Jan 29 2020

Stagwell Group shop replaces WPP's VMLY&R on account amid broader changes at Xerox, including hostile bid for bigger rival HP


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by Jack Neff, published by Ad Age

Xerox has awarded its creative account to Stagwell Group’s Code and Theory following a review, the company confirmed.

WPP’s VMLY&R was the incumbent, according to people familiar with the matter, but Xerox declined to say what other agencies participated in the review, which was handled by JLB & Partners as a consultant. WPP’s Wavemaker continues as Xerox media agency of record. Spending wasn’t disclosed.

“As Xerox transforms into a digital-first company, we are focused on helping clients understand our broader technology solutions and capabilities. We chose Code and Theory as our new creative agency because of their digital chops and smart creative. This isn’t the old Xerox, and now we have a partner in Code and Theory that will help us bring that to life.”

 Anne Marie Squeo Senior Vice President-Chief Communications and Brand Officer, Xerox

“We could not be more excited to partner with Xerox, an iconic company undergoing a fascinating transformation with big ambitions,” said Code and Theory President Mike Treff in a statement. “While they have a storied legacy of innovation, we believe their brightest days lie ahead, and can’t wait to dig in and help them reshape their story.”

A VMLY&R spokesperson said the agency declined to participate in the review, adding: “We wish Xerox the best with all their future endeavors.”

Xerox reported $9.1 billion in revenue last year, down 6 percent, and expects another 4 percent decline at constant currency this year. But the company beat analyst expectations on revenue and earnings for the fourth quarter, sending the stock up when earnings were reported yesterday.

In a conference call with investors, Vice Chairman-CEO John Visentin said Xerox last year set the stage for “sustainable long-term growth” as it expanded its Project Own It restructuring program to “optimize our operations, drive investments back into our business, and create a culture of continuous improvement.”

Among other things, Xerox is developing new 3D printing technologies and will begin introducing them this year, a spokeswoman said.

The Xerox account could get considerably bigger, pending the outcome of the company’s bid to acquire its bigger rival HP. Xerox in November launched the unsolicited bid, backed by activist investor Carl Icahn, who owns nearly 11 percent of Xerox shares. HP’s board has rejected the bid, but Xerox nominated its own slate of directors for HP’s upcoming election.