Young & Rubicam

Y&R (originally Young & Rubicam) is a marketing and communications company specializing in advertising, digital and social media, sales promotion, direct marketing and brand identity consulting. It is a member of WPP, a British multinational advertising and public relations company.

IndustryIntegrated Marketing Communications
FoundedPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (1923)
FounderJohn Orr Young, Raymond Rubicam 
Headquarters3 Columbus Circle
New York City
Key people
David Sable, CEO
Peter Law-Gisiko, CFO
Tony Granger, CCO
Number of employees
16,000 (2008)
ParentWPP plc


In 1923, John Orr Young and Raymond Rubicam established a small advertising agency in Philadelphia. The company moved to New York in 1926 as a condition of securing a contract with the newly formed Jell-O company.[1] Soon the company moved into offices at 285 Madison Avenue, which remained the company's location for 87 years.[1]

During the 1960s, Y&R produced the first color television commercials. In the 1970s, under the leadership of Edward N. Ney as chief executive officer, Y&R expanded with the acquisition of Wunderman Ricotta & Kline in 1973, Cato Johnson in 1976, and Burson-Marsteller in 1979.[2] Throughout the 1980s, Y&R bought diverse firms like Landor Associates in corporate and brand identity. By the end of the decade there were nine companies formally owned.

In the 1990s, Y&R was charged with bribery related to a Jamaican tourism account, and a partnership with Dentsu and Eurocom fell apart when Eurocom withdrew. Y&R and Dentsu reformed as Dentsu, Young & Rubicam Partnerships.[3] Peter Georgescu became chief executive officer in 1994 and began to streamline the company's operations. In 1995, Y&R began an acquisition push again, increasing ownership in advertising agencies and public relations firms across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

In 1996, Hellman & Friedman became Y&R's first outside investor, and on May 15, 1998, Y&R closed an initial public offering of its common stock, and became a public company. Edward Vick was Chief Operating Officer of Young & Rubicam Inc.from November 1997 to August 1999.[4]

In 2000, Y&R was acquired by the WPP Group, a London-based marketing communications holding company.

In 2018, Y&R joined forces with VML to become VMLY&R.[5]


Young & Rubicam

Young & Rubicam is one of the world's largest consumer advertising agencies. Young & Rubicam Advertising ranks as the world's 10th largest advertising agency, with revenues of approximately $907 million.[6]

David Sable is the Global Chairman and CEO, Tony Granger is the Global Chief Creative Officer, and Peter Law-Gisiko is the CFO of Young & Rubicam Advertising.

Y&R BAV Group

Led by CEO Michael Sussman, Y&R BAV (BrandAssetValuator) Group is Y&R's consultancy practice that advises global clients on brand and marketing strategies using consumer insights and the largest database of brand perceptions.[7] The BrandAssetValuator (BAV) identifies the most important dimensions and characteristics that drive brand momentum, advocacy, and financial success. Each year, Y&R BAV Group publishes the Best Countries Report with U.S. News & World Report and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.[8] In 2017, Y&R BAV Group launched BAVSocial - a social analytics tool that measures the impact of social media on long-term brand performance using BAV data and a large variety of social listening metrics.[9]

Y&R SparkPlug

Y&R SparkPlug is Y&R's "Innovation Incubator" that provides free office space and resources to innovative startups with 0% equity.[10] The program invites five startups to Y&R New York for a period of six months and includes benefits such as mentorships, seminars, client introductions and the possibility to discuss funding and acquisitions.[11] As a part of Y&R Sparkplug, featured startups can focus on building their ideas and working on their product while having the support and resources of Y&R's global network.[12]

Y&R PowerOn

PowerOn is Y&R's career reboot program that provides the training necessary for parents and care-givers who have left work to focus on family to re-enter the workplace.[13]


VML, Inc. is a marketing technology company based in Kansas City, Missouri, with 33 offices globally including New York, Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago. In 2018, VML joined forces with Y&R to become VMLY&R.[5]

The Bravo Group and Kang & Lee

Bravo Group and Kang & Lee create multicultural marketing and communications programs targeted to the U.S. Hispanic and Asian communities through advertising, promotion and event marketing, public relations, research and direct marketing.

Wunderman Thompson

On November 26, 2018, it was announced that Wunderman will merge with fellow WPP agency J. Walter Thompson to form Wunderman Thompson. Their headquarters is in New York and operates in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia/Pacific regions.

Lester Wunderman, the founder of Wunderman, Ricotta & Kline, in 1958 coined the phrase Direct Marketing to describe the new type of advertising he was practicing.[14] His firm became "the world’s largest direct-marketing ad agency."

KnowledgeBase Marketing

KBM provides marketing services to businesses in targeted high-growth industries. KBM delivers its business services by creating consolidated databases, and then designing, implementing and evaluating database marketing programs for clients. KBM's capabilities include data warehousing, data mining, information services and data analysis. Y&R acquired KBM in May 1999.


This public relations[15] company issues analysis, crisis management, consumer and business marketing and research, corporate communications, investor relations and public affairs advocacy. Burson-Marsteller has its headquarters in New York and operates in the United States, Latin America, the Asia/Pacific region and Europe.

BAV Consulting

BAV Consulting is a global consultancy, offering services in corporate, brand, and marketing strategies and customer insights. BAV Consulting joined forces with BAV Lab as BAV Group in 2017. Michael Sussman is the CEO of BAV Group.</ref>

Cohn & Wolfe

Cohn & Wolfe is a public relations firm specializing in corporate communication and brand identity. It was founded in 1970 and was acquired by Young-Rubicam in 1984. Cohn & Wolfe operates in North America, Europe and Australia.

Robinson Lerer & Montgomery

Robinson Lerer & Montgomery specializes in working with the senior management of companies to develop and implement strategies for corporate image-building, financial transactions, crisis management, litigation support and media and investor programs.[16] RLM was founded in 1986 and was acquired by Y&R in March 2000.

Landor Associates

Landor Associates is a branding consultancy and strategic design firm. Landor offers branding and identity projects, including corporate identity, packaging and brand identity systems, retail design and branded environments, interactive branding and design, verbal branding and nomenclature systems, corporate literature, brand extensions and new brand development. From 1992 to 1994, Edward Vick was president and CEO[17]

Landor was founded in 1941 and was acquired by Y&R in 1989. Landor is based in San Francisco and operates in the Americas, Asia/Pacific and Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, including multidisciplinary consulting and design studios in New York, Seattle, Mexico City, Hamburg, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai and Tokyo.

Sudler & Hennessey

Sudler & Hennessey is a healthcare communications firm that develops promotional and educational programs for a wide spectrum of healthcare companies. S&H creates advertising, direct marketing and sales promotion programs for prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. In addition, S&H provides consultancy and communications support in the areas of managed care, medical devices and equipment, nutrition, veterinary medicine and general healthcare. Communications programs produced by S&H on behalf of its largely pharmaceutical industry client base are directed to healthcare professionals as well as patients and their support networks. For a time, it developed general advertising. According to the New York Times, 9-2-88, p. A 3, John J. Graham and Herb Lubalin created the original NBC Peacock at Sudler.

S&H was founded in 1941 and was acquired by Y&R in 1973. S&H has its headquarters in New York and operates in North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region.


TAXI is a marketing communications company that was founded in 1992 in Montreal. The company has three locations in Canada and [18] one in the United States.[19] Services include integrated branding campaigns; strategic planning; creative; and digital, design, print, and broadcast production.[18] In 2009, TAXI was awarded Platinum status by Deloitte based on six consecutive years among Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies.[20] In 2010, TAXI was named Agency of the Decade by Toronto-based Strategy magazine.[21]

Major work

Recent Work

Burger King "McWhopper"

Led by Y&R New Zealand, the "McWhopper" campaign for Burger King[22] was created to bring together two of the world's largest fast-food restaurants - McDonald's and Burger King - to raise awareness for World Peace Day. To initiate the campaign, Burger King sent an open letter to McDonald's asking if they could come together to make the "McWhopper" - a burger combining both fast-food restaurant's key ingredients.[23] The campaign increased Burger King's brand affinity among consumers, earned over 7.6 billion media impressions, over $144 million in earned media, and increased awareness on World Peace Day by 40%.[24] In addition, at the 2017 Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, the "McWhopper" campaign was awarded a total of 76 Lions and two Grand Prix.[25] Burger King was also named Cannes Lions’ "Marketer of the Year" in 2017.[25]

The Whole Story Project

The Whole Story Project[26] is a collaboration between Y&R New York and The Female Quotient made with the goal of increasing gender parity in public representation.[27] Addressing the issue that only 8% of all public statues in the United States represent historical women,[28] The Whole Story Project featured an app that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to place virtual statues of influential women in historic locations.[27] The app is available for iOS and Android devices and allows users to explore as well as place virtual female statues in locations that are predominantly filled with male statues.[29]

Xerox "Brother Dominic"

Y&R New York's "Brother Dominic" campaign for Xerox[30] places the original Brother Dominic (used in a Xerox Super Bowl campaign in 1977) in the digital age.[31] Whereas the 1977 Brother Dominic, a monk, only had to print 500 copies of a handwritten manuscript using Xerox technology, the 2017 Brother Dominic must not only make 500 copies but also have them translated in 35 different languages and shared on all seven continents. The campaign introduces Xerox's tagline “Set the Page Free” and showcases the range of Xerox's new product technology.[32]

Marks & Spencer "Christmas With Love, Mrs. Claus"

Y&R London's 2016 campaign for Marks & Spencer “Christmas With Love, Mrs. Claus” was directed by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper and featured actress Janet McTeer as Mrs. Claus.[33] Instead of making another campaign centered around Santa Claus, the modern Christmas campaign placed the spotlight on a stylish, empowering, helicopter flying, Mrs. Claus. The campaign shows Mrs. Claus on a mission to successfully help a little boy's Christmas dreams come true.[33] The goal of the campaign was for M&S to form an emotional connection with consumers and relate to the lengths that people go through to make the holiday season special.[34][35]

Medcare Women & Children's Hospital "Footnote For The Breast"

Created by The Classic Partnership Dubai, a Y&R brand, the "Footnote For The Breast" initiative[36] sought to raise awareness on the importance of breast checks amongst Arab woman by challenging the cultural taboo of openly speaking about breast cancer.[37] The campaign involved placing pebbles with a message about breast cancer in the shoes of Arab women after they took their shoes off to enter the Mosque and pray. The hope was that if the women reacted to the lump in their shoes, they would do the same if they felt a lump on their breasts.[37] At Dubai Lynx 2016, the campaign was recognized with a Grand Prix, two Golds, and three Silvers.[38][39]

Johnson & Johnson "Band-Aid"

The 1975 "Band-Aid" campaign[40] by Y&R New York introduced the memorable jingle "I am stuck on Band-Aid because my Band-Aid is stuck on me” to help sell Johnson & Johnson's Band-Aid product.[41]

Lays "Betcha/Devil"

This Y&R New York campaign from 1967, "Betcha/Devil,"[42] introduced the enduring Lays Potato Chips tagline: "You can eat a million of them, but you can't eat just one." The campaign featured Bert Lahr, whose brand eventually became synonymous with the product.[43]

The company was frequently cited in the AMC television series Mad Men, most notably in the Season 5 premiere episode "A Little Kiss", which recounts an actual incident from May 1966 in which Y&R employees poured water on and pitched water balloons at civil rights protesters on Madison Avenue.[44] The company Young & Rubicam is mentioned in the 1997 movie Picture Perfect, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jay Mohr. Jennifer Aniston's (Kate) boss Kevin Dunn (Mr. Mercer) commented, "When I got my first job at Young and Rubicam, I told them I graduated first in my class. Truth is, I was lucky to graduate at all."


In May 2012, a controversial ad made for the Argentine government by Young & Rubicam Argentina aired. In the video, an Argentine Olympic athlete is shown training in The Falkland Islands, including running up the steps of a British war memorial. The video quickly went viral and caused offense in Britain. The tagline was "To compete on British soil, we train on Argentinian soil." Y&R was quick to condemn the ad and released the following statement:

"Y&R's agency in Argentina created an ad for the Argentine government that has deeply offended many people in the UK and around the world. We strongly condemn this work and have asked the Argentine government to pull the spot. While we don't believe it was ever the intention of the ad's creators to desecrate a war memorial, they behaved in a manner that is unacceptable to our company. Furthermore it is against our policy to be involved in anything that is politically motivated. In addition, this spot was also offensive to the Olympics spirit. Whatever it was the creators set out to highlight, what they produced is contrary to everything that we as a company stand for. We are deeply regretful for the pain this ad has caused and apologize to the many who have been rightly disturbed by it, as have we."[45][46]

Notable employees


  1. "Y&R History". Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  2. "Wunderman (Wunderman Cato Johnson)". Retrieved 2016-12-23.
  3. A 1981 partnership named Dentsu Young & Rubicam was announced in 1981. Philip H. Dougherty (May 22, 1981). "Y.&R. and Dentsu start joint ad venture in Japan". The New York Times.
  4. Voight, Peter (March 9, 1998). "Young & Rubicam: The Market Makers: How Peter Georgescu And His Team Turned Adland's Most Private Agency Into Its Biggest Public Coming-Out". Adweek.
  5. "WPP Officially Merges VML and Y&R, Creating a New 'Brand Experience Agency'". Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  6. "VMLY&R : advertising & marketing assignments at".
  7. "Ranking". Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  8. "Y&R Is Consolidating 3 Businesses Into a One-Stop Shop Called BAV Group".
  9. "Y&R's BAV Group Launches Social Analytics Tool".
  10. Conner, Cheryl. "Ad Agency As Incubator? Young And Rubicam's Spark Plug Program Turns One". Forbes.
  11. "Y&R SparkPlug Innovation Incubator". Digital.NYC. November 4, 2016.
  12. "Young & Rubicam Is Starting a Program to Help Parents and Caregivers Re-enter the Workforce".
  13. Robert D. McFadden (January 14, 2019). "Lester Wunderman, Father of Direct Marketing, Dies at 98". The New York Times.
  14. Stuart Elliott (October 14, 2013). "P.R. Agency Begins a Push to Modernize". The New York Times.
  15. "Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, LLC: Private Company Information - Bloomberg". Retrieved 2016-12-23.
  16. "Edward H. Vick: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Bloomberg L.P. May 13, 2005. Retrieved May 13, 2005.
  17. Toane, Carey (November 2008). "Taxi knockout". Agency of the Year. Strategy Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  18. Gianatasio, David (2009-05-19). "Taxi Acquires Dutch I-Shop". Adweek.
  19. "Platinum Club members". Deloitte & Touche LLP.
  20. "There's No Stopping TAXI". Strategy.
  21. "Axis Gold 2016 - Burger King: McWhopper" via
  22. "Y&R's 'McWhopper' for Burger King Adds Another Cannes Grand Prix, in Media".
  23. "Y&R's Burger King 'McWhopper' campaign: How a big idea from little New Zealand went global – Campaign Brief".
  24. "Burger King Named Cannes Lions' Marketer of the Year".
  25. "Y&R NY's The Whole Story Project Uses Augmented Reality to Educate U | LBBOnline".
  26. Jardine, Alexandra (May 3, 2017). "Y&R's Augmented Reality App Creates Virtual Statues of Women in Public Spaces".
  27. "Y&R created an app that uses AR to close the gender gap--among statues".
  28. Lekach, Sasha. "There aren't enough statues of women—so this app creates them in augmented reality". Mashable.
  29. States, Y&R New York United. "Xerox - "Xerox & Brother Dominic - Together They Set the Page Free"" via
  30. "Xerox Brings Back 'Brother Dominic' With Even More Miraculous Ending". January 4, 2017.
  31. "Xerox Updates Its Iconic 1977 'Brother Dominic' Super Bowl Spot for Our Digital Age".
  32. Jardine, Alexandra (November 14, 2016). "An Elegant Mrs. Claus Is the Badass Star of Marks & Spencer's Heartwarming Holiday Ad".
  33. Armstrong, Ashley (November 11, 2016). "M&S turns to Mrs Claus for Christmas 2016 advert" via
  34. "Medcare Women & Children Hospital - "Footnote for the breast" by Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2017".
  35. "Footnote For The Breast". WPPedCream 2017.
  36. "Dubai Lynx - International Festival of Creativity". Dubai Lynx - International Festival of Creativity.
  37. "Dubai Lynx - International Festival of Creativity". Dubai Lynx - International Festival of Creativity.
  38. "YouTube".
  39. "Top 10 TV Advertising Jingles of the 1970's". August 28, 2013.
  40. "Bert Lahr for Lay's Potato Chips" via
  41. "My Father, the Potato Chip". May 6, 2011 via
  42. Wilson, Michael (March 28, 2012). "On 'Mad Men,' an Opening Scene Straight from Page 1". New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  43. "The plot behind the Argentine Olympics Falklands political spot". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  44. "Argentina's Olympic advert stirs row".
  45. "Kugelman's 30-year stint takes her to top of Y&R". Campaign Live. Retrieved 1999-06-11. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
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