an omnichannel mindset will enable us to get the best out of the diverse talent that we are bringing together. Clients will now be able to enjoy brand advertising, social, digital, commerce and dynamic production – all from one unified team.”
In November 2020, WPP announced that Grey is to merge with AKQA to form AKQA Group as part of a simplification strategy, although the Grey agency brand will remain for some time.