WPP’s Wunderman Launches an Onsite Practice as an Alternative to In-House Agencies

Oliver's James Sanderson tapped to lead Inside

Former Oliver COO James Sanderson will lead Wunderman Inside
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WPP-owned digital shop Wunderman today launched a new onsite practice, called Wunderman Inside, promising to deliver faster, cheaper and more in-depth strategy and creative insights to clients.

James Sanderson will run Wunderman Inside as managing director. He’s leaving his current position as chief operating officer of Oliver U.K., which provides in-house creative services to some of the world’s largest brands including Unilever.

“There’s growing demand from clients for greater proximity to their marketing teams,” Mark Read, Wunderman global CEO, said in a statement. “Wunderman Inside combines strong on-site resources and the strategic and creative power of the agency to give clients the right balance of speed, cost efficiency and innovation. We believe this is a more effective long-term model than typical in-house agencies that struggle to attract talent and consultancy-led models where clients become dependent on expensive resources.”

Wunderman Inside is an extension of a similar model the agency already operates with clients such as News U.K. (jointly with The & Partnership), Best Buy and Sainsburys. It will deploy integrated teams onsite to clients, aimed at delivering faster in-agency services across digital marketing, data and analytics, and commerce, according the statement.

Read continued: “We could not have found a better person than James to lead it. He has extensive experience in the industry, particularly in developing and expanding an in-house creative offering. Now he can do that with the strength of Wunderman behind him.”

At Oliver, Sanderson oversaw operations, working with U.K. and international clients. Before that, he held stints at Teamspirit, Digitas and Glue Isobar.

“Wunderman is a highly-regarded agency because its services aren’t static—it understands what clients want and continually develops what it offers to meet those needs,” Sanderson added in the statement. “I’m really looking forward to leading this new practice and helping Wunderman to reinforce its client-side credentials.”

The move comes just a few weeks after WPP, Wunderman’s parent and the world’s largest advertising holding company, reported a weaker-than-expected 2017, leading its stock to suffer its worst drop in nearly two decades (14 percent). At the time CEO Martin Sorrell blamed the disappointing year on big-spender clients like P&G cutting their budgets and others “increasingly in-housing their activities.”

@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.