|Agencies Put Money Where Their Mouths Are
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
During these trying economic times, many industries have been tightening their belts, trying to weather the storm by sticking with or expanding current clients. New business, though important, has taken a back seat for most. The cost of advertising for new businesses does not outweigh the risk of it not paying off, for some. We professionals in advertising try to tell businesses to use that train of thought as an opportunity. To use the lack of clutter to keep yourself in front of the consumers you want to attract, so when the economy improves, your brand has a step up.
The advertising industry isn't any different. As brands shake the dust off from this recession, they are taking notes on the agencies that are out there. And the folks on Madison Avenue are not disappointing. A recent New York Times article points out the number of moves ad agencies have made during this "down" economy. Several holding companies have made big deals for well-known agencies. Publicis recently acquired its sixth public relations agency in the last 18 months. Toronto-based MDC is buying majority stakes in Concentric Pharma, a marketing agency that focuses on pharmaceuticals, and fashion and luxury brand-focused Laird & Partners. Clearly the buzz in activity in the advertising world shows that agencies are positioning themselves for increased business. Nadal from MDC says that "we see this time of uncertainty as a great opportunity."
Universal McCann's bosslady Jacki Kelley feels the same way. In her interview with Reuters, she talks about getting clients to spend into the down economy, and coming out stronger when it bounces back. She is also changing the revenue structure for Universal McCann, making sure it gets paid based on performance and shows brands that it, too, has a stake in the success of a campaign.
Agencies did not wait until an economic boom to start positioning themselves for competition. They looked at the opportunity, and took it; the same method we advise brands of today to do. At least it is good to see ad people taking their own advice.
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