WPP’s Wavemaker Defends Ikea’s $108 Million U.S. Account in Global Media Review

MEC had worked with the brand for 11 years

Ikea is dividing its global media account between WPP and Dentsu Aegis Network agencies Getty Images, Ikea

Ikea announced today it has selected Wavemaker to retain its planning and buying business in the U.S. after an extensive global procurement-led media review first launched in 2016.

Wavemaker, the WPP agency network formed by the merger of MEC and Maxus, will be tasked with driving “deeper integration and innovation” in-store and online across all of the furniture brand’s domestic media channels including data science, multicultural, search engine optimization (SEO) and content offerings, according to the announcement.

“We are excited to renew our relationship with Wavemaker as they have built a track record of creative solutions to meet our business needs in a fresh and inspiring way,” Joy Kelly, Ikea’s U.S. media manager, said in a statement. “Ikea has always been an innovator in the retail industry, and we look forward to working with Wavemaker to help us create the next generation of customer experiences.”

According to Kantar Media, Ikea spent $108.2 million on measured media in the U.S. last year and $106.6 million in 2016.

Ikea previously was an MEC client for 11 years. Dentsu Aegis Network’s Vizeum, which handled Ikea’s media duties in the U.K. before the review, and global incumbent MediaCom both competed for the U.S. account, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Ikea had already decided to divide its full global media account among only WPP and Dentsu Aegis Network agencies in 2016, and those agencies have been competing for local markets since.

The source said WPP’s MediaCom has defended a portion of Ikea’s global account but did not know exactly how big a portion, as not all local markets have concluded their reviews. A MediaCom spokesperson deferred comment to WPP’s larger GroupM network, which houses both MediaCom and Wavemaker. GroupM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We are thrilled to grow our partnership with Ikea,” Amanda Richman, CEO of Wavemaker U.S., said in a statement. “They are a beloved brand and a proven innovator in design and marketing. Our teams are excited to exercise their skills in audience understanding and activation to strengthen Ikea’s retail leadership at every touch point.”

@kitten_mouse lindsay.rittenhouse@adweek.com Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.