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Don't Believe the Hype: Omnicom, Publicis Merger Fails
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The entire communications industry was on pins and needles, waiting on bated breath to see how our economic environment would change with the monolith known as the Publicis Omnicom Group. Analysts were calling for the demise of many small agencies, practitioners probably started looking for new jobs, agencies owned by the groups were placing bets on which ones would get their walking papers first.

And then the anti-climax: the merger falls through.

Wren and Levy, perhaps your groups could offer a dividend based on the health conditions and wasted banter everyone spent on this. For shame. All us commentators wasted our speculative abilities. 

A Forbes columnist wrote a piece called "Why the Publicis Omnicom Failed Merger is Great for Advertising." We didn't read it, because that is probably one of the most obvious deductions from the news.

Of course it's great for advertising.

The advertising landscape, though consolidation is inevitable, still requires competition. The brands out there need to be able to differentiate which agencies are best at certain activities. For agencies to have the ability to posture their services, it is a very good thing. Creating a giant like Publicis Omnicom would have created an environment where independent agencies would have a very tough time competing.

Because let's face it; in the beginning, many brands may have avoided the giant. But after the newness wore off, the leveraged resources between the two would have been too delicious to ignore. 

And though we hate to be the Debby Downer, the Reuters report on the matter spoke of Havas, IPG, and Dentsu as potential acquisitions. Those three companies, though not the size of a Publicis, Omnicom, or WPP, wield considerable media power of their own.

Instead of dwelling on the things to come, and though this news is good for advertising, there are still several pressing issues our colleagues and thought leaders can take to task. We still need to figure out ageism in the workplace, how to recruit, hire and retain diverse talent, how can women continue to climb the ladder in advertising, client/agency compensation, and probably a list of other things.

The no-merge deal is a minor victory for advertising. But we're not out the woods yet.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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