Publicis-Omnicom Merger May Not Happen

Did you think everything was going swimmingly with the Publicis Omnicom merger? Well, it isn't. Legal and tax issues in Europe plague the deal's progression as well as fights over who is actually acquiring who is stalling the process. Oh, and let's not leave out the battle over who will be the merged holding company's CFO. Omnicom wants its guy, Randall Weisenburger, and Publicis wants its guy, Jean-Michel Etienne.  And this is just the big stuff. If the deal does progress, the amount of inter-agency and inter-department strife and reorganization is truly unimaginable. It's all good, however. At least for Publicis, whose CEO Maurice Levy recently said: "I would like to stress that Publicis has a very clear strategy with strong objectives and a strong position and I do believe we are the best holding company in our sector for the future, bar none. There is no issue if we go back to a standalone company. Life is good for Publicis whatever happens."

Maybe it was those nondescript babbling brook ads Hill Holliday created 25 years ago. Maybe it's that Lexus continues to eat its lunch. Whatever the reason, Infiniti is struggling and has been for some time. Currently, it's number 7 in luxury car sales behind Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Cadillac, Acura and Audi. The brand hasn't seen a good year since 2005. Enter Allyson Witherspoon, the brand's new director of marketing. Witherspoon, of course, is holding an agency review. TBWA Worldwide is the brand's current agency. While the brand is in early stages and has not named contenders, Witherspoon says by the end of this summer she will pick one agency to handle the brand's global marketing needs. What does Witherspoon want for the brand? "Our aspirations are to be a tier one luxury brand. That's to be with the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes." And it looks like she's looking for another Jonathon Pryce-like solution. "There's an element of pop culture. We want to be sure we introduce ourselves and establish ourselves in a very relevant way. Who are the right people to do that? That's what we're evaluating."

For a minute when we heard Birmingham-based Luckie & Company had just landed the Historic Triangle account, we wondered if we'd be seeing a crazy awesome campaign for the Bermuda Triangle. Alas, it's only a tourism campaign for Williamsburg area's Historic Triangle, a triangular area in Virginia which consists of Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown. The campaign, which will be funded by a special $2 per room tax, will target neighboring metro areas including Raleigh/Durham, Baltimore, Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia.

Have you agency folks run out of ideas to promote yourselves? Are you just too busy with client work to bother? Well, you should. And it doesn't have to be all that hard. Take a look at these 8 interesting ways that agencies have promoted themselves. No, don't do a lame spot on "Mad Men," but do consider creating an app that helps clients fire their agency or an insanely epic explainer video or a mailing of fake guns or even severed hands! Check out this list and see if it gets your creative juices flowing.
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1 comment about "Publicis-Omnicom Merger May Not Happen".
  1. hal dar from web assoc , April 28, 2014 at 9:14 a.m.

    anyone researching into the fraud allegations against the Publicis Groupe purchase of Rosetta on the West Coast, aka Rosetta Marketing Group? Includes CEO Tom Adamski and is a near 5 year litigation…..understood to be the largest fraud complaint filed in San Luis Obispo County history, 260 Million….could be supportive of Omni attempts to grab that CFO function…..
    ..

  • Eddie Bauer Taps Former Y&R, Leo Burnett, Saatchi Exec As Creative Director

    The Bellevue, Washington-based clothier Eddie Bauer has hired Jose Cabaco as its new vice president and brand creative director. Previously global creative director at Nike's Center of Design Excellency, Cabaco has a long history of agency work at shops such as Young & Rubicam, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey, Wieden+Kennedy and Euro RSCG. He also ran his own agency called Home.

    Of the hire, Eddie Bauer CEO Mike Egeck said: “We are very excited to welcome Jose to Eddie Bauer. Jose has a proven track record of being able to develop emotionally compelling brand stories that inspire consumers. His talents will be vital as we continue to amplify our voice within the active outdoor community.”

  • Design Firm Debuts New Web Site...And 'Synergetic' Global Mindset

    I know, I know -- poking fun at an ad agency launching a Web site is so 1999 -- but the vim and vigor these agencies display while doing so is just so ripe for ribbing. So who's the latest Web site relaunch victim? Ventura, California-based SoCal Design.

    The agency, which focuses on clients in the fitness, healthcare, beauty and real estate segments, has not only relaunched its Web site but it's also adopted a seemingly more global viewpoint. 

    Of the repositioning, SoCal Design Partner Brett Hurle said: "The relaunch of our site is really a culmination of something we have been building for years here at SoCal Design. I believe the foundation of this agency's success is our ability to bring together synergetic teams from our global talent pool. We believe that every project is unique, and creating truly unparalleled teams enables us to provide our clients the best possible craftsmanship." 

    Yikes. Synergetic? Is it 1988?
  • Horizon Media Launches 'Dunes of Dreams' Employee Innovation Program

    Horizon Media has announced Dunes of Dreams, the agency's new "invention development program." The program invites employees to submit their best ideas or inventions that, if chosen, will see the light of day. The program is part of the agency's INVENT@horizon initiative which is run by Chief Invention Officer Taylor Valentine. 

    INVENT@horizon was launched in 2014 and acts as a launch pad to inspire invention across the agency. The invention team is responsible for pioneering product development and new forms of media, hopefully arriving at better ways to solve client problems and new ways to recruit and motivate employees. The agency's most recent invention is a roadmap for mood-based audio planning.

    Of the program, Valentine said: "Technology and the lightning speed of change across industries creates an opportunity to invent more and better than ever before. The Dunes of Dreams program will provide every employee the opportunity to invent, making invention a way of life and a culture driver for our people."
  • DigitasLBi Goes Gospel For NewFronts

    And so the NewFronts. That time when all things digital trot out their offerings to all things agency in hopes that the latter opens its wallet for the former. And any time you give a marketing person a chance to get on stage and sell themselves, what you usually end up with is, well, something other than normal.

    Today, it seems, DigitasLBi pulled out all the stops and went full on gospel. According to this tweet, it seems the agency has gone biblical.

    So what was the epic craziness all about? The agency struck a deal with Vox Media that offers the agency a first look at Vox Media's native product, Chorus for Advertising. Ah ha! There's the gospel tie in. Now it all makes perfect sense.

  • Attik Ceases to Exist After Scion Loss

    Last month, Droga5 won the Toyota Scion account -- besting incumbent Attik, which has had the account since 2002. Attik was to continue to be part of the creative team for the brand and support various marketing initiatives. Apparently, that has turned out not to be the case.

    Parent company Dentsu will absorb Attik with employees at both the agency's LA and San Francisco offices to be reassigned. While many Attik employees will find a home within Dentsu, there will be some layoffs, according to sources.

    Regarding the closure, a Dentsu statement reads, “After evaluating the Attik business with an eye towards future growth and sustainability, we have decided to bring Attik into Dentsu Aegis Network. The result will be a reorganization of the business with a long-term view towards client needs and opportunities that will most effectively leverage Attik’s talent, expertise and capabilities on a broader scale. We are actively working to ensure a smooth transition and to redeploy people within Dentsu Aegis Network.”
  • Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Honored With Chief Digital Officer of the Year Award

    CDO Club, a community of C-suite digital types with over 1,000 members, has named Adam Brotman, Starbucks Coffee Company's Chief Digital Officer, the 2015 U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year.

    Brotman was named the recipient of the award during CDO Club founder David Mathison's keynote presentation, "Hall of Fame: CDOs Who Have Become CEO and Board Directors," at the 3rd annual CDO Summit on Wednesday, April 29 and hosted at Thomson Reuters in New York City.

    Brotman joined Starbucks in April 2009, and under his leadership the company has become a leader in mobile payments, with more than 18% of its U.S. store transactions occurring via mobile. In addition, the company processes more than 8 million mobile payments per week.

    Brotman also led the team responsible for piloting Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay in 2014, a mobile ordering feature integrated within the Starbucks app that allows customers to place their order as well as pay for their food and beverage items in advance of visiting their store. The feature has been rolled out in 650 locations in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Bud Light Attributes Controversial Bud Light Beer Label Copy to BBDO

    Yup. Another brand throws another agency under the bus. Yesterday, Bud Light caught the wrath of the Internet for one of its custom taglines on its bottles. The tagline reads, "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." Doh! Many around the dark corners of the Internet have linked the tagline to rape culture.

    No, Bud Light is not advocating promiscuous sex and has apologized for the oversight in a statement which read: “The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”

    Missed the mark? Uh, yeah. Now, certainly some blame can be laid upon BBDO for even proposing this copy but the brand and all its layers of approval should have caught it. In yet another statement, Bud Light basically admits that, saying: “BBDO is the creative agency for this UFW campaign, including all bottle scroll messages. We have an extensive review process and this label should not have made it through. It’s regrettable. This particular scroll will no longer be produced.”
  • Despite Ad Agency Merger Mania, Small Independent Shops Still Thrive

    Jim Lindsey -- who has served as vice chairman at several agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi and Hill Holliday and been honored with over 50 ADDYS, Clios and Golden Quills -- would like all of us to know that the much-anticipated demise of small ad agencies never actually happened.

    He says: "While worldwide mega-agency groups, [like] Saatchi & Saatchi, have continued to grow, merge, morph, and control more media dollars, the small, independent shops stubbornly remain."

    He offers up several reasons why this is so. Most notably, relationships matter. He notes: "In RFPs, a common question is about the agency's client roster and where the prospect's account would fit in the pecking order. Mattering to an agency's business translates to a certain amount of leverage, regardless of the added services or bench strength the larger agency promises it would give access to." No surprise there. That bossy client wants to be top dog and that's more easily accomplished when working with a smaller shop.

    Even in the face of a shift back to integration, Lindsey argues that specialization is still valued by brands. He adds: "Very often advertisers want the particular ingredient for which the small shop excels. It’s not uncommon for marketing departments of larger advertisers to manage several 'boutique' agencies to keep ideas fresh and flowing."

    The advent of the Internet, of course, has been a great equalizer between large and small agencies. As long as a small shop stays current with technology, in many cases they can compete with agencies twice their size -- provided, of course, the brainpower and desire is equal to the task. 

    In a nod to the demise of the Mad Men era, Lindsey says: "The move toward a more accountable approach to client service began in the 90s as accounting systems and MBAs began to take hold. The recent recession cemented this new, more austere reality. Clients, on the whole, are simply more overhead sensitive nowadays. They know intuitively they will ultimately be paying for all of those assistant’s assistants, lavish offices, and entertainment. Small- to mid-tier agencies, on the other hand, run leaner operations out of necessity. And smart clients appreciate the obvious stewardship of money -- their money."

    No matter how many mergers and acquisitions take place, there will always be an entrepreneurial spirit that keeps the small agency alive. That and, well, small clients who want to be treated like Top Dog.
  • NEWSFLASH! Digital Agency Promises to Deliver Work on Time!

    Well, here's a newsflash. Production company Spotburner, which would rather you called it a full-service digital agency, has...wait for it...announced guaranteed turnaround time on premium content. That's right. The production company...uh...digital agency will deliver its work to clients on time! Hold the phone! Stop the presses! A company promises to do what it says when it says it will do it!

    This is unprecedented news in the advertising industry, let alone in any industry. I mean, this is unheard of! Never in all my years of selling crap to people who neither want it or need it have I ever come across a company that promised to deliver the goods by the promised due date. 

    Of the epic promise, Spotburner Founder Bob Bekain said, “I noticed a lot of unnecessary delays for the client while waiting for their content, so I created Spotburner as a means to provide premium content at a fair price, with a guaranteed turnaround time.”

    My God! What's next? A company promising to buy clients lunch when they come to a midday presentation?

  • 68% of Agencies Plan to Increase Digital Video Spend In The Next Year

    More than two-thirds, or 68%, of marketers and agency executives plan to increase their digital video ad budget spend over the next 12 months, according to the Digital Content NewFronts: Digital Video Spend Study, a survey of 305 buy-side professionals conducted by Advertiser Perceptions and released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. 

    The buy-side expects greater digital video spend will come from increased ad budgets in 2015 and a shift away from broadcast and cable television. Two-thirds, or 67%, of survey respondents said that they anticipate their broadcast and cable TV ad budgets to stay the same or decrease in the next year.

    The study also revealed that two-thirds of marketers and agency executives, or 67%, believe original digital video will become as important as original TV programming within the next 3 to 5 years.

    In addition, 8 in 10 advertisers and agency executives who attended the 2014 NewFronts agree their participation resulted in more spending on original digital video content and motivated them to increase their 2015 budgets. 

    Of the study, IAB Senior VP of Research, Analytics and Measurement Sherill Mane said: “This study demonstrates unequivocally that digital video is a fierce competitor for advertising dollars. Brand advertisers and media buyers have been dramatically increasing their commitment to digital video, so all signs point up for this captivating form of storytelling as the industry rallies for the NewFronts.”

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