It’s been more than a week now and I can’t help thinking of the consequences of that super merger. It might make sense for some financially but the whole thing sounds more like a game of Thrones than a forward thinking offer to lead global brands towards the future.
One wanted to leave a legacy and the other one wanted to be sat in front of the Arc de Triomphe thinking “that could be mine”. Oh well. Should we be surprised that advertising is about ego?
1. BIG BLA BLA BLA
Maurice Lévy is proud to “build something quite incredible in terms of crunching the data”: does he really think the future of advertising as a game of media targeting? A technical commodity that others can serve much more effectively. How can you deliver powerful insights if your data is siloed by client? To truly deliver on this offer, someone would need to get governments, consumer associations and brands willing to share their data between each other. Outside of being an over rated topic, “big data” has recently be shown as a very delicate positioning as citizens and governments being more involved in the data generation, protection and use processes. Apparently Maurice Lévy didn’t hear about PRISM and how aware consumers are becoming about the collection and use of their data… Does he really believe new generations will be happy for an advertising network to own their data? The idea of an “Audience on Demand unit” made me want to cry.
2. OVERWEIGHTED YOU SAID?
Owning 73% of the global paid media weight  might sound exciting if you are from the 70s but knowing how little relevancy it actually offers to brands… This sounds slightly overrated. When looking at how their key agencies spend their media in digital – through Google – you can also question the role of the advertising network versus the media partner. Why would clients deal with “the Groupe” when they can get better deals – and creativity from Google see Art Copy Code examples. How can Publicis Omnicom Groupe show understanding of marketing in the post-digital age when their main offer is paid media? Consumers are spending more and more time on mobile devices – an environment proven to be a failure for display.
3. IDEA NOT MEDIA
In the last two years, Martin Sorell’s WPP has made some major progresses on the digital front through training, talent acquisition and of course the acquisition of AKQA. With R/GA and Huge in its portfolio, Interpublic delivers some of the most innovative digital platforms. Creating a “giant” in today’s market sounds like the exact opposite of what clients are expecting from their agency. How can brands and companies innovate if they are limited by the structure of their advertising network? Clients want bespoke, nimble, custom-made, agile solutions that can be implemented quickly. The new order, led by technology, is one where people come to you and where creativity matters more than ever. Something that is – surprisingly – not mentioned at all in the conversations around this merger. Razorfish, Critical Mass, LBi… Where’s the big creative-digital portfolio to become a global leader?
What excites me is the opportunity all this creates for a new age of marketing, a new generation of agencies, brands and entrepreneurs to change the game. Now that the old generation has officially put itself out of the competition, anyone can establish the guidelines for a creative x technology led marketing.
What a great time for display advertising to die!