The jewels in the crown – the world’s top indie agencies are Wieden+Kennedy, Droga5 and Germany’s Jung von Matt

Which, strangely enough, were the three top agencies in the Cannes awards list of top indie agencies.

I was actually going to put Mother third in this list despite a disappointing Cannes (the judges obviously didn’t get Ikea, reasonably probably) but Hamburg-based Jung von Matt won Cannes’ media agency of the year award ahead of Grand Prix winner South Korea’s Cheill, despite being originally a creative agency. Which is pretty good going.

The question for these companies (and Mother too) is: how long do they think can compete for global business with the big marcoms companies, who would all like to buy you?

A second (related) question, I suppose, is how long can the founders (and biggest shareholders one would suppose) resist a few tens of millions of Sir Martin Sorrell’s or Maurice Levy’s money to ensure a comfortable (if slightly defeated) retirement?

W+K’s Dan Wieden shows no signs of selling out, his agency has proved conclusively that it can compete on a global scale with the marcoms giants. If he could get New York and, to a degree, London firing at the same pace as home base Portland and Amsterdam he could look any marcoms giant squarely in the eye over any bit of global business.

And remind the client that his ads were better.

Droga5 is the Lady Gaga of the creative scene at the moment, winning three Grand Prix at Cannes (two of them for Jay-Z’s autobiography Decoded (which isn’t actually the meat and potaoes of marketing life). But it’s a formidable operation. Does Dave want to try to take over the world?

Jung von Matt is really interesting. Formed by Belgian Jean-Remy von Matt (pictured) and German Holger Jung in 1991 (both former Springer & Jacoby partners) it built a creative reputation first (on BMW among others) and now has a broadly-based empire (including media) with a big, prestigious client Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz, Euro 08 “Alpendrama” from kalle Haasum on Vimeo.

There is absolutely no reason why Germany, a big, powerful economy with loads of rich clients willing and able to export to the rest of the world, shouldn’t host a global marcoms player. But will Jung von Matt have the staying power?

Wel let’s hope that at least one of these companies (preferably all three) sticks to their guns and tries to take on WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic.

They’re certainly among the best. So why not be among the biggest too?

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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.