Interpublic CEO Michael Roth must be a rather worried man this Christmas; the holding company has hauled itself out of the knacker’s yard but two of his big agency networks, DraftFCB and McCann Erickson are not performing while the third, Lowe & Partners, is recovering but still worryingly dependent on the good offices of Unilever.
In the autumn DraftFCB lost $1bn SC Johnson to Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO after embarking on what looks a singularly ill-judged management reshuffle in its Chicago HQ while McCann, until recently the biggest agency network in the world, has lost a stream of accounts this year including foundation stones Exxon and Nestle.
Now it’s ushered in an anxious holiday season with the loss of $100m Lufthansa to indie German agency Kolle Rebbe, not the biggest contributor to its income but the sort of account it should be able to hold.
McCann’s boss is Nick Brien (pictured), once a London media man, and he has instigated a sort of cultural revolution at the agency, bringing in Linus Karlsson from Mother New York to try to make the agency – what? More like Wieden+Kennedy?
But McCann is never going to be like that, it’s the spiritual home of Madison Avenue account handling with the occasional Don Draper-like intervention from an impresario creative director.
Well we say it can never be like W+K, maybe Brien will prove us wrong.
In the meantime, well done Kolle Rebbe.