A gaggle of ad shops that formed a confederation called The Company a few years back to provide service and scale to clients has reorganized into a single entity called 9thWonder.
9thWonder as in 9th Wonder of the World. OK, it takes confidence to brand and liken yourself to the 9th Wonder of the World. And if you’re going to be in the ad game, you better have confidence.
According to agency officials, clients liked the offering, which earlier this year added independent agency Phelps. But they indicated they prefer to deal with one agency, not a whole bunch, even if gathered under a collective.
Jose Lozano, CEO of 9thWonder, explains the switch this way:
“We had built a collective of complementary agencies, with each outstanding in an element of marketing, and everyone willing to collaborate as partners because we owned a piece of everyone else’s agencies,” he said. “We had thought we’d keep growing business and the partnership, and maybe morph into one integrated agency a few years from now.”
But numerous CMOs, Lozanlo added, recently told the agency “they couldn’t quite get their heads around hiring a group of different agencies. Others told us they couldn’t differentiate our model from larger agencies. They heard capability without conviction. And then we pitched several substantial accounts that were impressed with our approach and our people, but didn’t feel comfortable hiring an independent group their colleagues hadn’t heard of.”
It’s no secret many clients are shifting to a slimmer agency roster model where there are fewer throats to choke. And ideally, just one.
Adds Lozano: “We realized we needed to create one agency now. We could tell people we all owned a piece of each other’s agencies, and state the power of all our expertise together as much as we wanted, but it wouldn’t feel real to them until it was delivered as one agency with a clear purpose.”
9thWonder is based in Houston, with six additional offices, including Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, New York, Buenos Aires and Nha Trang (Vietnam). The reorganized agency has more than 100 clients, including Direct Energy, Phillips 66 and Riviana Foods, and a staff of 250.