Knocking copy is always a danger for agencies, not least because the object of it may one day turn out to be your client (or not).
Publicis Seattle has run a series of ads for third-placed US mobile firm T-Mobile that take a pot shot at number two company AT&T’s allegedly creaky 4G offering.
But now AT&T and T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom are discussing a $39bn merger in the US which will allow At&T to leapfrog Verizon (in which the UK’s Vodafone holds a 40 per cent stake) to become market leader.
And AT&T might be none too keen on working with Publicis Seattle which produced the knocking ads for T-Mobile, themselves a variant on Apple’s anti-Microsoft campaign.
AT&T is handled by Omnicom’s BBDO which kept the enlarged business when At&T bought another rival Cingular a couple of years ago.
AT&T media is bought by WPP’s MEC with Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia handling T-Mobile.
The combined media account is worth $2.7bn, the third biggest in the US according to Ad Age so that’s another reason for Publicis Groupe boss Maurice Levy to take an interest.
Levy is famous for his interventions when big US clients seem ready to walk, rescuing General Motors’ Cadillac for Publicis when new CMO Joel Ewanick fired the agency from biggest brand Chevrolet which went to Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.
But he’ll have his work cut out with this one.