It always happens, you buy a local agency to restore the fortunes of a flagging multinational, change the name on the door and what happens? The aforementioned local agency loses its biggest account as DLKW (Delaney Lund Knox Warren) has just done with Halifax after its merger with Lowe Group.
Lowe UK has been dysfunctional ever since since founder Sir Frank Lowe fell out with Interpublic, the marcoms company he sold the agency to for about £100m more than a decade ago.
Frank became very rich but wasn’t a complete success at Interpublic, among his initiatives was buying the Brands Hatch racing track for IPG sports company Octagon. But Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone decreed that Brands Hatch wasn’t up to hosting the British Grand Prix so that was a disaster.
Frank eventually left, after being turfed from the IPG board, and set up The Red Brick Road, taking the Tesco account with him. Lowe then, somehow or other, won John Lewis and promptly lost it to start-up Adam & Eve.
So the agency’s a bit of a disaster really and losing Halifax won’t make it any better.
Moral of the story? You can’t buy success. Unless you’re WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell of course.