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Initial ANA Perspective on Publicis-Omnicom

August 7, 2013

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA

The following is an initial perspective from ANA on the Publicis-Omnicom merger, as provided to Ad Age.

We’ve heard concerns from some members about competitive conflicts. Bringing Publicis and Omnicom together will bring competitors under the same holding company umbrella. In some cases fierce and direct competitors. In other cases, indirect competitors. Marketers are working with more agency types than ever before and usually unbundle their work to multiple agencies—creative agency, media agency, specialty agencies, etc. So the ability for Publicis and Omnicom to put up firewalls to safe guard against conflicts becomes even more complicated. There are more agencies and more firewalls required. And therefore more risk of leaks in those firewalls.

And there are concerns we have heard from members about options becoming more limited, as two holding companies are merging into one … and one holding company option is now going away.

This may now present an opportunity for smaller and mid-sized agencies to be seen as attractive options if clients are concerned about conflicts from this merger or the now reduced number of holding company options. But the smaller and mid-sized agencies are likely to be domestic/U.S. based solutions and not global solutions.

The merger will bring expected benefits to Publicis and Omnicom with efficiencies from size and scale. Marketers may benefit from that size and scale. There has already been some speculation in the press that the merger could bring the benefit of greater media efficiencies (Brian Wieser perspective), given the combined clout of the two holding companies. But marketers also hire agencies for innovation and creativity. Clients of Publicis and Omnicom should directly ask their agencies – “What’s in this for me? “How will this impact my business?” Marketers who are clients of Publicis and Omnicom, in fact, have a responsibility to have those candid conversations.

The resulting Ad Age story is here.

ANA will host a webinar on this issue on August 21 with Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research.

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