WPP’s creative agencies, especially Ogilvy & Mather, are having a good run in the US at the moment but on the media front, particularly at MEC, it’s not quite so good.
MEC, which recently replaced North America CEO Lee Doyle with Marla Kaplowitz (left), has now lost $100m Toys ‘R US to Omnicom’s OMD and this comes on top of a string of other losses including Sony Ericsson to Omnicom’s other big media shop PHD, Activision, also to OMD, and Pizza Hut to Publicis Groupe’s Optimedia. The agency’s $600m Novartis pharma account is still in the throes of a mammoth review.
When you’re as big as WPP in media, with GroupM, MediaCom, Mindshare, Maxus and outdoor specialist Kinetic as well as MEC then somewhere in the empire there’s almost bound to be an under-performer. In comparison, Maxus has established itself as a substantial player this year (moving on from its status as a conflict shop) and GroupM seems to have grown more powerful than ever in its role as the company handling big media negotiations.
But the growing stature of GroupM must call into question whether or not WPP actually needs all its other media brands.