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More trouble ahead for Interpublic as Johnson & Johnson consolidates into Omnicom and WPP

Interpublic CEO Michael Roth might have turned the company around in financial terms but his big agency brands (headed by McCann, DraftFCB and Lowe) are struggling big time.

Now Johnson & Johnson, which spends about $2.7bn globally including $2bn in the US, is reported to be dropping IPG creative agencies Lowe, Deutsch and The Martin Agency and moving all its feminine care business into DDB, Band-Aid and Neosporin into BBDO and Tylenol into WPP’s JWT. IPG will keep its J&J media business.

The ‘winner takes all’ aspect of advertising has been sharply cranked up over the past couple of years with the biggest advertisers choosing one or more holding companies to work with, leaving individual agencies with very little control over their fortunes regardless of their performance.

J&J was one of IPG’s biggest clients and its exit follows that of $1bn SC Johnson (no relation), Miller Coors and chunks of Taco Bell from DraftFCB and a number of clients including Nescafe and Lufthansa from McCann although McCann has fought back to a degree with Sony Experia business and the biggest stake in General Motors’ new Commonwealth agency (assuming that survives the departure of GM CMO Joel Ewanick).

Omnicom with DDB and BBDO looks like the big winner here and, among the holding companies, it continues to have the strongest line-up of big agency networks with the mighty BBDO setting the pace for the rest.

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