In case you haven’t heard, Omnicom and Publicis have announced a $35 billion merger. For those not familiar with these agencies, this would be comparable to a couple of companies like Facebook and Twitter deciding to come together. In other words, it’s two industry powerhouses (and all of their huge clients) combining to become the largest ad agency ever.
To put their size into perspective, the two agencies together accounted for 41 percent of the total revenue collected by the 10 largest agencies in the world last year. Yeah, that’s right, that’s almost half.
While from a distance this looks like it could be a good idea because a merger means combining the resources of two already established and successful agencies (which potentially means access to anything you could ever need as a marketer), there may be a down side. Or several.
- Omnicom and Publicis both have enormous clients and in some cases, enormous competing clients. For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The merge means putting out rivaling campaigns, which may not make those two beverage powerhouses too happy, and one or both may jump ship to avoid conflicts.
- Top talent may be put off by the thought of working at such a large agency. Giant firms don’t have the culture or identity that small ones do, and that could lower the appeal of working at a huge corporation. Plus, working at a smaller, boutique agency means more direct, individual support from managers and executives of the company, which in turn can lead to greater personal and professional growth.
- Most clients want personal attention and customized solutions for their business challenges. Picking a massive agency with tons of clients across the board may suggest less focus and less of a relationship between the company and those marketing it.
- An agency worth $35 billion is not likely to be cheap. While larger brands may be drawn to the big name and worth of a huge agency full of resources, the average business can get work that is just as good, if not better, at a smaller, more agile agency.
- Current stockholders of the two advertising giants may be upset by the merger (and in fact, a class-action suit has already been filed against Publicis) because the breakdown of the combined company may be unequal. Negative press could be bad for continuous growth and success of the company, especially if shareholders abandon the merged agency.
Hiring a giant ad agency with big-name clients may not be what it’s cracked up to be. Big firms like Omnicom and Publicis have obviously had great success, but in today’s ever-changing digital market, calling upon a smaller agency can give more flexibility, agility and customized attention for each individual client.
P.S. Gate6 is a small agency.