Publicis and Omnicom to merge! Yes folks, you've heard the chatter since at least Friday, as have we, and in the middle of summer vacations in Europe, all Publicis and Omnicom brass had to go to the office on a Sunday just so that they could email all the employees about this merger. Fun times. That's probably not the only reason they waited until Sunday to announce this merger. Pop quiz hot shot, what days are the best days to not get noticed in the news? If you answered Sunday, you win a gin and tonic.
Together the Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe would be the world’s biggest family of agencies, with a stock market value of $35.1 billion and 130,000 employees. Yep, they'd basically be almost every ad agency out there. Unless there's some sort of law against monopolising a business or something.
The marriage, if it passes muster with antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe, and is given the blessing of the French government, would bring under one roof separate networks of ad agencies — including BBDO, TBWA and DDB under Omnicom, and Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi under Publicis. Collectively, the conglomerates represent some of the world’s largest brands including AT&T, Visa and Pepsi at Omnicom and McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart at Publicis.
It brings back memories of a merger-happy 90s, and we all remember how well that went. No? Get off my lawn.
Remember when pitches were lost because the clients found that your other clients were a conflict of interest? PepsiCo at Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day and Coca-Cola at Publicis’ Leo Burnett now have the same agency.
What does Jay Chiat think of all this? He famously quipped when merging with TBWA:
I can't wait to see how big we get before we turn to shit.
"It's an extremely bold, brave and surprising move. It's a great deal for Publicis, being a nil premium merger, and Maurice is to be congratulated. It does result in lower fast-growth market and lower digital proportions. Time will tell if the cultures will click and whether clients and talent benefit - and how $500m of synergies will be generated without job cuts. Co-CEOs is not an easy structure. Further consolidation in our industry was inevitable as we have said on many occasions. An equilibrium may be starting to be established, which will generate further significant opportunities for WPP organically."
Now now, Martin, maybe it won't slow everything down, and maybe half the deadweight of brass won't get fired, and hey look on the bright side if Coke doesn't like work that Leo presents, maybe TBWA can hand it to Pepsi? That'll save lots of creative hours and perhaps they could even cut down on the creative department sizes now that they're being so efficient and all.
And with their sudden size giving them more klout, perhaps we can even see Dentsu style media buying in the future? Because won't they be owning 40% of the media buying market? John Wren to adweek described talk that Publicis Omnicom Group would control 40 percent of the advertising buying in the U.S. as "fantasy" and trusts that the 'very expensive lawyer's who have advised them know what they're doing.