The Interpublic media network had a strong 2020, thanks to recent moves to develop a model built on speed, agility and human insights. And its aim to become “more than just a media agency” was buoyed by IPG’s purchase of Acxiom in 2018. In fact, in May 2021, it was named Campaign’s Global Media Agency of the Year, while the Asia-Pacific branch was picked up the Best of the Best: Media Network prize.

During 2020, it won global briefs for Emirates and Energizer. In 2021, UM was named media agency of record for Enterprise Holdings in North America and Europe. UM continued working with longtime client Johson & Johnson, including building a support guide for expecting and new moms during the pandemic from its Johnson’s Baby brand.

In the U.S., after a successful 2020 for new business (wins included E & J Gallo Winery), UM suffered the loss of the $432 million Hershey account, which moved to Horizon in April 2021. It also lost Hulu to Zenith.

Strengthening its senior team, UM hired Christine Villanueva as U.S. chief strategy officer, reporting to U.S. chief executive Lynn Lewis.

In the UK, UM benefitted from the arrival of Enyi Nwosu as chief strategy officer, who contributed greatly to its “Futureproof” positioning. It had an impressive new-business record, too, winning Dr Martens and Photobox. And 2021 started well: it picked up Honda’s European account.

UM’s strategy in APAC under Covid was one of growth, but pivoted towards clients’ most pressing issues. This led to the creation of three tools for media planning, forecasting and optimization, along with a slew of client-specific solutions that drove up UM’s consultancy revenue.

The agency lost just two clients in APAC in 2020 and these were due to in-housing and a global realignment. The organic growth helped UM record a low-double-digit revenue increase and single-digit profit growth in 2020, when new business dropped dramatically. Major global wins provided some cushioning, but UM is especially proud of its regional wins of Lazada and Foodpanda.

It was another strong year creatively. UM had an excellent showing at Campaign Asia-Pacific’s Agency of the Year awards, scooping nine in Southeast Asia, the top media gong in Greater China, the top media awards in South Korea and Japan, a silver in media in Australia, plus APAC Media Network of the Year.

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