Which is never the news you want to hear although Universal McCann, the Interpublic-owned incumbent, is on a hot streak at the moment, consolidating most of L’Oreal’s $700m and Mastercard’s $343m as well as winning new business from BMW, Mini and Chrysler.
The success of Universal McCann is probably the reason why ex-London media director Nick Brien now finds himself running McCann Worldgroup, with expensive new signing Linus Karlsson from Mother slated to produce a creative turnaround at McCann Erickson.
So the agency will be confident it can retain Microsoft (usually you don’t succeed in defending accounts although media is probably a bit more likely to stay in a review than creative). But Microsoft is an absolutely key account for Interpublic which has seen its other foundation accounts like Coca-Cola and Nestle leach out to other agencies in recent years.
Microsoft itself seems to be waking up from its torpor of recent years, accepting at last that its core Windows product needs to be both cheaper and more accessible on PC alternatives such as mobiles. Wall Street types are buying the shares for the first time in years.
IPG is not in quite such a strong position and will be pulling out all of the stops to hang on to Microsoft media.