In another indicator of the growing importance of audio in the advertising industry, ad agency holding company WPP is acquiring sonic branding agency amp. The audio-focused agency known for creating sonic identities for Mastercard, Mercedes-Benz, Kraft Heinz, Deloitte, Shell, and General Motors will “strengthen WPP’s offering in experiential branding and its ability to create high-quality, differentiated, and ownable sound experiences for clients,” WPP said in the announcement.
The acquisition comes as more marketers are using sound as a branding element, with 75% of Gen Z consumers saying that music helps them to feel more connected to brands.
Founded in 2009 by Michele Arnese, amp is based in the U.S., Europe and Asia, with main office hubs in Germany and the U.S.
Calling it an “industry-first move,” Arnese said the acquisition “shows the significance of sound as a must-have brand design and experience component… Our global team of creatives, sonic experts, producers, client leads and researchers will team up with Landor & Fitch and WPP to unleash the power of audio, making brands sound better,” Arnese added.
Vijay Iyer, CEO of amp U.S., recently spoke with Inside Radio for a series on the power of audio. “The brain digests audio in a slightly different way than visuals and it's something that sticks really well,” he said. “There are so many emerging and existing platforms that are audio-only and many brands haven't really thought about what they sound like in that space and how they make sure they’re clearly recognizable if you can’t see the brand.” St. Jude Children's Hospital and job recruitment service Indeed, both big radio partners, are also amp clients.
Amp will join WPP brand and design consultancy, Landor & Fitch, which counts Apple, Bang & Olufsen, bp, Kellogg’s, LEGO, Microsoft, Nike, and Procter & Gamble among its clients. Jane Geraghty, Global CEO of Landor & Fitch, said the deal “gives us an unparalleled breadth of capability – graphic, digital, motion, physical, product and experiential – and now sonic.”
The audio shop’s expertise in music and sound is based on its Sonic DNA design approach and Sonic Hub AI toolset, which is used to analyze, create and manage sonic assets. Amp says this approach ensures that a brand’s audio content is consistent yet tailored to diverse audiences, delivering a seamless experience across all consumer touchpoints.
“With the rise of streaming, podcasting and short-form media, audio has become a critical component of the marketing mix,” Mark Read, CEO, WPP, said in the announcement. “The acquisition of amp enhances our offer to clients, helping them create immersive experiences that engage consumers on a deeper level and drive their competitive advantage.”