The story of VML: from anti-agency roots to fusion with Y&R

Few things better illustrate the march of change in the ad industry than the story of how a collective founded in Missouri 26 years ago rose to claim first-among-equal billing in a merger-verging-on-takeover with the venerable Y&R.

First, a reminder of how and when VML entered the WPP universe. Back in 2000, then WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell approached the VML founders with a buyout plan that would merge the marketing agency with J Walter Thompson.

Fourteen months later, in June 2001, a deal was announced in which VML would become part of the WPP machine as a stand-alone agency group after VML’s founders demanded the agency retain brand independence....

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