Publicis/Omnicom merger? Perhaps an Independents’ Day will come

Publicis/Omnicom merger? Perhaps an Independents’ Day will come

Claire Walker

Claire Walker

I enjoyed reading Adam Kleinberg’s ‘Three Reasons why the birth of Publicis Omnicom is Good for Small Agencies’ and I chuckled. He is referring to opportunities in the advertising market, but the point and opportunities hold true for PR. There will be shake-out, and we’ll be sure to get first in line to benefit.

So to take Adam Kleinberg’s points, with an added layer of PR perspective, I see the opportunities as thus:

Reason 1: Freedom.

Freedom is priceless. My agency is 25 years old this year and still independent despite many tempting offers. In a recent internal study within Firefly, the freedom to experiment (maybe fail), the freedom to train, to coach, to dream, to climb, to speak out, to question and to change is what really motivates our people. Our team thrive due to the freedom to deliver amazing and inspiring campaigns to our clients and they are not constrained by overbearing demands to deliver a big fat margins to meet HQ management levies.Freedom seagull

Reason 2: The Fallout

If there are any current Publicis/Omnicom clients questioning the motivations behind this merger, they may choose to review. None of these network agencies are cheap, so if value for money is in question, you can be sure there is a better deal to be had in a very competitive market. If the merger causes a dulling and diminishing enthusiasm within the business as everyone jostles for position and power, then many clients will review and take their business elsewhere.

There will be fall-out. Independents are ready to serve.

Reason 3: The Message

The message for the merger is GLOBAL and BIG.

GLOBAL is right for some brands who have a global footprint to serve, but in my experience a collection of ‘best of breed’ agencies can work more effectively, with more passion, drive and creativity than a bunch of companies who all happen to have the same name on the door, or the same owner, however close or distant. This is secretly acknowledged by many global players, especially by those individuals who have experienced being part of a global operation and left.

BIG is not necessarily beautiful. Smaller agencies are nippy and thrifty, agile and flexible. We don’t hide behind legal speak; we don’t operate by committee. We don’t have people in ivory towers; we don’t have layers of expensive management to support. Everyone is close to the ground; we are lean.

Independent agencies often care more than big global players, not just because of size, but because they have more of a personal stake in the business. In particular, the owners care because they have ‘skin in the game’.

So my conclusion is that ‘Independents will try harder’. I find ‘try’ too passive but the sentiment is correct. And ironically, this conclusion is inspired by the most famous strapline in history for Avis, a phrase born from DDB, owned by Omnicom now, but an Independent then in 1962.

Perhaps Independents’ Day has arrived.


Share this story:

Read more from the blog


SAG-AFTRA Strikes and the Ripple Effect on AI Adoption

The influence of the recent SAG-AFTRA strikes extends far beyond pay. Driven by concerns over fair compensation and working conditions, the strikes have highlighted broader issues surrounding the relationship between technology (AI in particular) and labour. ...Read more

Emily Royle
Emily Royle

From potato to progress: Addressing communication breakdowns

Miscommunication and misunderstanding are part and parcel of life. They happen often, and if corrected in good time, no big deal. But what happens when there’s a communication breakdown that is left unaddressed? The relationship breaks down too. ...Read more

Charlotte Stoel
Charlotte Stoel

Pan-European PR: It’s so much more than translation

We often consider translation to be at the heart of communicating across borders - but Pan-European PR is so much more. ...Read more

Megan Hogg
Megan Hogg

Add a comment

Time limit exceeded. Please complete the captcha once again.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

Get in touch

Sign up to Spark, our newsletter

Receive thought pieces from our leadership team, views on the news, tool of the month and light relief for comms folk

You can unsubscribe at any time, please read our privacy policy for more information