WPP AUNZ’s Sydney-based digital marketing and media consultancy, Switched On, is to merge with the Australian arm of digital creative agency AKQA.
The combined unit will have a headcount of 300 staff with expertise in digital consulting, performance media, creative strategy, CX, communications planning and CRM, technology and engineering, data, commerce, innovation and social and influencer marketing.
Switched On will continue to be led by managing director Chris Hitchcock, who will be responsible for managing the agency’s integration into AKQA. Hitchcock will join the AKQA executive team, reporting into Brian Vella, managing partner of AKQA in Asia Pacific.
Both agency brands will continue, with Switched On transitioning to become AKQA in the future.
In a release announcing the news, WPP AUNZ said the union is in "direct response to client interest and demand for comprehensive digital solutions".
Switched On's Hitchcock said: “As the worlds of marketing, technology, and customer experience converge, it’s clear a strategic reprioritisation of brand building is essential. We feel what’s needed is a unified proposition that straddles the need to balance this long-term vision with the reality of short-term performance in today’s digital age. That’s why we’ve come together."
WPP AUNZ interim chief executive John Steedman added the partnership "uniquely combines media, tech, data and design literally under one roof."
The new offering will look to emulate the set-up of AKQA Media in San Francisco, which claims to offer a "360-degree view of brand experience" for clients including Gap, Volvo and Uber through an integrated approach to media, technology and data.
AKQA's Vella said: “AKQA Media is widely regarded as one of the world’s premier media and technology agencies, something we believe will resonate well with Australian marketers."