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Publicis

What Does the Publicis/Omnicom Merger Mean for the Industry?

As one might imagine, the announcement (and Vine video) of the biggest merger in advertising history is causing quite a reaction from those in the industry. Above, Keith Hunt, managing partner of M&A consulting firm Results International, hypothesizes about the implications the newly formed Publicis Omnicom Group will have.

As Hunt notes, the merger means the company will be able to buy media very cheaply, leapfrogging WPP in the process. But, Hunt wonders, how far can you push down prices? At one point do vendors draw the line?

Also, Hunt says, there’s the issue of who’s in charge. Co-chief execs, John Wren (Omnicom) and Maurice Levy (Publicis)  are elder statesmen. Levy, the older of the two at 71, is now on the hot seat in terms of naming a successor, that is, if the balance of power between Publicis and Omnicom remains a priority. As WPP’s Martin Sorrell said in an interview today, “It’s a nil-premium merger — effectively a takeover of Publicis by Omnicom [without exchange of money].”

Finally, says Hunt, there’s the matter of positioning. It benefits the new company to frame the merger as one that hinges around new technologies and emerging markets, allowing Publicis Omnicom Group to compete against tech companies outside advertising agencies like Adobe. “Exciting times,” he adds before staring into the camera wistfully. It’s only the beginning.

Check out Wren and Levy bonding after the jump.

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Publicis, Omnicom Group Merge to Become World’s Biggest Advertising Company

In a somewhat surprising weekend move that’s now been broadcast everywhere, French advertising network Publicis and New York-based Omnicom Group announced today that they are merging, supplanting London’s WPP to become to world’s largest advertising firm.

The news comes as a bit of a shock, especially considering the announcement was made on a summer weekend. Reports of merger negotiations first happened on Friday afternoon, followed by more concrete details on the merger coming out yesterday via a report from Bloomberg. The newly christened Publicis Omnicom Group will be led by Omnicom CEO John Wren and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, who will acts as co-chief executives.

The merger is sending shockwaves throughout the industry, with reaction to news quite mixed. While many agree that shareholders will benefit from the news, looming doubts remain about how the new company will strike a balance of power with its bases split between continents, as well as how Publicis Omnicom Group will go about solving the many client conflicts as competing brands (Coca-Cola and Pepsi, McDonald’s and Taco Bell) are brought under one roof.

Omnicom (whose properties include BBDO, DDB, and TBWA) and Publicis (whose properties include Leo Burnett, DigitasLBi, Saatchi & Saatchi and media giant Starcom) have a combined annual revenue of $23 billion. We’ve heard that Levy has sent out a network-wide email about the merger.

BBDO Digital Planning Director Douma Heads to Publicis

After spending the last four-plus years at BBDO/Proximity, where he served as SVP/group planning director on Gillette, Emirates and Campbell’s, Collin Douma has moved on to fellow NYC-based agency, Publicis Kaplan Thaler. Sources familiar with BBDO confirm Douma’s departure, but PKT has yet to provide some clarification on the matter.

The now-ex-BBDO staffer worked primarily out of BBDO sibling, Proximity, working first at the agency’s Toronto office and then its NYC hub. Prior to BBDO, Douma has worked at the likes of Ford, Hill & Knowlton and MacLaren McCann. From what it appears, Douma is now leading global brand strategy for P&G’s oral care line including Crest, Scope and Oral-B.

Publicis Kaplan Thaler Makes Some Cuts

We’ve received confirmation that the New York-based operation that is now known as Publicis Kaplan Thaler has had to let go of some staff this week. Here’s a quick statement from the agency: “”As our industry continues to transform and our clients’ needs evolve, restructuring is sometimes necessary to position ourselves at the forefront of these changes, and to invest in the long-term growth of our people and agency. We have consolidated some internal resources to strengthen our operating efficiencies. These changes affect less than 2% of the staff.”

Sources familiar with the matter add that Publicis Kaplan Thaler, which works with clients ranging from L’Oreal Paris to Pfizer to P&G, currently houses approximately 700 staffers. So, if our math is accurate, that equals around 14 people that were affected–though now word yet on specific departments involved.

Even Monsters Prefer T-Mobile

In the last few months, T-Mobile has pushed out a marketing full-court press coinciding with their iPhone 5 network coverage. Some of the spots have been unusually weird (this isn’t in English, but you should watch), while others, like this cowboy commercial from March Madness, like to add humor by subverting stereotypes. Their latest effort, “The Simple Choice,” was created by Publicis West Seattle and might teach you a thing or two about intellectual expectations when it comes to Dr. Frankenstein and his monster. The spot will run during the NBA Playoffs and will probably become one of those commercials that gets overplayed ad nauseam, even if the first view deserves an inner chuckle.

As you’ll see after watching, T-Mobile goes right after AT&T. I always like when the gloves come off, but on the Shots Fired Scale, this bland discrediting only warrants a 3 out of 10. Next time, I’d like some down and dirty defamation worthy of a negative political campaign ad. If T-Mobile really wants to make an impact, they should go Willie Horton “Weekend Passes” on AT&T. It won’t be very classy, but people will pay attention.

Publicis ECD Essig Splits for Gig at TBWA C\D New York

Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Perry Essig, who’s been with Publicis for well over five years and most recently served as EVP/executive creative director out of its New York office, is leaving the agency for a gig a TBWA\Chiat\Day NY. From what we’ve been told by sources, Essig is moving to Chiat NY, effective May 1, to serve as global creative director on Accenture, which awarded TBWA its global AOR duties nearly two years ago. During his five-year stint at Publicis, Essig served as EVP/ECD on the Citi business (you might remember this spot that’s still been making the rounds) among other things.

Prior to Publicis, Essig served as partner/senior copywriter at Ogilvy on AmEx and Kodak among other accounts and has also served as an ACD at Arnold.

Here’s a Quick Note Regarding Bob Moore

We’ve received word straight from Publicis itself regarding the status of Bob Moore, who’s spent the last decade at the agency and the last six years serving as USA chief creative officer out of its Seattle office. Unlike what tipsters are saying, Moore is not technically “out” at Publicis, but as of April 1, his role will evolve into “more of a consultative, creative trouble-shooter for Publicis USA.” The network plans to deploy his expertise among the Publicis USA offices as needed, and on specialty, creative projects.

No word yet if Publicis is planning to replace Moore, a 30-year ad vet who’s served as a creative director/copywriter at W+K for a decade and has spent time as a CD at Fallon. We’ll keep you posted if we hear more.

 

Heineken, Where Interns Get Standing Ovations

It must be great to work for Heineken: sales are up from the post-Bond boom, and your job deals with beer. For someone young looking to enter the workforce, you could do worse than to land an internship with the third largest brewer in the world. Apparently, 1,734 applicants felt the same way and entered Heineken International’s contest to win an event and sponsorship internship. However, this is no ordinary job search. The Italian arm of agency Publicis created an online campaign for “The Candidate,” where users could vote on the best applicants as they reacted to a serious of not-so-spontaneous hidden-camera challenges.

I’m not sure what any of the challenges have to do with the actual position–accompanying the UEFA Champion’s League Trophy on a world tour through May 25th–but if the winner could beat out 1,733 peers AND get a (staged) standing ovation from current Heineken employees, he must be doing something right. I thought the internship required travel, so why is he walking through an office? Must be a European thing.

No word yet on whether the position has a salary, but judging the global economy, he’ll probably receive a measly stipend for beer and end up unemployed in four months. Cheers. Credits after the jump.

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Rokkan Expands to L.A., Chicago, Welcomes Back Carley as ECD

It’s been a busy morning on the Publicis Groupe front to say the least. Following the big news that Maurice Levy & company was merging Digitas with LBi (more on that in a minute), NYC-based digital agency Rokkan, which Publicis Groupe acquired back in December, has announced that it’s opening its doors in both Chicago and Los Angeles.

No word yet on what staff count is or specific clients that each office is catering to, but along with the U.S. expansion, Rokkan has welcomed back Brian Carley to serve as its first ECD. Carley rejoins Rokkan after spending the last two years as SVP/ECD at Saatchi & Saatchi NY, where he spearheaded work for clients including Trident, General Mills and P&G. Now back at Rokkan, where he served as creative director during his first tour of duty, Carley will lead creative across the network for a roster including JetBlue, Caesars, Stoli, Sharp and Chipotle.

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Publicis Groupe Buys Up Rokkan

Well, this is a pretty notable item as we wind down for the holidays. Twelve-year-old, New York-based digital agency Rokkan, which works with clients ranging from Stoli to Sharp to Caesars to JetBlue (and was NOT for sale as of last summer) has been acquired by Publicis Groupe. Despite the 100 percent purchase, Rokkan (Japanese for “sixth sense”) will operate autonomously within the Publicis Groupe network and its co-founders, CEO John Noe, chief experience officer Chung Ng, and CCO Charles Bae, will continue to lead the agency.

In a joint statement, the co-founders say, “This is a major stepping stone that will take Rokkan to the next level and beyond. We’ve seen a number of potential buyers over the years, but it wasn’t until we met with the folks at Publicis Groupe that we found a partnership we truly believed in. Joining Publicis Groupe gives Rokkan access to resources, capabilities and knowledge to better scale, grow and service our multinational clients. Furthermore, it will help support Rokkan’s aggressive plans for domestic and global growth. We’re thrilled to be joining a company that believes in our culture, people and vision.”

No word on financials yet, but the Rokkan acquisition marks just one of a handful made by YouTube manipulator/Publicis Groupe chief Maurice Levy & Co. within the last month alone including the purchase of luxury/fashion-focused agency AR New York and a couple of shops in India. We’ve been told that staff count at Rokkan will not be affected by this move.

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