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WPP Buys Store Simulation Tech Firm

February 4 2009

In the UK, marcoms giant WPP has snapped up Red Dot Square Solutions, a firm which provides virtual market research to help retailers and manufacturers predict consumer behaviour in-store. Terms were not disclosed.

Red Dot Square’s Mark EdwardsRed Dot Square has developed a virtual reality software solution which uses 3D simulations integrated with real-time eye tracking and analysis. This helps retailers and manufacturers test and design store layouts, promotions and product and pack designs.

According to the firm, using real-time store simulation technologies for market research is becoming common practice among consumer product manufacturers and retailers. Its clients include major players such as Safeway, Tesco, and Wal-Mart, working in collaboration with manufacturers such as General Mills, Kraft and Unilever.

Established in 2006 by President Mark Edwards and employing 60 people, the firm is based in Milton Keynes in the UK, with an office in Chicago in the US. Its revenues for 2008 were Ł6.1m, with gross assets of Ł3.8m.

‘Our technology has broad application across a range of customer needs and the alliance with WPP/Kantar adds scale, expertise, flexibility, speed and superior delivery to our offer,’ explained Edwards.

Red Dot Square’s existing senior leadership team, led by Edwards and CEO Keith Dickens, will continue in their current roles.

The firm will now operate within WPP’s insight arm Kantar, to strengthen the group’s capabilities and expertise in shopper, retail and consumer research.

Last month, CEO Sir Martin Sorrell outlined WPP’s plans to move away from its role as a traditional media and advertising supplier, to concentrate on becoming a more insight-led organisation. This latest deal was negotiated prior to WPP’s acquisition of TNS.

Web sites: www.wpp.com, www.reddotsquare.com and www.kantargrouptns.com .

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