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EXCLUSIVE: VMLY&R to take on part of Geometry Cape Town business

Members of Geometry's Cape Town team have joined VMLY&R South Africa, expanding VMLY&R's service offering and creating the means for the company to be even more channel-agnostic. Jarred Cinman, CEO of VMLY&R South Africa, shares more.
Jarred Cinman, CEO of VMLY&R South Africa
Jarred Cinman, CEO of VMLY&R South Africa

BizcommunityCan you comment on the integration between VMLY&R SA and the team of Geometry Cape Town?

This reshuffle of accounts within WPP was driven by a global initiative to simplify the holding company and make it easier for clients to engage with our main brands. Geometry itself remains a part of Ogilvy but the majority of the Cape Town Geometry team move across to VMLY&R along with the BAT client.

BizcommunityWhat was it about Geometry Cape Town that attracted VMLY&R SA to be integrated into VMLY&R Commerce?

This question isn’t accurate in that Geometry Cape Town as a brand isn’t moving to VMLY&R and we will not be rebranding Geometry in South Africa to VMLY&R Commerce. This has happened in a number of countries around the world but due to ownership differences, that’s not the approach that was taken here. The team will become an integrated part of VMLY&R.

BizcommunityCould you comment on the process of this integration.

For us there are two primary goals: build a single team to look after the BAT client in a seamless, through-the-line way; and have the skills which the Geometry team brings be available to our other clients. Both of these processes are well underway in preparation for a final transfer of the business in January 2022.

BizcommunityTell us about the synergy between VMLY&R SA and Geometry Cape Town

VMLY&R in South Africa has not traditionally had a lot of below-the-line, trade, retail and “dark marketing” expertise. Given that we service many clients who sell through retail and who are in categories that are either regulated or might become regulated, this is a really important addition to our offering.

BizcommunityWith members of the Geometry Cape Town team integrating into VMLY&R SA, will there be any restructuring of management?

Lorna Downs, client service director at Geometry, is being appointed the new client service director in our Cape Town office. There are other fantastically talented people who will be integrated into the broader teams over time.

BizcommunityVMLY&R is on a journey to being as channel agnostic as possible. What is the strategy going forward?

Our goal is to become “channel agnostic” – to match our clients’ needs to whatever strategy, channel and platform are best suited to fulfil their goals. We do not see different customer touchpoints as more or less appealing. All are worthy of creativity and great execution and the channels this team are experts at is no exception.

Having said that, we are following a strategy of expansion and partnerships. It’s not necessary to own every service offering to deliver it as an integrated solution to clients – as we have done with Demographica and Think Creative Africa for Vodacom. But it is our ambition to be able to solve any marketing and communications problem our clients have across every customer touchpoint.

BizcommunitySo how much of the Geometry business is joining VMLY&R?

Thirty-five staff members are moving across and one client.

BizcommunityWith the integration of the two teams, what's the big project you're currently working on?

For now, the focus is BAT – a major global VMYL&R and WPP client. We are working hard to ensure that delivery there is integrated and excellent. Beyond that, you’ll just have to wait and see!

About Evan-Lee Courie

Editor: Marketing & Media; Head of Content for Entrepreneurship

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