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    WPP acquires Passport to boost integrated programs for brands

    • WPP has acquired Southern California-based brand design agency Passport Brand Design, according to a news release. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 
    • Passport joins VMLY&R’s global network, expanding its presence on the West Coast. The deal also deepens VMLY&R’s design capabilities to help brands “show up in compelling new ways” and build connected consumer experiences.
    • Founded in 2004 by Natalie Taormina and Jeremy Creighton, Passport’s previous clients have included Coca-Cola, Kraft and Heineken.

    Providing clients with integrated programs is essential in the face of rising consumer expectations, WPP CEO Mark Read said in the press release. The deal for Passport brings design expertise intended to help VMLY&R develop connected consumer experiences that are focused on brand-building.

    “With consumer expectations at an all-time high, defining a brand’s characteristics and identity has a major impact on its ability to succeed in today’s world,” Read said in a statement. “Passport brings extensive experience in delivering strategic positioning and creative execution across all touchpoints that will greatly benefit our clients.”

    The acquisition of Passport is part of WPP’s strategy of expanding its creative capabilities through M&A. In recent months, the holding group has acquired several companies, including Latin American corporate communications and marketing consultancy JeffreyGroup, e-commerce companies Newcraft and Corebiz, and Australian marketing technology services company Bower House Digital

    It is unclear how or if Passport Brand Design will work with Design Bridge and Partners, which is a combination of WPP’s Design Bridge and Superunion set to launch in January 2023. In a release announcing the merger in July, Read said Design Bridge and Partners would be part of a “simpler, future-facing client offer[ing]” that will create growth opportunities for clients and staff. 

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