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Lucky Generals seals deal with Omnicom

Go-go London independent agency Lucky Generals has finally tied the kot with Omnicom, with the BBDO, DDB and TBWA agency taking a majority stake.

Lucky Generals will remain “independent” it seems although it’s being rolled into a new TBWA Group, comprising it and TBWA’s London office. Lucky Generals (and TBWA London probably) seem to have resisted the option of the Generals being parachuted into TBWA London, as adam&eve was into DDB in 2012.

Nonetheless Richard Stainer, CEO of TBWA\London and CSO Amelia Torode are understood to be leaving the agency. So it’s not hard to see which tail is wagging the dog.

Founders Andy Nairn, Helen Calcaft and Danny Brooke-Taylor (left to right) are running the new entity.

Omnicom says: “TBWA will form a new TBWA UK Group, which will consist of Lucky Generals and TBWA\London, upon the acquisition of Lucky Generals. Lucky Generals and TBWA\London will continue to operate as two separate brands within the new group. The structure exemplifies TBWA’s unique approach to developing a global advertising collective of connected, yet distinct, agencies. It has parallels with the group’s approach in Germany, where TBWA and Heimat successfully operate a similar two-pronged strategy.”

Lucky Generals’ Helen Calcraft says: “This deal will allow us to preserve our unique culture, build our brand and grow. Most important, with the support of Omnicom and TBWA, we will be able to better deliver on our clients’ needs in the UK and around the globe. We’re delighted to join such an entrepreneurial group and keep doing all the things we love, on a bigger scale, with some new friends.”

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Well that sounds all fine and dandy. Lucky Generals’ critics will say they’ve sold too soon, showing the difficulties independent agencies encounter in trying to find their way to the big clients’ top tables. Most such deals are done by holding companies these days.

We’ll see. Omnicom’s approach to this interesting: it still seems to value creative agencies. Adam&eveDDB is now embarked on a new role in Omnicom, as its global creative boutique. Omnicom recently set up We Are Unlimited in the US to handle McDonald’s with, presumably, hopes that it will travel. As such, Omnicom is the obvious partner for Lucky Generals.

It’s disappointing in some respects that the Generals have succumbed so early. But it’s a fine agency and, if it’s done the deal correctly, may yet become a global force.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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