WPP and iHeartMedia Launch ‘Project Listen’

Partnership will drive innovation and learning in creative and media
strategies across all audio platforms

CANNES, France–(BUSINESS WIRE)–iHeartMedia, America’s leading audio company, and WPP (NYSE: WPP), the
creative transformation company, today announced the launch of Project
Listen
 to develop next-generation insights, planning and creative
capabilities in audio.

The two companies will help brands better engage with consumers and win
across all audio platforms: broadcast radio, digital streaming,
podcasts, smart speakers and live events.

Consumer listening is at an all-time high, according to new iHeartMedia
research. The study shows consumers say they are listening to audio
content for an average of 17 hours a week, with millennials and younger
generations listening the most. This ramp up in listening is the direct
result of the rapid growth of digital streaming, podcasts, smart
speakers and airpods, on top of the massive and consistent scale of
broadcast radio.

The new partnership comprises:

  1. Creative Audio Studio – Audio will be pushed higher on the agendas of
    creatives and media strategists with the launch of a new studio at
    GroupM’s headquarters at 3 World Trade Center in New York. Clients and
    creatives from across WPP will experiment with modern audio marketing
    programs, working with creative producers in a series of pilots.
  2. Empowering Planning – iHeartMedia’s Smart Audio Insights and audience
    tools will be integrated with GroupM’s proprietary data and insights
    tools to uncover new insights and support novel measurement
    approaches, all of which will be shared in quarterly intelligence
    reports for clients and the market. A new audio certification program
    for planners at GroupM’s agencies will roll out later in 2019.
  3. Raising Audio IQ – A new Project Listen monthly podcast is
    launching in Cannes with plans for 18 episodes through 2020. Lessons
    from the client pilots and research will be shared to help inspire
    more advertisers to embrace audio’s new capabilities.

Project Listen is intended to raise the bar in audio
creativity and media strategy through shared learning about what works
in the evolving audio landscape. The partners will help marketers to
mine audio data for insights and to deploy them across a cohesive
planning framework, from creative strategy to media planning and
implementation.

“At iHeartMedia, we understand the unparalleled power of audio and its
ability to engage and make brands part of the daily conversation, with
consumers of all ages, at a massive scale,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman
and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. “Project Listen is about tapping into the
scale of audio and moving from the traditionally transactional radio
business to the future of audio advertising where insights and ideas
lead the way to growth for brands. Simply put, audio is the biggest
greenfield for growth in media today, and we could not be more excited
to partner with the talented teams across WPP to develop the tools and
skillsets needed to unlock that growth.”

“Consumers are listening more than ever, and we already know the power
of music, voice and sound to create engaging and emotional human
connections,” said Mark Read, CEO of WPP. “As consumer behaviour
evolves, from the media they enjoy to how they relate to brands and make
purchase decisions, it’s essential to have a modern approach to creative
and strategy for all media, including audio.”

“People are wired for sound – it grabs our attention, sets our mood, and
triggers our memories and imagination. It transports us from a favorite
artist’s soundstage, to a podcast courtroom or even another galaxy. It’s
quite literally a soundtrack for our lives,” said Brad Hiranaga, NA
Chief Brand Officer, General Mills. “Because audio is an incredible
driver of culture and yet is so personal, it’s a profound way to tell a
brand story that connects with people authentically in the right moments
of their day. That connection is a great match to our mission for our
brands to create experiences for people and provide value in their
lives.”

“Marketers spend a lot of time perfecting the way their brand looks, but
today there is an equal need to focus on how they sound,” said Leslie
Sims, Chief Creative Officer for Ogilvy USA. “With the growth in
listening, sonic branding is becoming an even more vital part of the
creative process. Project Listen will challenge us to experiment
even more as we work with clients to explore new sonic solutions.”

“At GroupM, our single-minded focus is on helping clients to best
utilize the media that can help deliver growth for their businesses,”
said Tim Castree, CEO, GroupM North America. “Like every other medium,
audio is quickly evolving. This requires work with our clients and our
partners to test and learn how to leverage the scale and reach of audio,
and the creative and innovation potential of new platforms, which is
what we’ll do with Project Listen.”

Project Listen was announced today at the 2019 Cannes Lions
International Festival of Creativity during a special live podcast at
the WPP Beach. The podcast featured Brad Hiranaga, Chief Brand Officer,
General Mills; Bob Pittman; Tim Castree; Leslie Simms, Chief Creative
Officer of Ogilvy US; Ryan Seacrest, host of On Air with Ryan Seacrest,
Live With Kelly and Ryan and American Idol; and host Will
Pearson from the hit podcast, Part Time Genius.

About iHeartMedia

iHeartMedia is the #1 audio company in the United States, reaching nine
out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion
monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in
the US. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across
multiple platforms including 848 live broadcast stations; its
iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and
2,000 devices including smart speakers, smartphones, TVs and gaming
consoles; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music
events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher. iHeartMedia
also leads the audio industry in analytics and attribution technology
for its marketing partners, using data from its massive consumer base.
iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK:IHRTQ). Visit iHeartMedia.com for
more company information.

About WPP

WPP is a creative transformation company. We build better futures for
our clients through an integrated offer of communications, experience,
commerce and technology. For more information visit www.wpp.com.

Contacts

Niken Wresniwiro, WPP
+44 (0)20 7282 4600 / +44 (0)7876 005 489
niken.wresniwiro@wpp.com

David
Grabert, GroupM
917.428.3952
David.grabert@groupm.com

Angel
Aristone, iHeartMedia
646-343-2410
Angelaristone@iheartmedia.com

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